04 Mar 2020

SCHOOL CLIMATE AND SAFETY

School environment is a broad, multifaceted term involving several facets of educational experience for the student. A healthy school atmosphere is the product of a school’s emphasis on fostering safety; fostering a welcoming academic, behavioral, and physical environment; and fostering and sustaining respectful, trustworthy, and caring relationships across the school community, irrespective of the setting  from Pre-K / Elementary to Higher education. A warm, encouraging school environment contributes to the physical, emotional, and cognitive development of the students and teachers. Good school environment and learning environments lead to better test scores, attendance, grade promotion and graduation rates. As well as reducing violent behavior and preventing teacher burnout, efforts to improve the school environment and health. Nevertheless, accurate open data on the quality of learning environments are needed to achieve such results.

A positive school climate is critically related to school success. For example, it can improve attendance, achievement, and retention and even rates of graduation, according to research. School climate has many aspects. Defining a framework for understanding school climate can help educators identify key areas to focus on to create safe and supportive climates in their schools. Students school environment, safety and wellbeing are significant precedents of academic achievement. School participants do not generally perceive school atmosphere in the same way, however; rather, their subjective views of the world and personal characteristics affect individual outcomes and behaviors. Hence, a closer look is required on the relationship between the school environment, health, student well-being and learning. This literature review discusses the relationship between school environment, school safety, academic achievement of students and well-being of the students. Using a systematic review methodology, we conducted an analysis of empirically based research findings and technical reports that discussed the following aspects:

(a) school atmosphere as a social construct and its relation to school safety.

(b) factors that lead to an environment in which students feel safe.

(c) characteristics of specific groups of students who feel unsafe; and School environment refers to the underlying and omnipresent principles, practices, norms, relationships and policies of a school that helps to define its character. Simply put, the school environment makes the school feel like a school. Evidence has shown that the school environment affects student learning very significantly.

Factor 1-Health

It should be evident that all those who work and study in the building need to be concerned with the health of the schools. Imagine trying to learn something in a classroom where you were scared, or someone was going to harm you physically. It would be pretty hard for even an adult, let alone more vulnerable young people.
The safety factor encompasses all laws, regulations, and norms related to physical, social, and emotional security. A school that has consistent physical and emotional abuse policies and is sensitive to these problems will have a safe school environment. By making sure students feel healthy, schools help students less worry about potential hazard and focus on learning.

Factor 2-Teaching and learning

A teacher who does not encourage students or give students positive feedback contributes negatively to the atmosphere of a school. In fact, an administration that doesn’t care about teaching responsible decision-making and effective conflict resolution creates a bad school environment. Such two examples both come under the school environment element for teaching and learning. Teachers and other professionals will strive to create a learning environment where students are challenged, take risks and act responsibly and in a civilian manner.

Factor 3-Interpersonal Relationships

Imagine working or studying in a cold and distant environment. Nobody provides or receives help in this position and people are expected to succeed solely on their own. You may think this seems like an unlikely situation-no one in that world will succeed. And you’re right at 100 percent. To have a good school environment, schools at every level should promote safe, positive interpersonal relationships. This means teaching tolerance for student and adult differences. It also requires the creation and maintenance of social support systems for teachers and students alike. No one on their own can be effective, so a school must have systems in place to ensure that no one is left in the cold.

Factor 4-Institutional Setting

No one wants to work or learn in a dirty place, or where they feel they do not belong. By ensuring that care is taken of the actual building itself, teachers and other professionals will help students learn and be more successful. Additionally, it is crucial for school climate to create an environment where everyone feels like they belong and are part of the same team. This involves parents and the wider community, not just those in the school who study and work. Many people who work in a school will tell you that no school can ever get too much assistance. In fact, the less insular a school community is, the more optimistic the atmosphere is likely to be. Traditionally, schools close their doors at the beginning of the school day and keep them closed until students reach the end of the day. But, especially families, as well as community members such as parents, employers, and other organizations, have an interest in the school’s success. Communities are interdependent groups, and a school must open its doors and create opportunities for as many people as possible to get involved in order to leverage the many strengths and mutual stakes of community members. Classroom mentors, parent councils, student teachers, and community service-learning all contribute positively and sustainably. There are many competencies inherent in community service-learning activity. Well and regularly done it can have a profound impact on a school and its students. With the ability to identify problems and become agents of change, students take responsibility for a fraction of their education and often change the perception of adults both inside and outside the classroom.

This changed outlook seeing children as problem solvers rather than problems has the happy side effect of creating sense of purpose and what is possible for the students. The formation of a group of students who are empowered to make improvements and emboldened by their own achievements leads to an environment in which service to others is respected and where that importance has meaningful transmission. The kinds of flowers planted in the school yard influence how the school leadership is viewed by tourists and community members. Creating and maintaining a healthy school environment requires strong school administration assisted by a group of staff and families to involve school staff, families, community members, and students. A effective administrator must be willing to take the requisite risks in order to change an environment and provide ongoing support to those involved in the process. Some of the administrator’s most important roles include articulating a shared vision and sense of purpose for those in the school and acting as a strong role model from how adults relate to children and families, how members of the community are accepted and welcomed to the school, and how decisions are taken. Also seemingly minor decisions such as the form of office and faculty room furniture, or the quality and appearance of student work in the hallways impact how the school is viewed by visitors and community members. Nothing in a school is too small to contribute to its environment, and a professional administrator knows that.

If there is a common thread toward creating a positive school environment, relationships— student to student, teacher to student, teacher to family, administrator to staff, school to community — are critical. It may be simplistic to say that something as fundamentally vast and nuanced as the school environment boils down to such intangible factors as individuals and relationships, but that may be closest to the truth. Developing positive and meaningful relationships will lead more to a healthy and safe school than ever can metal detectors, and our ability to teach our students how to develop their own supportive relationships is just as important a skill as mathematics and Reading.

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