Educational practitioners and researchers have increasingly recognized the importance of the context in which learning occurs, particularly the influence of school climate on students’ academic, social, and emotional outcomes. School climate is based on the subjective experiences of school life for students, staff members, school leaders, parents, and the entire school community. A school’s climate reflects its norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures. A large body of evidence connects a positive school climate to improvements in children’s learning and healthy development in school. A positive school climate is also an essential component within comprehensive school improvement processes. Nonetheless, the divergence and disagreement in defining and measuring school climate in the literature are evident. There is a major interest in school climate improvement and school climate policy. However, the policy context that supports school climate varies considerably across the United States and internationally. Clarification regarding the dimensions of school climate and continued research on how a positive school climate contributes to both school and student outcomes remain important.
Ruth Berkowitz, Aidyn Iachini, Hadass Moore, Gordon Capp, Ron Avi Astor, Ronald Pitner, and Rami Benbenishty
Siti Noor Ismail, Faizahani Abd. Rahman, and Aizan Yaacob
Definitions of school climate have been interpreted in various ways by scholars since the 1960s. They have been closely associated with achievement, quality control, and school management, among many others that denote characteristics of highly effective organization. It has long been recognized and acknowledged by administrators of the organization, practitioners, psychologists, motivators, and educators that a healthy school climate promotes a positive attitude and openness that will thus create a learning environment that motivates and encourages effective teaching and learning activities; increases teachers’ job satisfaction; and, finally enhances students’ academic performance. The school climate model that determines the characteristics of an effective school climate encompasses four main factors: culture (assumptions, values, norms, beliefs), ecology (structure and facilities), humanity structure and system (instructions, administration, decision making, planning structure), and social system (structure element). Definitions derived from past literature and criticisms as well as arguments against what constitute healthy school climate are presented in this article. A clear set of goals and transparent definitions of the concept are recommended so as to ensure that both school and the other elements in the school body can work synchronously to achieve the same goal, which is providing a positive and healthy school climate.