As a traditional African proverb says, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” Educators, parents, community leaders, and even national politicians agree that this concept is integral to educating today’s diverse student body. After all, the majority of students’ days and nights are spent with family, friends, and the local community, whether in person or through social media and digital communication. Yet, many classrooms are still focused on teaching a student without considering the context of the community and culture they come from, let alone involving that community directly in the student’s education or incorporating that student’s cultural heritage and unique learning styles into the content of their learning and instruction.
Thus it is important for educational administrators to create a culture of learning within their school community and local community, involving parents and community organizations directly in student learning and school vision. It is equally as important as integrating students’ backgrounds and culture into classroom content and utilizing culturally responsive teaching methods. As future school administrators, candidates for an online Master of Arts in Educational Administration will delve into this important topic, becoming well-versed in methods of seamlessly integrating the entirety of a school’s community into each student’s education.
Creating a Culture of Learning Within the School
Of course, an educational culture that promotes higher-level learning must occur at the school-wide and classroom level as well as within the community. There are many modern models for doing so, such as differentiating teaching methods according to student learning needs, incorporating student cultural language and heritage into classroom studies and activities, employing new digital technology to create global culture-based collaborative classrooms, and encouraging students to interact with their peers on a social and educational level, valuing and learning from both each other’s differences and shared experiences.
These are all wonderful ways to create a culture of learning, but with heavy workloads, strict assessments, and the theory-based and non-clinical preparation styles of more antiquated teacher training programs, teachers can hardly be expected to add more professional development into their days. Yet they must. This becomes the prerogative and responsibility of school administrators and leaders. Investing more time and financial resources into continued teacher learning and development can help teachers improve their instruction and student learning, incorporate feedback, collaborate with colleagues, and create this elusive culture of learning in the school community.
Creating a Culture of Learning Involving the Local Community
Another important responsibility of a school administrator is to build strong relationships with the school and the local community, including both parents and guardians as well as community organizations. For the quality of learning to have the most positive effect on each student, it has to move beyond the classroom and into the home. Parents should be welcomed into the school community as well as shown that their culture is valued and an important part of their child’s education. School leaders and teachers should strive to make home visits outside of school hours, interacting with parents in an environment where they feel most comfortable. Furthermore, involving community organizations through community service and research projects can help draw more people into the school community while developing a sense of local citizenship in the students.
All of these aspects of creating a culture of learning in the local and school communities promote both higher-level learning in students, in school and at home. It also promotes a culturally responsive education and community model, valuing and utilizing the depth of diversity and cultural capital. By earning a master’s degree in educational administration, future leaders can acquire the pragmatic knowledge and skills needed to foster this sort of school community, appropriate for the modern, diversifying world.
Learn more about the CSUSM online MA in Education, Educational Administration program.
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