Classroom and School Cultures: Contradictions (Part 1)

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

One of my former colleagues in anthropology once told me that he gags every time he hears the word “culture.” Why? Because “culture,” he said, has come to mean  everything under the sun and has thus become meaningless.

With my colleague’s gagging in mind, I will try to be careful in using the c-word in this post.

So let’s imagine going into a school.

What do you see? What do you hear the teachers and other staff members saying? What do the bulletin boards look like? How easy was it to enter the school? What are the children saying and doing? How noisy is it? Do you feel welcome or afraid? What is the general “feel” of the environment? All these questions and more pertain to the underlying stream of values and rituals that pervade schools. This underlying stream is the culture of that particular school.

The question I think…

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