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Describing Schools

Describing Schools



Activity 1 (3.2)

1. Do you believe that schools actually represent the social structure of the neighborhood that attends? The schools in upper scale neighborhoods usually have nice equipment; the schools of poor neighborhoods usually do not. Who is better off in the long run?

***Please head your work appropriately or I will not grade it.


-How can schools be described?
Schools can be described by the characteristics of the school. For instance, they can be categorized according to its curriculum. For example, high schools may be vocational, pathway or general. Magnet schools are organized around specific academic disciplines such as math, science, computers, etc.

-Metaphors for schools
Some models view schools metaphorically. Suggested metaphors might be that schools are like a bank, a business, factories, home, church, school-as-family, school within a school and teams.

-Schools and social class

According to Jean Anyan (1996)....
Schools are broken into social class. There are basically four kinds.
The working-class school. Teachers give dittos. Their time is spent on discipline, classroom management, and absentee paper work. Teachers have low expectations for their students; this is reflected in the student's ability. The student makes no decisions.
The middle-class school. The student makes some decisions. The lesson usually comes from the textbook. The student does not have the opportunity to analyze.
The affluent professional school. Here the student can express their individuality and make choices. The student has few rules to follow.
The executive elite school. Students' reason and problem solve. Teacher-student relationships are positive.

Activity 2 (3.2)

Which class does our school fall into and why?

***Please head your work appropriately or I will not grade it.

Schools reflect the socioeconomic status of the communities they serve.

-Schools as a reflection of society.

Schools are social institutions. In institution is an organization established by society to maintain and improve life. Schools often mirror national and local culture.

Rural schools are often the focal point of community life. They usually hold values and beliefs that are conservative. The small size of the school provides a family-like atmosphere, but lacks the curricular experiences found in suburban or urban schools.
The differences among the environments that surround the school can be enormous. If an urban school lies in a drug infested, high crime-related, poverty-stricken, decaying city, this will be reflected within the school. Those families who have money will move. As a result, students in urban districts are increasingly from low-income families.
The physical environment of the school reflects and helps to create the schools culture. The physical environment can have a positive or negative impact on those who spend time in the school.

School culture

Activity 3 (3.7)

1. How can the environment around the school affect the environment within the school?
2. Do students in urban schools have equal access to up-to-date technologies?
3. What technologies should be available to all students? To all teachers?
4. What are some of our school's traditions?
***Please head your work appropriately or I will not grade it.


Every school is unique. School culture varies from school to school.

-Formal practices of schools.
Teachers and students are grouped several ways.
The self-contained classroom is the most traditional way elementary classrooms are arranged. The teacher has about twenty-five children in a self-contained classroom.
The open-space classroom is a situation where children are free to move from station to station. Much of the students work independently. It is usually large instructional room, with movable walls. Several teachers provide individual guidance. Middle and high school students typically have five or more classes with teachers who specialize in a specific subject area. This classroom teaching arrangement is called departmentalization.
The traditions of the school are elements of a school's culture that are handed down year after year. They reflect the beliefs of the community. Each classroom has it's own culture, determined by both the teacher and the students.


Magnet school-a school offering a curriculum that focusses on a specific area such as the performing arts, mathematics, science, international studies, or technology. Magnet schools, which often draw students from a larger attendance area then regular schools, are frequently developed to promote voluntary desegregation.

Institution-any organization a society establishes to maintain, and improve, its way of life.

School culture-the collective "way of life" characteristic of a school; a set of beliefs, values, traditions, and ways of thinking and behaving that distinguish it from other schools.

Self-contained classroom-an organizational structure for schools in which one teacher instructs a group of students in a single classroom.

Open-spaced schools-schools that have large instructional areas with movable walls.

Departmentalization-an organizational arrangement for schools in which students move from classroom to classroom for instruction in different subject areas.

Classroom culture-the "way of life" characteristic of a classroom group;determined by the social dimensions of the group and the physical characteristics of the setting.



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