04 SES 10 B, Improving The Learning Environment From An Inclusive Perspective
The potential of school climate as a theoretical concept for the development of inclusive policies is widely acknowledged. For example, in the Czech Republic the construct of school climate has emerged in the 1990s and it established itself as a decent scientific framework for capturing the social dimension of schools. With the changing demography of its student population and the corresponding need to improve teacher-student relationships, the Czech legislature could lean on school climate to navigate the development of inclusive policies. This would result in a unique (implicit) utilization of school climate in inclusive policies and in a bottom-up approach within the implementation. The potential of school climate to form inclusive policies has prompted us to conduct a systematic review of school climate. Our research questions are: Which are the key theoretically oriented studies on school climate? and How can school climate as theoretical construct support European inclusive policies?
A literature search (Gough, 2013; Gough, Oliver & Thomas, 2017) was conducted to identify theoretically oriented studies dealing with school climate, including: systematic reviews, taxonomies, classification studies and meta-analyses. The following search equation was chosen: school climate* and systematic review* and meta-analysis*). Electronic databases were consulted (PsychInfo, Pubmed, EBSCO, Science Direct, ISI Web of Knowledge, PROQUEST) for peer-reviewed articles written in English. Only those studies that fulfilled the following criteria were included for further analysis: (1) classificating, (2) categorizing, (3) summarizing, (4) descriptive, (5) significantly cited. The search yielded 17 studies fulfilling our criteria.
We have identified totally 326 studies dealing with school climate. After review based on criteria presented above, 17 theoretically oriented studies were identified. They covered studies published between 1968-2021. We are concluding, similarly as Thapa et al (2013), that 'in many ways, Anderson’s (1982) comprehensive review as well as Freiberg’s (1999) important collection of papers describing the field, are still relevant today' (Thapa, 2013, s. 14). We see their relevancy, especially in current policy development because school climate is broadly used in many standardized and validated surveys which the policy leans on (data from them) when developing policy (Kohl et al, 2013). Review studies show that approximately 92% of empirical studies do assess the school climate through survey data (Wang et al, 2015). Another important study, which we identified and consider remaining relevant today, is 'The concept of organizational climate' (Tagiuri, Litwin & Barnes, 1968) where the author attempts to holistically capture the various dimensions of school climate. This might be useful to redefine dimensions of school, which are relevant for Europe today. We came to the conclusion that school climate can be a robust resource for the policy and policy formation in the area of inclusive education (Vicence et al, 2021; Capano & Howlett, 2019). Inclusive policies of European countries need a well-established theoretical concept, as for example that of school climate, to support policy formation. The need of a solid concept has been even multiplied by the huge influx of refugee children into European countries after 2015/2016.
Anderson, C. S. (1982). The search for school climate: A review of the research. Review of educational research, 52(3), 368-420. Capano, G., & Howlett, M. (2019). Causal logics and mechanisms in policy design: How and why adopting a mechanistic perspective can improve policy design. Public policy and administration, 0952076719827068. Freiberg, H. J. (Ed.). (1999). School climate: Measuring, improving, and sustaining healthy learning environments. Psychology Press. Gough, D. (2013). Meta-narrative and realist reviews: guidance, rules, publication standards and quality appraisal. BMC medicine, 11(1), 1-4. Gough, D., Oliver, S., & Thomas, J. (2017). An introduction to systematic reviews. Sage. Kohl, D., Recchia, S., & Steffgen, G. (2013). Measuring school climate: An overview of measurement scales. Educational Research, 55(4), 411-426. Krane, V., Karlsson, B., Ness, O., & Kim, H. S. (2016). Teacher–student relationship, student mental health, and dropout from upper secondary school: A literature review. Scandinavian Psychologist, 3. Tagiuri, R., Litwin, G. H., & Barnes, L. B. (1968). Organizational climate: Explorations of a concept. Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University. Thapa, A., Cohen, J., Guffey, S., & Higgins-D’Alessandro, A. (2013). A review of school climate research. Review of educational research, 83(3), 357-385. Vicente J. Llorent, David P. Farrington, Izabela Zych (2021): School climate policy and its relations with social and emotional competencies, bullying and cyberbullying in secondary education, Revista de Psicodidáctica (English ed.), 2021, ISSN 2530-3805, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psicoe.2020.11.002. Wang, M. T., & Degol, J. L. (2016). School climate: A review of the construct, measurement, and impact on student outcomes. Educational Psychology Review, 28(2), 315-352.
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