Monthly Article Archives: December 2003

Nurturing Student Ownership and Responsibility: A Vital Ingredient of a Positive School ClimateRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

I have had the opportunity to interview many students about their perception of school and their thoughts about what factors are involved in creating a positive school climate. Not surprisingly, in most instances their first responses capture a theme I have addressed in previous articles on my website as well as in other writings, namely, the relationship that teachers develop with their students. When students feel that teachers and school administrators genuinely care about them and help them to feel welcome, they are more motivated to cooperate and to succeed. I should note that the importance of a sense of belongingness is not confined to schools but to all environments including those in the business and corporate world. In addition to educators helping them to feel welcome, another factor that students describe as integral in reinforcing a positive tone in schools is whether or not they are provided some input into their own education, that is, whether they experience a sense of ownership. While many students with whom I have spoken feel that their teachers invite and respect their opinions and explain the rationale for different educational practices, many others perceive this quality to be lacking in their schools. The

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