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It's worth understanding the school curriculum plays crucial roles in schooling where students can get good education, knowledge, skills and values as schools have good policies, high qualified teachers, enough materials, and other supportive things. So the curriculum will be influenced by reflect the way in which policy makers, teachers and society generally view the nature and sources of knowledge.
Anyway, Schools are important institutes and they develop culture or environment which may be favorable or unfavorable to motivating change and the implementation of innovations. Developing the school culture or environment is important for school administrators such communication with students, parents and the community, and the creation of a school climate of high expectations and accountability. A school which may be with a relatively open climate, where teachers communicate with other teachers or interact with students and where the principal and supportive teachers is more likely to try to implement a change and they may consider as an effective school. The degree of teacher caring and interaction with students has a significant impact on dropout rates, and that the impact is strongest for students. School successful in dealing with dropout address overall school climate in order to facilitate student engagement (Kennelly and Monrad, 2007, p.11).
1.2. Rationale to Sovannaphumi School in term of an Effective School
The school that I will choose to think about the effective school and be familiar with it is Sovannaphumi School, SPS, located in St.184, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh.
In response to the market needs, Sovannaphumi School was established in 2009, owned by Mr. Chea Thialy, intends to fulfill the customer needs, consist of existing customers and potential customers. Sovannaphumi School provides a comprehensive range of General English Program for full-time and part-time courses from kindergarten to secondary (K-Level 12). SPS was established academic partnership with all NTC's business units and other institutions and organizations both locally and internationally. In its commitment to provide life-long learning opportunities, SPS offers relevant and practical training for its students and staff. It is a high standard school equipped with modern academic facilities and materials to support and facilitate the teaching in class. It has developed and innovated school programs and academic curriculums as well.
In term of an effective school, SPS has established its own statement of Vision and Mission in order to lead the school with high quality teaching and learning in education.
Related to Sovannaphumi School, one of an effective school, it has own characteristic of how to be an effective school or active school when we compare the 8 characteristics of effective school, stated in chapter 10 by Paul Morries. p.p. 123 -124.
1.3. Thesis Statement
The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the differences between certain effective characteristics applied in Sovannaphumi school (SPS) and 8 characteristics of effective school stated in the textbook about the Hong Kong School Curriculum, Development, Issues, and Politics by Paul Morris, 1996. p.p. 123-124.
'Clearly stated educational goals; a well-planned and organized programs for meeting the
needs of its students; a systematic and identifiable processes for determining educational
needs in the school and placing them in order of priority; a commitment to learning and an
expectation that students will do well; a high degree of staff involvement in developing
school goals and making decisions; a motivated and cohesive teaching force with good team
spirit; Principal is concerned with his own and his staff's professional development, and able
to make the best use of his staff's skill and experience and principal ensures that the school's
programs are regularly reviewed and that progress towards their goals is evaluated.'
II. CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE SCHOOL
Definition of An Effective School
According to Lamb & Rice (2008) noted that effective school which has these kinds of specific characteristics such as:
'Strong leadership, a clear focuses on achievement, supportive and positive school culture or climate, including supportive relationship among students and teachers, good communications with parents, and targeted programs that address the needs of different groups of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program, designed to raise level of student engagement and retention, focus on improving student achievement and reducing achievement gaps, improving the quality of relationship between students and teacher, expanding alternatives, addressing welfare needs and lifting student confidence and self-esteem.'
The First Difference between Suggested Aspects and Sovannaphumi School (SPS)
Clearly Stated Educational Goals in Chapter 10: School must state the exact
goals to all implementers who will conduct the programs in learning and teaching.
Educational Goals at Sovannaphumi School: This school has clearly stated the
educational goal. This SPS goal permeates all aspects of the program to meet the mental, physical, and social needs of the student. SPS will strongly provide the students with qualified education at the present time and in the future. This school has its own slogan named 'Learning to Grow.' This school builds support and commitment for the school's development plan. In contrast, SPS may not inform this information to teaching staff. The school's goals are limited to a small number of well-defined goals that apply to all children in the school.
2.3. The Second Difference between Suggested Aspects and Sovannaphumi School (SPS)
2.3.1. A Well-planned, balanced and Organized Program for Meeting the Needs of its students: School must be ready to meet the students' satisfactory. All programs at school must be sure linked with the good academic curriculum.
2.3.2. Well-planned and Organized Program at Sovannaphumi School: Comparing to this point, SPS have developed system for planning their own programs to meet the students. SPS use the academic curriculum, and extra curriculum. This school has implemented the school-based curriculum to encourage the schools to adopt the needs of students. Moreover, the school use Model the values promoted by the school. See appendix A., but this school may forget to invite the teaching staff to participate in preparing and organizing school programs.
2.4. The Third Difference between Suggested Aspects and Sovannaphumi School (SPS)
2.4.1. A Systematic and identifiable processes for determining educational needs in the school and placing them in order of priority. School should have the clear procedure for creating policy and specific planning to meet school goals. Making-decision must be determined with formal guidelines for involving teaching staff and other important people. This characteristic did not mention about the job responsibility for whom makes policy decision and implements it.
2.4.2. Setting policies for the schools and planning to make the school success. SPS has roles and job responsibilities of school management. The Decision making is approved by the owner, general director. It is also related to the financial case. School curriculum preparation has been made by a group of school management. SPS has strategies for teachers to involve the school decision making. See appendix B, but in real practice teachers have not been participated in this decision making. Teachers have no clear job responsibilities during their work.
2.5. The Fourth Difference between Suggested Aspects and Sovannaphumi School (SPS)
2.5.1. A commitment to learning, and an expectation that students will do well. School should find all effective methods in teaching and learning and motivate pupils to learn their school subjects. School should have the warm advice or consultancy in order to encourage them to study hard and receive high grade. In contrast, this characteristic should mention about the teacher commitment. For example, students have commitment to learn, but teachers do not have commitment.
2.5.2. Comparing to Sovannaphumi school students seem not to commit their learning even the school have clear policies. Some students come to school, not feeling much to learn, but some have commitment to learn. SPS may not have clear policy of weak pupils or student's problem. Anyway, SPS has policies to motivate the outstanding students and the method assessment of students learning. Students will get high grade if they follow school policy or/ and curriculum. See appendix C.
2.6. The Fifth Difference between Suggested Aspects and Sovannaphumi School (SPS)
2.6.1. A high degree of Staff involvement in developing school goals and making decisions. This mentions about high staff involvement. But it did not state the staff who has lack of experience in involvement and is afraid of sharing ideas or information in order to develop school goals and making decision.
2.6.2. Some teaching staff at SPS has high knowledge and ideas to involve in the shaping of school goal and some have lack of experiences. See appendix B. Besides this, SPS have encouraged teachers to attend the training course of school involvement in schooling.
2.7. The Sixth Difference between Suggested Aspects and Sovannaphumi School (SPS)
2.7.1. A motivated and cohesive teaching force with good team spirit. Teachers have good knowledge and high degree at school. School should have good morality and good environment in working place and build good relationship between principal and teachers.
2.7.2. Some teachers are less motivated in their teaching. They can provide the positive feedback of the school process but they are allowed in some limitations. Principal are worried about teachers who have not graduated. School encourages them to learn more, but they have to pay by themselves. It's a kind of less motivation.
2.8. The Seventh Difference between Suggested Aspects and Sovannaphumi School (SPS)
2.8.1. Principal is concerned with his own and his staff's professional development, and able to make the best use of his staff's skill and experience.
2.8.2. Principal at SPS is concerned with the capacity building of teachers. Teaching training course is important for orientating new course book.
Principal is confident in long experience teachers and provide more research of new techniques.
2.9. The Eight Difference between Suggested Aspects and Sovannaphumi School (SPS)
2.9.1. Principal ensures that the school's programs are regularly reviewed and that progress towards their goals is evaluated. Before applying school curriculum and policies, principal must be aware of school goals and effectively implement those processes.
2.9.2. Before running the school, principal has reviewed some programs to use in learning and teaching such as textbook, materials, working process, school policies. By the end of the year, principal will plan to evaluate the school goal by using key performance indicators, analyze the school achievement and evaluation form. This school does not inform the KPI of staff evaluation, and school process yet. We are not sure who will be the best implementer in schooling. See appendix D.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Characteristics of an effective school in this book is important for Sovannaphumi
school, specially for school principal and teachers who are key performance implementing the school goal. SPS is an effective school, even its characteristics is different or similar to the characteristics of an effective school in textbook by Paul Morris. These characteristics are essential for key performance, teachers and other people in school. These characteristics provides clear focus and high expectations for staff and students, rigorous instructional program, learning environment, instructional leadership, school-based professional development, partnership with organizations, parent and caregiver engagement, teacher, student voice and participation and this can generate the integration of technology into teaching and learning. So I can recommend that any schools which use these kinds of characteristics will be an effective school, be benefit for educators who want to develop their school as an effective school in order to reach the school goal.