Activity: Exploring culture and climate
Culture is shared norms, values, tacit expressions

Climate is perceptions of behavior
–School climate is a “relatively enduring quality of the school environment that is experienced by participants, affects their behavior, and is based on their collective perceptions of behavior in schools” (Hoy, 2008)

Culture is reflected in an organization’s atmosphere, myths, and moral code. The characteristics of a school district’s culture can be deduced from multiple layers:
  • Artifacts and symbols: the way its buildings are decorated and maintained
  • Values: the manner in which administrators, principals and staff function and interact
  • Assumptions: the beliefs that are taken for granted about human nature

School climate reflects the physical and psychological aspects of the school that are more susceptible to change and that provide the preconditions necessary for teaching and
learning to take place. A physical environment that is welcoming and conducive to learning. For example:
  • A social environment that promotes communication and interaction
  • An affective environment that promotes a sense of belonging and self-esteem
  • An academic environment that promotes learning and self-fulfillment

Prior to setting ground rules or norms for teams or groups, it is valuable to look at the climate/culture in which team/group members work and learn. Once those are explored, team members can examine the culture/climate in which they would prefer to learn and work.

In a face to face setting, team members would likely complete a survey or they may use sticky dots to indicate their feelings and then come together to discuss survey results and how they might move forward.

At the link below is a chart that illustrates the dimensions of school climate.

A Google document that can be copied with the dimensions and instructions for indicating answers has been created here:

Members are asked to indicate their feelings around the dimensions.The directions are on the document.

  1. Make a copy of the document and share it with those who have a link so they can edit.
  2. Create a discussion explaining the purpose and link to the document that you copied.
  3. Ask members to contribute their responses.
  4. Following that, each member should indicate in the discussion which dimensions are most important to them that they would like to see changed.
  5. Then ask team members to share their insights and reactions.