Setting the culture in an Aldridge school
Aldridge schools set their student culture through determining the values they stand for and then creating minute by minute plans for their key routines that will support everyone in knowing what the standard is and being supported to achieve that standard.
Aldridge schools strongly support clear and straightforward routines that are equity-centred and inclusive ie they have staff voice in them and they allow for the inclusion of all students, including those who find school life challenging.
Why are routines important?
Because they help us achieve a range of important things:
1 Order matters for wellbeing
We are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and know that safety is a basic prerequisite for us as humans. If our learners don’t feel safe and secure within their environment, we are not setting them up well for learning.
Kacy Martin, Chicago Public Schools, writes that:
“Educators who are trauma sensitive understand that children need to feel safe in order to learn and that “structure and limits are essential to creating and maintaining” this sense of safety.”â€‹
A lack of consistent, agreed-upon, practised routines and procedures can lead to chaotic, unpredictable and even physically unsafe spaces or times of day. Routines are not used to control children, they are used to co-regulate and support students’ developmental needs.
Systems and routines should support our students – both in belonging and in engagement, both of which are prerequisites for learning (Darling-Hammond et al, 2019).
2 Order matters for learning
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development states the following:
“Classrooms with a better disciplinary climate offer greater teaching and learning opportunities for students. In a structured classroom environment with fewer disruptions, teachers have more time to cover the curriculum and use diverse teaching strategies, and students can concentrate on their work more easily (Mostafa, Echazarra and Guillou, 2018). Previous PISA results have consistently shown that there is a positive association between students’ perceptions of the classroom disciplinary climate and students’ academic performance, even after accounting for socio-economic status (OECD, 2016) and other student and school characteristics (Ning et al., 2015). Blank and Shavit (2016) further reveal that disruptive behaviours in the classroom – but not the disciplinary policies at the school – are negatively correlated with student achievement. Other studies indicate that some students, such as ethnic minorities and disadvantaged students, may benefit more than others from an orderly classroom environment (Cheema and Kitsantas, 2014). A positive disciplinary climate may also have benefits for other student outcomes, such as students’ sense of belonging at school (OECD, 2017).”
In other words, an ordered classroom environment is not important for basic safety and wellbeing, it is also shown in a range of studies to support learning, especially for students the sector classes as more vulnerable or disadvantaged.