In this study, schools influenced ethos by educating teachers perceptions of underachieving groups and educating pupils views of school and learning. In other words, they looked at the leadership of the school and worked downward to the pupils to learn the culture of the school. To be effective, this involved an emphasis on the school connecting to the community and making a high level of expectations known. The school also needs to take on the culture values of the community. The school must be re-socialized to reflect community values. Parental involvement and community outreach have been found to be important to establish a pride in the school system.
Part of ethos is the philosophy of the teachers toward addressing learning concerns which involves changing the curriculum and teaching techniques for different pupil groups. It also involves whether or not a vocational or basic skills orientation is chooses for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. It appears that the approach used in the schools in the studies leaned toward the vocational orientation.
There were two general approaches used in the schools studied. The effective school mode is where the focus is optimizing achievement for all students so it is ethnicity free and gender free. Specific groups are not targeted but rather they are integrated completely within the greater student body. There is some evidence that Caribbean, Indian and Pakistani students attain more in this type of school if intermixed with mainly a white student population.
The second approach does target specific sub-groups. The important issue seems to be why this targeting is used and how the target groups are chosen. It is best to use a general profile of the student rather than ethnicity as the grouping criteria, according to this study.
This study provides evidence that schools can find success in underachievement in specific groups of boys. This is democratic action research and to incorporated both quantitative methods using multi-level modeling to identify schools and qualitative methods to collect opinions of those involved in the educational process.
It is important to look at how this study was done. It is democratic action research.
This is a form of research that uses non researchers to conduct the study. This form of research has been criticized because these individuals do not know how to do research. This particular study used researchers to supervise the work as well as consult on the design, to maintain its integrity.
The first staged of the study searched for the schools to be used in the study. They were looking for schools that showed that they were having some success in improving the achievement of the target groups of boys, black Caribbean, African and UK-born boys. Standardized test uses by the British school system were used as a measure to determine which schools showed success.
The second stage was to interview head teachers and a sample of other teachers and a sample of students. The interviews were semi-structured, recorded and written up immediately following the interview. A thematic analysis was then done to identify key themes and sub-themes.