Reinventing or Rediscovering Ethos? Teachers’ Perceptions of Fostering a Lived School Ethos in a Voluntary Catholic Post-Primary School in Ireland
Citation:Clodagh Lennon, 'Reinventing or Rediscovering Ethos? Teachers’ Perceptions of Fostering a Lived School Ethos in a Voluntary Catholic Post-Primary School in Ireland'
Clodagh Lennon.pdf (Thesis) 577.9Kb
For many years, Catholic schools have been the primary option for parents sending their children to school. In recent years, however, a breadth of new options have been established, putting added pressure on Catholic schools to find new ways to ensure that their ethos is relevant to the staff and students of today. Ethos is the “the heart and soul of a school” (Freiburg, 1991, p.1). Student engagement in ethos can have positive outcomes, as Leach (2016) explains that “engagement is understood to be positively related to academic outcomes such as retention, progression and completion” (p.23). Teachers have a pivotal role in ethos promotion and development in schools. In post-primary secondary schools, teachers are expected to uphold the ethos of the school in their day-to-day interactions with their students. This can prove challenging when balanced with striving towards academic success. This study examines teachers’ perceptions, observations and opinions on fostering a lived school ethos in a modern Catholic voluntary secondary school. A qualitative analysis research design and an interpretivist paradigm was selected for this study. Semi-structured individual interviews took place with seven teachers from the sample school. The main findings reveal that teachers recognise positive examples of ethos promotion in their school, but they identify several areas for improvement in fostering a lived ethos in the school. There is a confusion and ignorance of Catholic teaching, anthropology and theology, which leads to many incorrect assumptions being made about Catholic ethos. These assumptions are powerful and persuasive and take away from whole school active engagement with ethos. There is a desire for change amongst some teachers, who do not appreciate the relevance of the traditional ethos. Dialogue should be encouraged and facilitated, between believer and non-believers, amongst staff and students alike, in order to develop ethos in schools. A process of education for all school stakeholders is suggested, to allow school members to discover the relevance of the school ethos, and so, go on to live it themselves.
Author: Lennon, Clodagh
Qualification name:Master of Education Studies and Leadership in Christian Education
Type of material:Thesis
Availability:Full text available