Academic journal article Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice

The Perceived School Climate in Invitational Schools in Hong Kong: Using the Chinese Version of the Inviting School Survey-Revised (ISS-R)

Academic journal article Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice

The Perceived School Climate in Invitational Schools in Hong Kong: Using the Chinese Version of the Inviting School Survey-Revised (ISS-R)

Article excerpt

Hong Kong, like many other parts of the world, has experienced waves of education reform over the past thirty years (Cheng, 2003). Most recently, the Education Bureau in Hong Kong has implemented significant curriculum reforms requiring a paradigm shift in teaching and learning approaches. The aim is to enhance students' ability to adapt to a fast changing knowledge-based society and to meet the challenges of globalization and information technology in the future (CDC, 2001). Despite criticisms of increased workload for teachers and a lack of adequate professional support for such change, much progress has been made over the past decade. An example of the effort made by the Education Bureau is the introduction of the concept of Invitational Education (IE) to schools in 2002. Invitational Education has been identified internationally as an effective school development framework (Purkey & Novak, 1988). There is much support now for the notion of creating an inviting school environment and developing students' self-concept and positive perceptions of school as important foundations for quality education. It is suggested that much untapped potential of students could be more effectively developed if a school adopts the IE approach.

At present, over 100 schools in Hong Kong have adopted Invitational Education as a conceptual framework, and principals and teachers in these schools have reported improvement in their students' performance. Students have been provided opportunities to realize their potential, and as a result they have more confidence in learning and have become more active learners.

Key Features of Invitational

Invitational Education (Purkey, 1978) requires a particular set of beliefs that practitioners must accept regarding self and others. These beliefs are based on four elements respect, trust, optimism and intentionality. In this context, "intentionality" refers to the deliberate intention of staff in schools to create policies, programs, practices and environments that are welcoming to all students. These four elements in Invitational Education interact and are interdependent within the educative process. Practitioners who accept these beliefs have a greater chance of creating an inviting school (Purkey & Novak, 1988).

Invitational Education provides a general framework for thinking about and acting on what is believed to be worthwhile in schools. Purkey (1996) considers that Invitational Education is still evolving, but already points in a hopeful direction by offering a systematic approach to the educative process, encouraging school improvement, and providing ways to make schools much more inviting places as perceived by students.

Invitational education can be thought of as a perceptually anchored and self-concept-focused approach to the educative process that centers on the principle that human potential can best be realized by places, policies, programs and processes that are specifically designed to invite personal development, and by people who are intentionally inviting of others. The principle illustrates how Invitational Education works. In practice, Invitational Education focuses on the people, places, processes, policies and programs that transmit overt and covert "messages" promoting and influencing human relationships and fostering individual potential. These "messages" are the basic units of Invitational Education, and educators need to have a systematic way of looking at them. Where necessary, messages may need to be modified in order to become more positive and encouraging, both in their tone and their intention.

Ideally, people, places, processes, policies and programs in schools should be so intrinsically inviting as to create a school climate in which each individual is encouraged and inspired to develop to his or her highest level intellectually, socially, physically, psychologically and morally (Purkey & Schmidt, 1990). …

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