The Relationship between Middle School Design Implementation and an Open Organizational Climate

James Russell Lehman, St. Cloud State University

Abstract

The concept of middle school design found its origin through the early work of noted curriculum authority, Dr. William Alexander (Lounsbury, 2009). Recognizing the fact that preadolescents represented a time when young people were facing what may be the most difficult time in their lives, he challenged the educational community to provide a different type of instruction. Child-centered in philosophy, and centered around teacher-teacher, teacher-student, and student-student relationships, its central focus is to create a climate for personal growth and intellectual development. By its very nature it requires that people are willing to work together.

The concept of school climate has been recognized by educators for over 100 years. Built around the premise that a positive and sustained school climate is directly related to the kind of relationships you will find in a quality educational setting, the purpose of this study was to examine to what extent relationships of middle school design implementation had on an open organizational climate.

The results of this study indicated a positive teacher relationship between selected concepts of middle school design. The data indicated that each of the seven correlations were significant at either the .01 or .05 level (2-tailed). Moreover, the principal responses showed a positive relationship between all but one of the correlations. The data indicated that five of the correlations were significant at either the .01 or .05 level (2-tailed). Furthermore, the data indicated that although the correlation between Core Curriculum and Advisor/Advisee was not significant, a positive relationship did exist. Finally, a negative relationship existed between the Core Curriculum and Cooperative Learning correlation.

The results of this study indicated a positive teacher relationship between selected dimensions of an open organizational climate. The data indicated that each of the seven correlations were significant at either the .01 or .05 level 2 (2-tailed). Only the correlation between Collegial Teacher Behavior and Disengaged Teacher Behavior showed a negative relationship. Moreover, the principal responses showed a positive relationship between four of the correlations. Furthermore, the data indicated a negative relationship between Collegial Teacher Behavior and Disengaged Teacher Behavior. Finally, no relationship was found between Restrictive Principal Behavior and Committed Teacher Behavior; and Restrictive Principal Behavior and Disengaged Teacher Behavior.

The conclusion of this study supports research and the findings that the upward movement of one variable showed a subsequent upward movement of the other variable. However, it should be recognized that correlations describe relationships between variables but they do not imply causation (Slavin, 2007). The results of this study may prove useful to educators who are genuinely interested in the impact that a "full" middle school design implementation has on an open organizational climate.