We're pretty aware how school shapes young individuals. As their second home, the place where children study plays a huge role in their character and behavior.
However, a recent research learned school principals also have an impact to student's values. According to the study, school leaders bring profound influence to youngsters more than what we think.
Shaul Oreg, a psychologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and currently at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Yair Berson, a psychologist from Bar-Ilan University, studied how principals influence the school climate. The personality of principals can cause changes on student's behaviors.
“We thought it would be interesting and important to see if school leadership has an impact on children,” Oreg said.
For their study, researchers collected data from 252 school principals, 3,658 teachers, and 49,401 students in public schools in Israel over the course of two years. Besides the distribution of questionnaires, experts also made regular visits in schools.
Researchers have learned that the values of students grew closer to the principal's beliefs and personality. For example, in schools run by conservative principals, students tended to become more conservative and value conformist behavior as well.
While in schools where principals practice openness, students tend to develop their own ideas or find new ways to do their jobs.
“All the data before this were just assuming that the environment has an effect on values,” says Bandi, who researches personal values at the Royal Holloway University of London and did not contribute to the new study.
This study, published in the journal Psychological Science
, proves that the principal's character and personality are significant factors to consider when choosing the right school for the kids.
Oreg says, aside from academic achievements, parents also have to assess the school's influence on child behavior and values.