School effectiveness and education for democracy and non-violence

Clive Harber, Department of Education, University of Natal


In contemporary debates about education there is much discussion of ‘school effectiveness’. What constitutes an effective school and what makes a school ineffective? Much of the literature on school effectiveness has been concerned with what might be termed conventional indicators of school effectiveness, particularly examination results, because these are more easily quantified and measured. This literature has tended to avoid less conventional but arguably more important concerns such as whether schools can and do contribute to a culture of democracy and non-violence. The purpose of this paper is to review evidence that schools can contribute in this way if they are organized more democratically. Moreover, it is also argued that increasingly the evidence from studies of school effectiveness is that democratically organized schools are also more successful in terms of conventional indicators of effectiveness than traditional schools.

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About S. R. Zelenz 119 Articles
S.R. Zelenz has worked in education for 20 years. Working with students from all walks of life, cultures, races, and social diversity, Zelenz’s research in Educational Leadership led to finding a better way to approach learning for students with trauma histories. Many were juvenile offenders, gang members, diagnosed with varying behavioral disorders, or had family histories of violence, murder, or narcissistic parenting. This research could not be effectively accomplished without further understanding: how epigenetic trauma inheritance may be impacting these students; how brain development from trauma may be impacting their behavioral and emotional development; as well as deep understanding of psychology and its varying classifications for behavioral and personality disorders. The goal is to find solutions for changing the conversation and making a real difference for these students. She has also worked with nonprofits of varying focus areas for the last 25 years. Her undergraduate degree in Arts Administration and Music prepared her for managing nonprofits of any size as well as procuring funding so that they can achieve their goals. Pairing her nonprofit background with her education background, she has been able to make a difference for over 200 nonprofits worldwide, written curriculum for schools across the globe, and assisted many arts organizations through performance and management.