I need a Summmary on CH6 and Ch7 250 words with Reference. Then I need Ch6 Questions answer in 200 words and Ch7 Questions answer done the same way.

In your summary, discuss how the week’s readings support the  role of the principal in family and community involvement.  The weekly  summary should include at least one reference from the week’s readings  and should be no longer than 250 words.   
0–No summary or summary is not on topic.
0.5–On topic with no reference or connection to the week’s readings.
1–On topic and includes a reference to the week’s readings.

Chapter 6 The Communication Process
After completing this chapter you should be able to …

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    ■ Identify the key components of the communication process.
    ■ Outline the role of communication in changing attitudes and opinions.
    ■ Distinguish the roles media play in school communication.
    ■ Outline the issues that influence the ability of communication to persuade.

In building a school–community relations program, close attention should be given to the communication process. Although some kind of communication takes place in all walks of life, effective communication doesn’t just happen. It is the result of carefully planning the kind of information that needs to be disseminated, the particular audience that is to be reached, and the choice of tools that are best fitted for the job. The job itself is that of bringing about understanding, gaining acceptance, and stimulating supportive action for ideas or proposals.
Communication is not just telling or hearing something. In the true sense of the word, it means communion or a mutual sharing of ideas and feelings. It comes from the Latin communicare, meaning “to share” or “to make common.” In this setting then, communication is the giving and receiving or sharing of anything. This is accomplished through the use of language, which may be spoken or written, or the use of symbolism, or variations of sound or light, or some other such mode. Usually, the word communication brings to mind the sending or receiving of a letter, a telephone call linking one speaker with one listener, a conversation between friends, the publication of a newspaper, a radio or television broadcast, or an e-mail message.
In any event, communication is a cooperative enterprise requiring the mutual interchange of ideas and information, and out of which understanding develops and action is taken. Communication can also be regarded as a tool for drawing people and their viewpoints closer together, and thus facilitating the quality of the relationship they enjoy. As the sociologist Charles Horton Cooley pointed out more than a century ago, communication is actually “the mechanism through which human relations exist and develop.”1
From this point of view, the nature and importance of the communication process in a school–community relations program will be discussed with reference to the elements of communication, communication and persuasion, mass media techniques, and words.
In communication theory, five elements are identified in the transmission of a message. Figure 6.1 identifies them as the source or sender of information, the message form used by the source (encoder), a channel that carries the message, the decoder who perceives and interprets the common language, and a receiver who reacts to the message after conceptualizing it. This simple pattern of message transmission has just as much application to a complex city newspaper that puts messages into print and sends them to thousands of readers as it does to the encoding, sending, and decoding of a letter from one friend to another.
Source of Information
The source of information may be a person or a group of persons who possess certain ideas, feelings, and needs, as well as a reason for wanting to engage in communication. In selecting the source as the starting place for a message, it should be remembered that the source has been influenced by messages received earlier and by perceptions made in the past. In reality, the source is the human brain—a highly developed internal communication mechanism that is able to combine concepts stored there, and so to create ideas, establish purposes for communication, and decide how a message will be transmitted.
The Message Encoder
The information furnished by the source must be put in message form before being sent to a particular person or audience. Here a number of factors come into play. They are important determinants of message effectiveness and may be summed up briefly as follows:

    • Although language is the principal tool in coding a message, there are times when a body movement, a facial gesture, an unusual noise, or some other sign will convey just as much meaning to the receiver of the message.
    • Senders must understand their messages themselves before they can make them understood by their receivers.
    • To impart information or feelings, the sender and receiver should know not only what the words, phrases, or other signs mean, but both should be able to interpret these elements in the same way.
    • Unless a message can be decoded easily and accurately, there is a danger that the receiver’s attention will shift to something else that appears to offer an equal or greater reward for less effort.
    • A message is received more readily when it contains one or more cues or suggestions that appeal to the receiver’s needs and interests. Such cues or suggestions become an inducement for decoding and accepting the message.

FIGURE 6.1 A Common Communication Model with Examples of Components.
Source: Edward H. Moore

    • Once the source determines what ideas the message should convey, he or she can decide how to express them in a form that will appeal to the receiver.
    • The use of symbols in a message makes it possible to compress and simplify complex information. When such symbols as the Red Cross, a school building, or the American flag are used, they stand for concepts that people readily understand and grasp.
    • Most encoded messages contain a number of parallel messages. When a message is delivered orally, the words, those that are emphasized, the rate of delivery, the pauses, and the facial expressions are all interpreted along with the content of the message.

From this list it is evident that effective encoding calls for a message form that is appropriate for the particular situation, place, and audience.
The Channel
When a message has been coded, the sender must select a channel that will carry it to the person or audience for whom it is intended. The channel may be a word-of-mouth conversation; an oral presentation on radio or television; a written document in the form of a letter or a memorandum; printed matter such as a newspaper, book, magazine, or brochure; or a combination of words and pictures through the medium of motion pictures, videos, e-mail messages, and the like. These are merely some of the more commonly used channels in message transmission.
At the same time, it is essential that the sender know which of these channels are available in the community, how extensively they are used, and how effective each is in reaching various audiences. One channel, for example, might be better than another for message delivery to a foreign-language-speaking segment of the population, whereas a different one could be used with good results for keeping professional persons in the community informed about critical school problems.
Channels that are selected for message transmission should be free from distracting elements that discourage audience attention, such as printed pages of a leaflet or brochure in which the type is smudgy and hard to read, or poorly reproduced photographs and line drawings in a photojournalism piece, or static noises that punctuate a radio broadcast. Such distractions terminate communication possibilities almost at once.
The Message Decoder
Assuming that the transmission channel is working satisfactorily, the question then arises of whether the decoder is able to decode the message accurately. This means interpreting the sign or the way in which the message is coded. If the message is coded in written English, will the decoder understand the vocabulary? Does his or her background of knowledge and experience enable him or her to comprehend quickly and correctly a reference, for example, to a system of open education, a nongraded curricular arrangement, or a minicourse? Unless the reference kindles the same meaning in the mind of the reader as in the mind of the writer, the attempt at communication may be only partly successful, and it may even be totally unsuccessful.
The matter of interpreting the words of a message is further complicated by the fact that the same words have different meanings for different people. Generally, words have two kinds of meaning: (1) a denotative or dictionary meaning that has more-or-less universal acceptance and (2) a connotative meaning—a meaning that is read into the words because of the reader’s background and experience. For example, the word school denotes a place where children go for an education under the direction of qualified teachers. To some individuals this may connote a place where many happy hours were spent, whereas to others it may connote just the opposite, depending on the individual’s experiences while attending school.
Sometimes the people who are the decoders will not take the time to review the message carefully unless they feel that it relates to things of interest to them or that their efforts will be rewarded in some way. In view of the many messages that confront one daily, the problem of getting an individual to select and decode those about the local school system is difficult. Suppose, for example, that the letter carrier just delivered a brochure about school taxes for the coming year and also a popular magazine that the resident thoroughly enjoys reading. If the size, title, color, format, and so on of the brochure lack appeal, it will probably be set aside in favor of the magazine. However, if the brochure creates curiosity regarding the tax situation, reinforces the individual’s concern over mounting educational costs, or suggests that the recipient stands to gain something, the individual may be motivated sufficiently to examine this particular message.
Furthermore, the decoder is more apt to decode a message that calls for the least amount of effort. A six-page brochure on school guidance services that is made up largely of clear photos with clever captions will attract and hold the receiver’s attention more than one on the same subject that consists of six pages of small print. This example illustrates what is referred to in communication theory as Schramm’s “fraction of selection” theory. The expectation of reward is divided by the effort required. Thus, a person will select a particular communication, in all probability, if it promises more reward or if it seems to require less effort to decode than competing messages.
The Receiver
When the message reaches the receiver, who is usually the decoder, it is expressed in some kind of shorthand—letters, drawings, photographs, tables, sounds, and so on. If this shorthand is something that the receiver has learned in the past, he or she will respond accordingly. His or her responses will indicate the meaning that the shorthand has for him or her. Although these responses are the products of experience, nevertheless they are modified at times by the receiver’s physical and mental state. For example, a picture of an attractive tray of desserts will be more appealing to the hungry receiver than to one who has just finished dinner.
Besides translating the shorthand into meaning, receivers’ responses will determine what they will do about the message. The action they take may be based on things they have learned in the past. The word war in a message, for example, may call forth strong feelings of antagonism against the idea of destroying human life. This type of response may cause people to start encoding a message in reply—one that expresses their reactions. Thus, each person in the communication process may be both an encoder and a decoder. On the other hand, the decoder may regard the message as being unimportant or may decide not to reply to it, with the result that the process stops there. However, most individuals are constantly decoding signs, reading meaning into them, and then sending back their reactions. Graphically, the flow is shown in Figure 6.1.
The return message from the decoder or receiver is known as feedback. It tells the sender or source how his or her message is being interpreted. This occurs almost at once in a face-to-face conversation, where verbal response along with body gestures such as a nod of the head, a facial expression, or eye focusing shows the receiver’s responses. In the light of these responses, the encoder or sender may modify future messages.
The feedback situation is somewhat different when messages are carried through mass communication media such as newspapers, television programs, books, or recordings. It is true that the recipients of these messages are individuals, but these individuals supply little or no direct feedback, and only occasionally will they express reactions through telephone calls, letters, or e-mails to the sender. The type of feedback to the sender is usually in the form of a refusal to do something—subscribers discontinue taking the newspaper, listeners and viewers turn to another station, and consumers stop buying the product. This is an impelling reason why so much consumer research is conducted by business organizations. It is the only way available for finding out what programs are watched on television, or what homemakers like about a particular product, or how readers are reacting to given advertisements.
A primary purpose behind the communication process is trying to change attitudes and opinions through the use of persuasive messages. In school–community relations this purpose is frequently referred to as that of trying to bring about informed public consent. The procedures for achieving this involve the preparation and presentation by the school of messages containing information, ideas, or proposals that the public who receives them considers and then decides what action, if any, it is going to take. In a two-way communication flow, the process is reversed, with school personnel analyzing and evaluating suggestions and ideas received from people in the community and subsequently deciding what course of action to follow.
The problem of trying to get individuals to learn new ideas and adopt new behaviors through the use of persuasive messages has been the subject of much research. This research has centered on the stages people go through; the characteristics of the sender, the message, and the receiver; and the results. Some of the findings appear to have practical application in a school–community relations program.
How People Accept or Reject a New Idea, Product, or Innovation
Many studies have been conducted on the adoption or rejection of a new idea, product, or innovation. Known as the diffusion process, this communication theory generated much interest in the 1930–1960 period. Many of the studies are relevant today. The diffusion generalizations in the 1950s have since generated some 4,000 empirical studies.
In the 1950s a group of rural sociologists developed a standard diffusion model with five stages: awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, and adoption.

    Awareness—This stage introduces a person to a new idea, practice, or product. Little or nothing is known about it other than general information.
    Interest—This is sometimes known as the information stage, in which an individual becomes interested in learning more about the idea, practice, or product. He or she will actively seek additional information.
    Evaluation—An individual weighs the merits of the idea, product, or practice and attempts to determine if it is good for him or her.
    Trial—The person tries the product, idea, or practice a little.
    Adoption—The individual decides that the idea, product, or practice is good enough for full-scale use.

According to Lionberger and to Rogers,2 these stages or phases of the diffusion process do not follow a linear sequence. They are not discrete, nor are they experienced by all people.
Mass media play the leading role in the awareness and interest stages, and friends and neighbors are most influential in the evaluation, trial, and adoption stages. In the first two stages, information flows one way, but in the last three stages two-way communication is dominant where attitude change starts taking place.
Message development and audience analysis also play key roles. Basso, Hines, and FitzGerald writing in PR Writer’s Toolbox: Blueprints for Success identify adoption, continuance, discontinuance, and deterrence as the message types linked to direction of persuasive changes.3 Table 6.1 lists the factors and examples for each.
Everett Rogers renamed the stages: (1) knowledge—the individual learns of the innovation and gains information about it; (2) persuasion—the individual forms a positive or negative attitude toward the innovation; (3) decision—the person makes a choice to adopt or reject the innovation; (4) implementation—the person puts the innovation into use; (5) confirmation—the person seeks reinforcement for the decision already made.4
In a similar marketing model, Topor5 emphasizes that people are influenced more in decision making by face-to-face contact than by mass media. Figure 6.2 shows Topor’s four stages of an audience member’s states of mind when an institution is being marketed.

    Awareness—Bringing an institution to the attention of an audience
    Comprehension—Developing an understanding of the appeal of an institution
    Conviction—Matching individual interests to institution offerings
    Commitment—Assisting in the decision process

Like Lionberger’s diffusion process, Topor’s marketing model shows that information flows primarily one way in the first two stages, but in the last two stages two-way communication is dominant, whereby a commitment is made. It would appear, then, from both of these models that for the greatest persuasion to take place, a two-way person-to-person communication process must exist.
TABLE 6.1 Persuasive Efforts Begin with Clear Audience Analysis



You attempt to get the reader to adopt an idea or plan.

The PTA urges every resident to get out and vote YES to support two new schools in the district.

You want the audience to continue a behavior.

We urge every resident to continue their support and vote YES next Tuesday to support school expansion.

You want the audience to stop doing something.

Residents need to reverse the failed bond referenda and support a plan to infuse the district with much needed funds.

You want to convince the audience not to do something.

Residents have voted against the last two bond referenda to infuse needed funds into our school system. Next Tuesday, let’s reverse that trend and vote YES for school expansion.
Source: Adapted from PR Writer’s Toolbox: Blueprints for Success (Kendall Hunt Publishing Co.), copyright 2012 by Joseph Basso, Randy Hines, and Suzanne FitzGerald. Reprinted with permission.
FIGURE 6.2 A Marketing Model of Audience Member States of Mind.
Source: Robert S. Topor, Institutional Image: How to Define, Improve, Market It (Washington, DC: Council for Advancement and Support of Education, 1986), p. 55. Reproduced with permission.
In other words, the mass media (in this case, radio, TV, brochures, and printed material) serve to inform the public and to make people aware of a situation or an idea. When it comes to accepting or rejecting a new idea, people are apt to confer with a neighbor or friend whose judgment they respect. A number of studies have shown that people are influenced more in decision making by face-to-face contacts than by the impact of the media.
The classic 1950s diffusion model also included the idea that individual differences cause people to adopt innovations at different times utilizing varying amounts and sources of information. Five categories of adopters were conceptualized: innovators (first 2.5 percent), early adopters (next 13.5 percent), early majority (34 percent), late majority (34 percent), and late adopters or laggards (last 16 percent).6 (Chapter 14 gives additional material on the diffusion of information.)
Too often school districts flood the mass media with news releases and public service announcements, thinking such announcements will be enough to persuade citizens to accept a new idea or change in the schools. However, school district personnel should be aware that, if attitude change is to take place, they must develop some additional communication approaches to reach citizens on a person-to-person basis. They need to communicate with those people to whom citizens turn to get opinions during the last three stages of the diffusion process. One answer is a key communicator program, which is explained in Chapter 8.
Confidence in the Source
The persuasiveness of a communication is greater when certain things are known about the communicator. This is usually the case if the sender has gained a reputation for being honest and direct, is a highly respected person among associates, is thought to be well informed on the subject of the message, or shares a common background or set of experiences with his or her listeners.
A message is also likely to receive favorable attention when it is sent by persons in positions of leadership. Such a person could be the president of a school board, a superintendent of schools, or a civic-minded industrialist.
Some additional research findings are interesting with regard to source credibility. For example, a physically attractive source is generally more persuasive than an unattractive source, regardless of the gender of the receiver. Furthermore, if receivers see the sender to be similar to themselves in experiences, opinions, and background, they are more apt to accept the message. Some researchers define source credibility as expertness and claim that it is related more to attitude change than to the source’s attractiveness or similarity to the intended audience. However, in order for the expertise to be persuasive, Oskamp7 claims that special conditions are needed: (1) The area of expertise must be related to the issue or topic being presented, and (2) before the message is to be delivered the expertise must be made known to the audience. In general, researchers suggest that people will often accept or reject message conclusions based on source credibility without paying much attention to the supporting arguments.
In certain unusual situations, researchers have discovered an interesting relation between the source credibility and the passage of time. They found that receivers remember the context of a message from a noncredible communicator, think about it, and sometimes later accept the message after they have forgotten where it came from. This phenomenon is known as the sleeper effect. In brief, then, the tie between the source of a message and the content of a message is not the same in perception as in memory.
Support of Personal Views
Much research has been done on attitude change when the receiver of a communication is exposed to a message that agrees or disagrees with his or her point of view. Among the more important findings are these:

    • People tend to read, watch, and listen to communications that are in agreement with their beliefs and interests.
    • When people receive a message containing a point of view or information that casts doubt on their position, they either disregard or distort the message in order to confirm their existing attitudes and opinions. Actually, they hear or read only what they expect to hear or read, not what the message says.
    • In some instances, exposure to such material leads to receivers restructuring the message so that the content agrees with their predisposition or at least so that it is made tolerable. In other words, receivers end up perceiving the message as though it reflected their own point of view.
    • People remember the content of a message that supports what they believe much better than they remember material that is antagonistic to their convictions.
    • Information and ideas about a subject receive most attention from those who are most interested in it or those whose minds are most firmly made up beforehand. Those who have no interest in the subject pay little or no attention to communications regarding it.
    • When a discussion of an issue reaches the stage of controversy, those taking part in it are apt to ignore additional information unless it happens to agree with their attitudes and convictions. At this point it is usually too late for further information to influence them; in fact, too much information may produce a negative reaction.
    • In an area where few opinions have been formed, the chances are rather good that a well-devised communication will accomplish its goal. In an area, however, where opinions are fixed and strongly defended, the chance of achieving attitude change is only slight. Where this is the case, it is better to take existing attitudes and try to redirect them slightly.

Benefit to Receiver
Messages can be persuasive when they deal with the receiver’s needs or appeal to his or her self-interest. It is only natural to look more sharply at the content of a communication from which one can gain something. A communication could, for example, request that one serve as chairperson of a committee that is highly regarded by the members of one’s group, or it could contain an offer to finance a research project in which one has a strong interest. In much the same way, citizens respond favorably to school communications that explain the services children receive from the tax dollar. Although indirect, this type of benefit makes citizens feel that a worthwhile return is being received from their investment.
Sometimes a message is persuasive because it is received when the individual has a predisposition to change. Suppose, for example, that the receiver has been active in an independent citizen movement to upgrade instruction in the schools and feels that this activity is no longer satisfying. As a result, he or she may have become predisposed to change. Then a message is received describing the value of citizen involvement in the formulation of educational policies under the auspices of the board of education. The receiver’s new predisposition to change may cause a positive reaction to similar communications rejected on prior occasions.
Group Influences
Research studies have turned up a series of findings about group influence on the receiver’s acceptance or rejection of a message. To begin with, a message is more likely to stimulate a favorable response if the content of it relates clearly to group values and beliefs. Group values and beliefs are those established by the family, friends, coworkers, and organizations to which the receiver belongs or would like to belong. On the other hand, if the content is in disagreement with group norms, it will probably be rejected unless it undergoes substantial change. It is difficult to persuade the receiver to believe in something or to do anything that runs counter to the value system of his or her groups.
This raises the question of what individuals receive in return for conforming to the standards and beliefs of a group. Research on this question shows that they get two returns for conformity: First, they identify more closely with the group and enhance their acceptance as members, and second, they receive some ready-made interpretations of experience and consequently find it easier to meet the daily pressures of life and its accompanying problems.
It has also been found that receivers cannot be persuaded easily if their acceptance of a message will cause them to lose face among their peers. In speculating on this possibility, the sender should scrutinize all available alternatives before transmitting the message and should word it accordingly.
There are other ways in which the individual is influenced by people’s judgment. For example, an individual who will go along with the position of a speaker when the position appears acceptable to the majority of the audience may be less likely to agree with it when he or she senses a discrepancy between the speaker’s position and that of the audience. It has also been observed that an individual responds to appeals in a crowd that he or she would scarcely consider, let alone accept, apart from the group. Thus, it is sometimes possible to convince an individual to accept a point of view in private, even though later he or she will deny it when reacting with a crowd.
Research has also found that opinions individuals have made known to others are more difficult to change than those they hold privately. Also, group discussion and decision making (audience participation) help to overcome resistance to persuasion.
Presentation of Issues
In presenting issues to an audience, the question has come up of which method is more effective to use: a one-sided or a two-sided message—in other words, to present only your position, or to present both yours and the opposite one. Research results indicate that the answer varies with the conditions and circumstances under which the presentation takes place. The following are some of the important findings and should be regarded as guidelines in school–community relations:

    • Presenting only one side of an argument often causes the audience to feel that it is being talked down to by the speaker. Those who are well informed on the subject and those who think they are resent this type of treatment.
    • If it appears that an audience is unfriendly and skeptical about the integrity of the speaker, as well as rather well informed on some aspects of the subject, the presentation should be carefully balanced and highly objective.
    • When a group is initially exposed to a two-sided communication, such as the pros and cons of constructing a new school building, it is more likely to resist propaganda to which it is subsequently exposed.
    • Persons of low intellect and limited schooling can be influenced by a one-sided message if the content is limited to arguments favoring the communicator’s position.
    • Persons with high intellectual ability and a good educational background tend to be more influenced by a two-sided message.
    • When audience members are well informed on an issue, more persuasion is accomplished by reviewing both sides of the matter, but when they are poorly informed, then a one-sided presentation is more effective.
    • A one-sided message is more apt to influence persons who were initially inclined to support the position being advocated, but a two-sided communication is more influential for those who were opposed at the beginning.
    • More attitude change occurs when the desirable features of a proposed change are presented first and the undesirable second.
    • When different communicators present two sides of an issue successively, the side presented first has no real advantage. However, when a single communicator presents both sides, the material presented first seems to have more impact on the audience than that presented subsequently.
    • In controversial situations, messages that offer some reasonable conclusion to an issue are more likely to be persuasive than if the audience is left to make up its own mind.
    • When conflicting information is important to the audience, failure to divulge such information may be regarded as an indication that the communicator has not looked at the other side carefully enough.
    • Research has yielded conflicting findings on the matter of whether the opening or closing of a message should contain the more important content. When the weaker points are presented first, an interested audience looks forward to what is coming later, whereas an apathetic audience is more likely to be aroused when the important points are presented at the beginning.
    • Research findings lack agreement on the effectiveness of emotional versus rational appeals. Sometimes messages containing one type of appeal are more persuasive than the other type. Appeal effectiveness of either emotional or rational messages seems to depend on the issue under consideration as well as on the composition of the audience.

Fear-Arousal Messages
Are people persuaded to change their attitudes and behaviors because a message arouses fear and insecurity? Much of the research in fear-arousal messages confirms that as these messages increase from low to moderate levels, attitude and behavior changes increase. However, as the messages progress from a moderate to a stronger level, persuasion is less apt to take place. Apparently, strong fear evokes ego defenses that block attitude change.
In some studies it has been found that when an audience is exposed to conflicting messages on the same issue, the use of a strong threat appeal tends to be less persuasive than the use of a minimal one in bringing about attitude change. However, if the communicator wants the audience to remember the threat and nothing else, then a strong appeal may prove to be persuasive.
Therefore, it should be recognized in school–community relations that fear-arousal messages, either direct or indirect, will not evoke acceptance or help to gain the support required in providing a sound educational program. Messages that help people in the community to see reasonable and feasible solutions to educational problems are more effective in gaining support for needed school programs.
Repeating the Message
Advertisers have known for many years that repeating a message through a variety of media helps to achieve persuasion. The principle of repetition applies equally to school-devised messages. For example, in a rapidly growing community in which pre-kindergartens programs are just starting, it might be necessary to let parents know of their availability and their advantages in early childhood education. By carefully selecting the timing of releases on the subject, a direct mailing of brochures could be made over a three-week period. At the same time, both straight news and feature stories could be prepared for newspapers, and spot announcements could be prepared for radio and television news programs. Both the news stories and the spot announcements could be scheduled three or four days apart over the same three-week period.
Scheduling the announcements about pre-kindergartens in close succession and through different media not only strengthens the impact of the initial exposure to the message but also converges a variety of announcements on the audience from more than one direction. Repetition with variation promotes better message understanding and acceptance.
However, a qualifying note should be emphasized here. Repetition of a message can have an attitude enhancement effect only if the content (stimulus) is positive or neutral. If it is negative, the opposite effect will take place.
Personality Variables
The personality of the receiver has a dramatic effect on how the message is processed. Research indicates that people with low self-esteem are predisposed to attitude change when exposed to persuasive messages. This is particularly true if the messages are simple and poorly substantiated. Conversely, high-self-esteem individuals are more often persuaded with complex, but well-substantiated, messages. Experts in attitude change also indicate that individuals with chronically high levels of anxiety and aggressiveness usually resist persuasion.
Further Findings about Persuasion
The following are further findings about persuasion in messages that try to effect attitude change and stimulate behavioral action:

    • There is usually better assurance that an audience will comprehend more clearly the nature of a message when it contains a stated conclusion. However, this concept does not always work successfully. A suspicious audience may view the stated conclusion as a deception, whereas a sophisticated one may regard it as an insult to its intelligence.
    • When a message suggests a pattern of action for the satisfaction of particular needs and interests, the suggested pattern should generally be in agreement with the norms and beliefs of the group to which the receiver belongs.
    • In trying to validate the information received in a message, broadly educated people are likely to turn to outstanding authorities, whereas less well-educated people are likely to turn to their friends and neighbors.
    • With reference to matters of taste, individuals who read good books usually listen to good radio programs, whereas those who read light books or none at all listen to light radio programs. This principle of selective exposure applies to a variety of life situations.
    • The communicator can influence attitudes or behavior only when the message is accompanied by the possibility of equally valuable changes in the surrounding situation. For example, a parent may pay slight attention to a school leaflet on homework when a child is doing satisfactory work, but the parent may read it carefully when the child’s marks drop sharply.
    • Attention may be drawn to communications containing important information through the use of indicators. Indicators are devices that suggest that the message may be valuable to the receiver. Common indicators are boxed stories in newspapers; large headlines over a news story; tones of voice that indicate urgency, sincerity, or fright; colors; and various symbols.
    • Face-to-face conversation with a trusted friend who knows a new program from personal experience—let’s say, in reading instruction—has almost the same influential quality as an actual visit to a school and an observation of the program in operation.
    • Effective communication calls for the use of several different communication channels. It has been found that some channels may call the receiver’s attention to an issue, others to the alternatives that are open, and still others may convince him or her that a choice is a sound one. Some channels may be useful in helping him or her to carry out a decision.

Much of the communication that takes place between school personnel and people in the community is through the media—radio, television, newspapers, newsletters, Internet, and magazines. These media are commonly thought of as vehicles or means for transmitting identical messages to many individuals at the same time. For instance, several thousand people may read a feature story in the newspaper describing a special school program in child care for high school students. An equal number may see on a television program the floor plans and site arrangements for a proposed school facility. Many may receive a leaflet about mathematics or listen to a speaker give an illustrated lecture on competitive sports and character development.
Unlike a small group of parents discussing a proposed change in the school lunch schedule or members of the parent–teacher association listening to a talk on teenage health problems, those who constitute a mass communication audience have practically no contact with each other. One person may be looking at a television program on a travelogue through Ontario without knowing whether anyone else in the house next door or on the same street is looking at that program.
However, each person who is independently viewing such a program, reading a news magazine, hearing a radio broadcast, and so on is connected with various groups in the community, such as family, close friends, fellow workers, members of a lodge, or a religious congregation. This fact is important in mass communication because the real impact of messages transmitted by means of the media is produced through the dissemination of ideas and information by individual receivers in small-group situations.
A leaflet on the teaching of spelling in the schools, a news story about the president of the school board, or a television interview with an outstanding teacher may be the subject of conversation over the dinner table, among business associates, or at a social gathering in the neighborhood. What is reported by the individual receiver is then reinterpreted by the group, and the outcome is translated into group opinion and possibly group action. Thus it would seem that an important outcome of mass communication is the influence of the individual receiver in message distribution and opinion development among members of his or her group.
In addition to this, other outcomes are associated with the use of the media. First is that mass communication makes it possible to deliver a message to large numbers of people in a relatively short period. For example, a newspaper story on a proposed annual school budget may be read by a fairly high percentage of citizens in the community the same day that it is printed. Moreover, each reader receives the story in identical form, thereby minimizing the element of distortion that often characterizes message distribution on a person-to-person basis. Second, the media are most effective in creating awareness on the part of message receivers. The media serve as agencies through which information about an innovation, such as a change in the traditional conduct of a school board meeting, is brought to popular attention. Third, research findings consistently indicate that the media serve generally as a means of reinforcement rather than of change. People select messages that they want to see and hear—messages that confirm preexisting beliefs and attitudes. Fourth, most people who learn about an innovation or an event through one medium—for example, the local newspaper—are likely to learn about it through other channels as well. Fifth, there is evidence that frequent repetition of a message helps it to gain acceptance, providing, however, that it is repeated in various ways. The identical repetition of a communication tends to annoy people and can reduce the chances of its being regarded favorably.
Certain limitations are connected with message transmission through the media because of the diverse nature of the audience. In face-to-face communication, the encoder is able to observe the way a communication is being received and to modify it if the receiver’s reaction suggests this need. On the other hand, in mass communication, the sender is dealing with large groups and many classes of people. Thus, if a school pamphlet is published for general distribution in the community, careful attention must be given to its readability; otherwise, it may be pitched above the level of reading appeal and understanding of many of the people who receive it. In view of this limitation and the corresponding lack of feedback, it is advisable to appeal more often to important publics rather than to the general public. This means that a subject can be treated differently for different audiences that make up the several special publics of the school. For example, a leaflet on the financial needs of the school district could be written and designed one way for businesspeople in the community, another way for parents of elementary-school children, and still another way for senior citizens.
It should also be noted that readers, listeners, and viewers have been exposed to thousands of media communications and are therefore able to distinguish between those that are attractive in appearance and skillful in design and those that lack these qualities. This exposure to good techniques causes people to demand excellence in all publications and programs without being conscious of their reasons for doing so. Parents may not expect a school newsletter to look like a report distributed by a large corporation to its stockholders, but they expect it to have an attractive flag, good page layout, readable type, interesting illustrations, and timely news. Skill in handling the media is no guarantee of establishing communication with all receivers, but it does make it much more likely.
Successful communication is tied closely to the way in which words are employed in messages. Although a large body of research studies on this subject is available, only the more pertinent findings will be reviewed here. If used correctly, these findings should improve the meaning and acceptance of school messages intended for various community audiences.
Words are tools for fashioning messages. When used properly, they enable the message receiver to interpret accurately the purpose and meaning that the sender had in mind. The achievement of this outcome calls for a thorough knowledge of word usage and its application in communications for specific audiences.
Research indicates that several measures of word usage must be taken into account by message encoders. To begin, senders cannot tell other people something they themselves do not understand. They must know precisely what they want to say and then make the message easy for the receivers to comprehend. However, in making the message easy to comprehend, senders must be sensitive to the fact that word meaning varies with individuals and environmental conditions. The word football, for example, has a different connotation in England than it does in the United States. The word dog to a canine enthusiast may refer to a friendly, loyal animal, whereas to a person bitten by one the word may represent an unfriendly, vicious animal. In this respect, words can play on an individual’s feelings and tap his or her memory as well.
It is likewise necessary to know the meanings of words that are brought into play by self-interest groups. Each group uses words and phrases peculiar to the goals the group stands for in American life. Bankers talk about prime interest rates, physicians about preventive medicine, educators about curriculum and instruction, and workers about fringe benefits and union contracts. Knowing the meaning of words that are used by self-interest groups enables the message writer or speaker to select those that will be received favorably and understood.
The meaning of a word is influenced by the context in which it appears. For example, the word rare has a different connotation when it refers to a sense of humor than it has when used to describe a piece of meat. For another example, take the words progressive and education. When used separately in a sentence, they are regarded as positive words with acceptable meanings. However, if combined into the term progressive education, they acquire another sense and to some people become negative words that convey emotional overtones. In short, the meaning and reaction to a word can be changed by placing it in another context.
The number of syllables used also appears to have some effect on the readability of printed material. It has been found that words with as many as four or five syllables add to reading difficulty. For this reason, reading specialists advocate the substitution of words with fewer syllables whenever possible. The longer the physical length of a word, the less chance there is of its being understood.
Somewhat similar is the pronunciation problem created by the use of words unfamiliar to the reader. Instead of focusing on what a word means in the message, attention is diverted to the question of how to pronounce it. The reader is often required to spend some time analyzing a word before he or she is able to say it correctly. If too many words in the message are unfamiliar, the pronunciation block may become large enough to destroy the message. However, in the case of uncertainty in the mind of the reader about the status of a word, the word can be clarified casually without suggesting that the reader is ignorant. For example, it could be said in a school publication that “we want to correlate or pull closer together our English and social studies in the middle-school program.”
The semantic effect of word combinations is something that enters into the study of word usage. Research shows that each word in a combination, such as gregarious person, handsome man, or brave boy, has a modifying effect on the other. If the words in a combination are out of harmony, they tend to cancel each other out, but if they are compatible, a new connotation emerges. Usually, the measured meaning of words in combinations leans toward the adjective instead of the noun.
Unfortunately, many school districts communicate only when they are in a crisis. They find themselves in a reactive situation that keeps them in a defensive position. Communication during a crisis is extremely difficult without some planning.
Sadly, many school districts believe that when a crisis arrives, they can eliminate it with some strong public relations. However, the communications and public relations should have taken place before the crisis. Kennedy addresses this point by stating,

    Particularly in today’s climate, public relations must be more than crisis communications. It must be more than press releases or egg-on-face statements from officials. Real communication must be constant and personal, blunting the need for any criticisms before they can arise.8

In this way, the severity of a crisis can be reduced. Once into a crisis, a district has to ride it out by communicating the best way it can. What it needs in a crisis is trust and credibility, which can be best established with prior communications and public relations and with much planning.
The National School Public Relations Association has compiled a comprehensive school crisis manual that provides procedures and policies, tips on dealing with the media, and ways to communicate with staff.9 (See Chapter 9 on crisis planning and handling violence.)
Identify a current issue in your local school system. How would you craft a continuance message on this issue, and how would you craft a discontinuance message on the issue? Specify when it might be appropriate to use each message.
How can the values of the sender (source) and the receiver affect the fidelity of the communication process?
What are the implications for school communicators in assessing the values of the sender when selecting spokespersons for particular issues confronting a school system?
If some school board members were to say that you need to work only with the mass media to get school messages across to the community, what would you say to them about that point of view, and how would you counsel them on communication approaches?
Bagin, Don, and Anthony Fulginiti, Practical Public Relations Theories & Practices That Make a Difference. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt, 2006.
Basso, Joseph, Randy Hines, and Suzanne FitzGerald, PR Writer’s Toolbox: Blueprints for Success, 2nd ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt, 2013.
Cialdini, Robert B., Influence: Science and Practice, 5th ed. Boston, MA: Pearson, 2008.
De Vito, Joseph A., The Interpersonal Communication Book, 13th ed. Boston, MA: Pearson, 2012.
Dilenschneider, Robert L., The Corporate Communication Bible. Boston, MA: New Millennium, 2004.
National School Public Relations Association, School Public Relations, 2nd ed. Rockville, MD: Author, 2007.
Newsom, Doug, Judy Van Slyke Turk, and Dean Kruckeberg, This Is PR, 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Cengage Wadsworth, 2012.
Wilcox, Dennis L., Glen T. Cameron, Philip H. Ault, and Warren K. Agee, Public Relations Strategies and Tactics, 10th ed. Boston, MA: Pearson, 2011.
1. Charles Horton Cooley, Social Organization (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1909), p. 61.
2. Herbert F. Lionberger, Adoption of New Ideas and Practices (Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1960), p. 3, and Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 4th ed. (New York, NY: Free Press, 1995), p. 160.
3. Joseph Basso, Randy Hines, and Suzanne FitzGerald, PR Writer’s Toolbox: Blueprints for Success (Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt, 2013), p. 103.
4. Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 4th ed. (New York, NY: Free Press, 1995), p. 202.
5. Robert S. Topor, Institutional Image: How to Define, Improve, Market It (Washington, DC: Council for Advancement and Support of Education, 1986), p. 55.
6. Eric A. Abbott and J. Paul Yarbrough, “Re-Thinking the Role of Information in Diffusion Theory: An Historical Analysis with an Empirical Test.” Paper submitted to Communication Theory and Methodology Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, for its annual convention, New Orleans, LA, 1999, p. 6.
7. Stuart Oskamp, Attitudes and Opinions (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1991), p. 217.
8. Jack L. Kennedy, “Building Positives Must Start with Educators,” Journal of Educational Relations, 16, no. 4 (November 1995), p. 24. Copyright © 1995 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
9. Rick Kaufman, The Complete Crisis Communication Management Manual (Rockville, MD: National School Public Relations Association, 2009).


What factors should a school and/or district leader consider when crafting a message in response to a crisis situation? 
What factors can influence the fidelity of the communication  process? Why is it important to understand these factors prior to making  any formal efforts with communication?

Chapter 7 Communicating with Internal Publics
After completing this chapter you should be able to …

    ■ Demonstrate how internal communication contributes to and supports the success of school–community relations programming.
    ■ Identify essential internal audience segments and distinguish how each contributes to school–community relations efforts.
    ■ Describe the role of human relations in developing productive working relationships with internal audiences.
    ■ Outline methods for communicating with key internal audiences.

Internal communication has become increasingly important to school boards and administrators as a vital part of comprehensive school–community relations programs. In the past it was not uncommon for school systems, in developing a community relations program, to concern themselves exclusively with ways and means of communicating with their external publics. Rarely did they think of structuring a program of effective two-way communication with their internal publics: the employees and students. This has changed as the age of involvement has spread throughout society, including education.
Internal publics, particularly employees, began to see themselves in a different role—one that called for a more active part in the total planning of the educational program along with their professional and personal welfare—and school systems began to realize that good relations with and among internal publics were a necessary part of good public relations.
School administrators and boards are coming to understand the importance of good internal communications. This awareness has been brought about by the need to gain continued public support of education. School boards and administrators can no longer get that support alone; they must enlist the help of employees, and doing so requires a structured internal communications program.
School districts, then, see three reasons why a good internal communication program is important: (1) A good external communication program cannot survive without it; (2) constructive ideas will be suggested by employees because someone is listening and informing them; and (3) human needs, such as recognition and a sense of belonging, will be met, thus making employees more productive.
In analyzing the causes of good and poor relations within a system, it is advisable to start with the board of education or board of trustees. This body sets the climate of the school system through the exercise of its authority, the conduct of its business, and the relationships it maintains with administrators and staff members.
Board Authority
A local school board is given broad discretionary powers: both the right and the authority under state law to manage the school system. What matters is the manner in which the board of education exercises this authority. If it refuses to listen to the advice of the chief executive officer, shows indifference to the welfare of the employees, usurps the functions of the administrator, rules on matters about which it is uninformed, issues unreasonable orders, makes political appointments, tries to summarily dismiss teachers, listens to parental complaints without consulting principals and teachers, and engages in other undesirable practices, it soon creates unfavorable working conditions and lowers the morale of employees. The result is that the school employees no longer feel a loyalty to the system and do not hesitate to say what they think about the board of education and the policies with which they are forced to comply.
The Conduct of Board Business
The board of education is legally required to conduct its business in regular meetings and in special meetings called from time to time. All meetings are open with the exception of executive sessions. In some states the decisions reached in executive sessions are not binding until voted on in an open meeting.
Whether a board adheres to the proper conduct of its business exerts a direct influence on public and employee attitudes. A well-organized meeting in which sincere efforts are made to serve the school community will inspire employees with confidence, respect, and trust; a poorly managed, perfunctory, and discordant meeting will leave a residue of discontent.
Relations with the Superintendent
School board relations with the superintendent deserve special consideration in any discussion of internal affairs. In many systems, the board of education is organized into a series of standing committees. Each committee is made responsible for some area of the school program. There may be committees on personnel, buildings and grounds, transportation, finance, public relations, instruction, and welfare. This system is used to expedite board business and to divide the amount of work carried by members. However, it has definite weaknesses that should be recognized:

    • The executive officer is required to report to committees instead of taking up problems with the whole board of education.
    • These committees become policymaking bodies because their recommendations are, as a rule, accepted by the board without much question.
    • Members of the board have but slight understanding of the system aside from the specific areas in which they work on committee assignments.
    • The tendency is strong for committees to encroach on the administrative function of the superintendent.

This form of board organization can easily produce unfavorable relations with superintendents and reduce the effectiveness of their leadership in school systems.
Complaints received by board members from teachers, parents, and people in the community are another cause of poor relationships if they are handled incorrectly. Sound administration requires that all complaints be referred to the superintendent of schools and cleared through him or her with members of the staff. If satisfaction is not received by the complaining party, before any official action is taken the board can request the superintendent to report the facts and tell what he or she has done. Instead of following this procedure, or one comparable to it, some board members assume responsibility for settling complaints themselves. They not only take over the authority of the superintendent but also undermine his or her prestige in the school and community. The incorrect handling of complaints is a fertile breeding ground for discord in the relationship of the board and the superintendent.
The kind of interest that board members show in education problems is another potential area of disagreement between board members and the superintendent. As a professional adviser to the board and the educational leader of the school system, it is up to the superintendent to keep the board informed of current problems and to recommend courses of action for meeting existing needs. Although superintendents do not expect the board to approve all of their recommendations, they do expect that the members will consider suggestions with a fair degree of impartiality. If board members are casual or indifferent about a superintendent’s recommendations, or if their decisions are made for personal, business, or political reasons, the superintendent is left with the alternative of either protesting vigorously or going along with the board for his or her own security. In the long run, superintendents who play the game for their own security may enjoy smoother relations with the board, but their leadership role in the school system and the community may be forfeited.
Adverse relations may also develop from the kind of methods employed by the superintendents in dealing with boards. For instance, superintendents may withhold vital information to protect themselves, or they may initiate important policies without consulting the board beforehand. Some superintendents destroy goodwill by assuming an attitude of intellectual superiority and by insisting on the right to decide all educational policies. A few may try to elicit community pressure to get what they want and, failing this, to engage in a whispering campaign to defeat members who are up for reelection.
Board relations with staff personnel are carried on mostly through the superintendent. He or she is expected to advise the board on staff problems and to recommend policies.
Relationships between the board of education and the superintendent of schools have a positive or a negative effect on relationships between the superintendent and the employees. A superintendent who enjoys good relations with the board is more likely to look upon his or her job as an opportunity to build a better school system. Employees catch the spirit of the superintendent and welcome the leadership provided. A different reaction takes place when the superintendent is forced to contend with an unpleasant board that is more interested in saving money than in building a good school system.
The use of the word superintendent in this chapter pertains to school districts other than large city or county districts. In large districts, where the superintendent often is far removed from districtwide employees, the suggestions in this chapter might apply to regional, cluster, or deputy superintendents.
Primary relations between administration and employees start with the superintendent and flow down a line of authority to the assistant superintendent, directors of special departments, supervisors, and building principals, according to the size of the system. The superintendent is the one who sets the overall pattern of relationships, because of his or her position as chief executive officer. Under proper administrative conditions, success or failure is bound up closely with the willingness of the employees to support the superintendent’s policies. In systems where desirable administration–employee relations are found, the superintendent is usually a capable executive who possesses a dynamic and pleasing personality, a deep respect for human values, and an ability to work democratically with people. His or her policies follow a clearly defined philosophy of education and management and include recognition of staff achievements, opportunities for growth in service, staff participation in policy and program development, fair treatment, satisfactory working conditions, and a sincere concern for staff welfare. What a school system has in the way of organization, administrative procedures, instruction, plant, and esprit de corps is due largely to the policies, leadership, courage, and vision of the superintendent.
Except in small school systems, the superintendent must rely on subordinate administrative and supervisory officers to promote desirable staff relations. Poor subordinates, however, may do much to impede his or her leadership and efforts to build a unified school system. They can misinterpret policies and badly manage excellent programs. Their individual struggles for prestige and power may divide staff loyalties and set up competing factions. Unless superintendents have capable and reliable subordinates, they may find themselves heading a mediocre and strife-torn system.
Aside from the superintendent, perhaps the most important administrative officers are the building principals. They may be in more intimate contact with the staff than their immediate superiors. The attitudes and actions of principals often determine the way in which many teachers and other school personnel think and feel about the school system.
Human Relations in Improving Employee Relations
The day has long since passed when school administration can be considered as purely a technical skill of developing a budget, constructing and maintaining school plants, assigning teachers, accounting for students, operating school cafeterias, and providing transportation. All these are necessary and vital to the operation of a school or a school system. However, another skill, the human skill, must be considered in any discussion of good school administration, particularly where internal relations are concerned.
Sergiovanni, Kelleher, McCarthy, and Wirt contend, “Human skill refers to the school administrator’s ability to work effectively and efficiently with others on a one-to-one basis and in group settings. The skill requires considerable self-understanding and acceptance as well as appreciation, empathy, and consideration for others.”1
Running through studies in all areas of administration is a consensus that, although technical skills cannot be disregarded, human skills are vital. The relationship that should exist between human and technical skills has been outlined by Sergiovanni et al.:

    Human skills seem equally important to administrative and supervisory roles throughout the school hierarchy. Regardless of position, all administrators work through others; that is, they use human skills to achieve goals.2

School administrators, therefore, must focus attention on acquiring skills to deal with human problems. A necessary requirement for an administrator to develop skills in human relations is a positive attitude toward the supreme worth of all individuals. Not only must this attitude be present in the administrators, but it must be evident and manifested in their behavior. It is not enough for them to state that they believe in democratic administration and total involvement of their staffs and employees; they must verify this philosophy in their day-to-day relations with their employees by showing their regard for others and by generating goodwill among school employees. Good human relations is a matter of using good common sense in administration, which in turn will generate mutual respect and goodwill.
In a successful school system the spirit of goodwill is a pervasive feeling that emanates from the board of education, the chief school administrator, and the administrative and supervisory staff. Educators may think they are practicing good human relations if they provide their employees with good salaries, comfortable work areas, release time, social functions, free coffee, and reserved parking spaces. Important as these features are in the total picture of good employee relations, if such benefits are provided out of a spirit of paternalism to make the employees more compliant, they will not bring about the desired result of good human relations. Employees must perceive that administrators and supervisors are being sincere and honest with them if goodwill and mutual respect are to develop in a school system.
Administrators must train themselves to be sensitive to the importance of communicating through their own behavior and action. If this behavior belies what they say, they will invariably have difficulty in maintaining good human relations. In taking action or making a decision, administrators must anticipate how their employees will perceive the matter. Take, for example, the superintendent who informed the staff that the budget was to be cut and no additional hiring was to take place. In the meantime, the superintendent, preoccupied with an additional assignment from the board of education, hired an additional secretary. The new workload may have warranted the hiring of an additional person, but the school personnel perceived it differently as they had slashed their own budget and denied themselves services. To them the superintendent’s behavior destroyed the sincerity of what had been said and served to reduce the superintendent’s chances of improving relations with them.
Ultimately, good human relations will lead to better employee relations because of job satisfaction. A problem in education is that a number of administrators make the assumption that the factors that contribute to job satisfaction also contribute to job dissatisfaction. According to Herzberg,3 these are two separate sets of factors. He includes under satisfiers (motivational needs) such factors as achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement, and growth. Under dissatisfiers (hygienic needs) he lists policy and administration; salary; work conditions; interpersonal relations with supervisors, peers, and subordinates; status; security; supervision; and personal life. If these hygienic needs are met, employee dissatisfaction is prevented rather than having an impact on employee satisfaction with work. The hygienic needs relate to the condition of the work, whereas the motivational needs relate to the work itself. Herzberg reasoned that because the factors causing satisfaction are different from those causing dissatisfaction, the two feelings cannot simply be treated as opposites of one another. The opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction but no satisfaction. Similarly, the opposite of dissatisfaction is no dissatisfaction.
In order for the employee to move from the hygienic needs to the motivational needs, where morale and productivity improve, the hygienic needs must be reasonably met.
In relating Herzberg’s theory to education, Sergiovanni and Carver note:

    It must be remembered, however, that in general providing of hygienic needs prevents decreases in performance but will not increase performance. The motivation to work beyond what is necessary to meet minimum requirements comes from the satisfier set—achievement and recognition, for example. According to the theory, these are the motivators. This concept is of fundamental importance, for the theory suggests that it is a mistaken notion to assume that school executives can buy teacher motivation through concessions across the collective-bargaining table or in similar ways. The bargaining process as we presently know it is largely limited to hygienic concerns.4

Relations Among Teachers
Relations among teachers should be evaluated for the effect they have on public opinion. Poor relations have resulted in serious damage to school systems and to the status of professional employees in the community. Teachers have undermined support and respect for the school system by criticizing the work of colleagues to pupils, parents, and the public. Some teachers have openly opposed school policies—as well as newer educational practices and legislative proposals aimed at improving their own welfare—in news and social media. Teachers who engage in these practices are both their own worst enemies and the enemies of the school system. The problems they create must be worked out by administrators who wish to improve and strengthen relations with the community.
The reasons for poor relations among teachers can be traced to a variety of causes. The more typical reasons are instructional practices, unethical conduct, division of responsibility, formation of cliques, and lack of administrative leadership.
Lack of Administrative Leadership
Unity among staff personnel is difficult to produce without strong administrative leadership. Lack of such leadership diverts attention from problems of teaching and learning and brings into prominence petty differences and personal irritations common to any group of people. This in turn leads to rivalry, clique formation, destructive criticism, disagreement, and quarreling. These human weaknesses are less significant and destructive in a school system in which the administrative leader brings teachers together to share ideas, to identify instructional problems, to pool resources, to define acceptable goals, and to coordinate their services.
Instructional Practices
Instructional practices in any good school should be guided by a definite statement of the philosophy and objectives of teaching. When there is no definite agreement on such philosophy and objectives, friction may develop between teachers and may leave parents confused as to what kind of education their children are receiving. One teacher may believe that children grow best in a democratic institution with as much freedom as they can manage successfully, whereas another teacher may believe that children should be kept under strict control and be told exactly what to do. One teacher may give home assignments as an aid to subject-matter mastery, and another may think that home assignments are unnecessary. One may employ a methodology of recitation, drill, and testing; another may build instruction around problems and projects involving many different types of learning activities. Differences in instructional practices can be a serious cause of poor relations among teachers.
Unethical Conduct
Unethical conduct creates friction among teachers, and examples are numerous. For instance, a teacher may attribute the weaknesses of a class to poor instruction by the previous teacher and make this opinion known to pupils and parents. Sometimes parents are told that their children do not read well thanks to the methods used by the second-grade teacher, or that their children will pay an educational penalty later on because certain members of the staff are not upholding desirable achievement standards. Teachers who show initiative and imagination, who experiment with newer methods, and who try different curricular arrangements are often ridiculed by colleagues for their efforts. Any teacher who is the target of unfair criticism and abuse by colleagues is bound to feel resentful.
Malicious gossip and rumor are other forms of unethical conduct that induce strained relations among faculty members. These unfair practices can disrupt harmony among staff members and cause much unnecessary suffering. Teachers cannot work together efficiently and present a solid front to the public when they are beset by malicious gossip and rumor.
Division of Responsibility
Disturbances often arise over the division of responsibility among teachers. A heavy classroom schedule will be accepted without too much complaint, provided some teachers do not receive fewer classes, smaller sections, and fewer preparations than others. Sponsorship of extracurricular activities may elicit vigorous protest from those who are as

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