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dress codes in relation to my emerging teaching knowledge, my practicum school and national/ international policy statements within this area. While there are many definitions for "dress code" and "school uniform policy" within the literature, I will use the definition provided by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) (2007) as I believe it represents the most clear and straightforward definition for use here. They propose that "school uniform policy" is taken to mean any policy made by a school which sets out the characteristics of a compulsory or noncompulsory school uniform. The school policy may include requirements or recommendations relating to: specific garments to be work, how they are to be worn, when they are to be worn, by whom they are to be worn as well as the associated exemption, enforcement, consideration and review processes. 'Dress code' on the other hand is taken to mean any policy made by a school which sets out requirements relating to student clothing or appearance which do not include a specific school uniform. In this paper, I will first provide a brief overview on the current issues, policies and practice surrounding school uniform policies and dress codes. I will then focus on the school uniform policy of my practicum school and how it affected the work of teachers, assistant teachers, principals, and students at the school. I will use artefacts I collected whilst on practicum and their annotations to graphically illustrate features and aspects of the school's uniform policy. The overall influence of the school uniform policy within the school is then assessed and compared to other national and international approaches. I will argue that for this particular school, (based on its age, socio-economic area and philosophy on teaching) the school uniform policy was successful and worked well to promote its appearance and maintain school discipline. Brief overview on the current issues and trends surrounding school uniform policy and dress codes. The school uniform, what it represents and how it portrays a school to the wider community, has grown in importance over the years. Today's schools are developing their dress codes and school uniform policies in a complex and rapidly changing environment. Many recent developments to do with pedagogy and curriculum reflect a movement towards student centered learning approaches and placing a greater focus on individuality/ creativity. This growing emphasis on diversity within Australian classrooms has challenged traditional school values associated with school uniforms, such as conformity and discipline. However, education is also becoming more and more competitive; as schools seek to increase enrolments and make themselves more attractive and noticeable within the education market. Consequently, at the same time, the student uniform (or lack thereof) can be a powerful expression of a school's identity, culture and philosophy on teaching. Developing dress codes and school uniform policies is not simple as it seems. There are various factors that need to be considered by schools when adopting a school uniform policy. Health and safety, anti-discrimination, enforcement and sanctions, costs, purchasing/distribution, community norms, and the affect on the school itself are all things that need to be considered by school administrators when constructing a uniform policy . Studies (Meadmore & Symes, 1997) show that students/parents are becoming increasingly selective when it comes to the schools they choose, and are heavily influenced by a school's appearance and marketing. What uniform policy a school
each state has its own approach towards school uniform policies. While other schools believe a strong focus on school uniforms can distract teachers and principals from their primary focus to educate students. the array of garments that are currently included in Victorian school uniforms is enormous (as shown by Figure 3 below). like whether a school values independent choice. it does not simply stop at selecting a line of clothing either. This has lead to various types of student dress codes and school uniform policies in Victorian schools alone (refer to Figure: 2). Furthermore. one begins to understand the difficulty and choices to be had by schools when handling uniform policies. School dress codes and uniform policies must also reflect obligations under law to provide safe and healthy environments for work.adopts therefore can say a great deal about the school. as it affects all members of a school's community in some way. A schools uniform policy is as much about adhering to human rights and anti-discrimination legislation as it is about school values and marketability. it is important to realize that the policy surrounding school uniforms is important. Nonetheless. Thus. Full compulsory uniforms are frequently employed by religious and independent schools. The legal obligations and governmental policy surrounding school clothing can vary depending on policy statements and guidelines that correspond to a particular school. and promoting the identification with the school. play and learning. and delivers their intensions respectively in different ways (as shown in Figure: 1 below) . In Australia . but the many requirements and associated processes mean they are quite complex. or whether they consider the need for students to follow rules and regulations. Typically the most significant purpose of any school uniform policy is setting out what students are required to wear. When seeing this broad range of formal/ non -traditional garments and accessories. But as the analysis of Victorian schools conducted by DEECD(2007) shows. Schools must also . Many schools recognize the positive role of clothing in promoting a sense of individual and collective pride in students. Figure 1 Figure 2 School uniforms are often seen simplistically from outside the education field. while government schools seem to have a more relaxed attitude towards dress codes. the legal and political environment with which a schools operates will often have a strong influence or dictate the clothing worn by students. Simply prescribing school uniform items is not sufficient to ensure compliance and the desired school image. The changing legal framework and recommendations as handed down by respective governments also place further pressures on schools when developing school uniform policies.
that if the school's uniform policy met these aims. and 2) demonstrate that the school was disciplined and orderly. meant that the students were allowed greater freedoms compared to students under traditional schooling methods. As a pre-service teacher at the school. was relatively new. meaning teachers will often encounter and deal with a variety of school uniform policies within their careers. students regularly walked around casually and were given . a major goal for the school considering it was just starting out.develop rules and regulations to make certain that the uniform is worn as expected by the school. they would be able to achieve high enrolment numbers. The idea was . the facilities and architecture at the school were very modern and far better than those in the surrounding local schools. do certain uniforms only apply to students at certain year levels?. The particular school I was at. including : does the uniform only apply in school hours?. The general public perception of schooling in the area was that the local high schools were low performing and had significant discipline problems. Figure 3 My Practicum School's Uniform Policy and how it influenced and impacted the school community The school uniform policy at my practicum school involved a semi-formal dress code and a rather strict approach to policing it. team teaching and emphasis on self-directive learning. This throws up various questions. and allow the school to deliver greater discipline to its students. but in reality the school's open learning classrooms. This may sound harsh. do other aspects of a students appearance (outside clothing) matter? How do we discipline students who do not wear proper school uniform?. How a school handles these choices at its discretion often can differ widely from school to school. In classes. being only two years old. my practicum school had two aims when implementing their uniform policy: 1) to address the communities poor view of schooling in the area. I observed that the school's uniform policy was vital to the school as a medium for which to provide some authority to its students. Although the school was a government school in a low socio-economic area. with two year levels (year 7 and 8) presently at the school. So without doubt. In keeping up with modern trends. the school's uniform policy was designed to enhance the public perception of the school.
'yes'. I believe that there is indeed an uplifting effect when you enter a school or classroom and the students appear like they're ready and want to learn. and coming from a low socio-economic area. Throughout my practicum experience. lifelong learners. I'd argue that the student's general cooperativeness in wearing the correct uniform (artefact 2 being an exception) as well as their good behaviour following home-room classes (in the morning). I noticed that teacher's there were more likely to challenge students and set a higher academic. at the other school I visited. or affect teacher performance or behaviour. when I was observing lessons. I am well aware that teaching is very time consuming and really requires a great deal of planning and organization. it could be argued that teaching is not all about what happens in the classroom. illustrated that the uniform policy helped improve student behaviour within the school. This I felt demonstrated that the teachers there had higher opinion of students learning abilities and motivation. Yet. Being a developing pre-service teacher. Comparing this school to another school in the area. which involved a hardline approach to enforcement and sanctions. Nevertheless. 'no'! Does it? I'd argue sometime. At my practicum school. Frequently. I learnt that a school uniform policy to a certain extent. at my practicum school. at the school I visited following my practicum school. In fact. On the other-hand. consumed a great deal of a teacher's time. A uniform policy involving a relaxed approach or no uniform at all would allow teachers to concentrate more importantly on their teaching and more important issues. On morning yard duty. One drawback. which is teaching. the school uniform was 'old' and 'bland'. But that was simply part of the collaborative learning environment the school fostered and ultimately wanted. In this school. you would frequently have to stop the class to confiscate jewellery or send a student to the toilets to remove their hair styling product/make-up. Should this affect the way you teach? Short answer. and checking school uniforms is part of the parcel of being a teacher. teachers' were checking school uniforms. the general appearance of the students and school did not correlate. it made them feel important and included. where my mentor teacher would often spend a great deal of time making sure students were wearing correct uniform and disciplining students that were not. rather than focusing on the general behaviour of students. Teacher's spent time in pastoral care periods and school meetings talking about the dress code and uniform policy. it is important to recognize that school uniforms can promote/contribute to a successful school learning environment (as shown in artefact 1). and they were not as smart as other students from other schools because of this. This was part of the schools vision to develop active. However. based on my experience. I thought there needed to be more of emphasis in enforcing the uniform policy outside the class room and in a quick an efficient .choices in what to learn and how to they could learn it. It followed that the students general perception of their school was that it was 'bad'. I found that the students' opinions of themselves and their school were much more favourable if their school uniform and image in general was actually attractive. But as an emerging teacher. to integrating such a relaxed style of learning. Hence. As result. When teaching. was that students could often become distracted and misbehave. This is shown in artefact 2. I also discovered that the students' and teachers' morale and confidence was significantly boosted because they had a good school uniform. it was obvious that the school's uniform policy. I felt the enforcement and policing of the school's uniform policy (often in the mornings) was a critical aspect in setting the tone for the day. classrooms appeared to be in a state of utter chaos. Therefore. distracts teacher's from their primary role as educators. the students' knew that their uniform was good. settling the students and letting them know that there were boundaries and responsibilities within the school.
This would allow teachers more time and reinforce that student learning and teaching delivery/planning is of greater importance than the school's uniform policy. I found it had a significant impact on teacher-student relationships as well as studentstudent relationships. Whereas the communication and execution surrounding enforcement strategies at the school needed improvement. During my practical experience. The following section of this paper provides a brief overview of the significant academic literature within these areas. This conflict I felt hindered the communication of other issues at the school between teachers and the assistant principle. When it comes to analysing a school's uniform policy. I'm of the opinion that the uniform policy at my practicum school was generally successful because it adhered to the recommendation and policy statements handed down by the Victorian Government. school uniforms and student behaviour as well as policy implementation and best practices. Was the school's uniform policy successful overall? When considering the overall effectiveness school's uniform policy. it was interesting to see how the uniform policy affected relations within the school's learning environment. I deemed this as necessary in promoting better student behaviour and obedience throughout the school. All in all. I believe the interactions between students were better off because of the strict compulsory uniform policy. School Uniform and Academic Achievement . which is important in a low-socioeconomic area . This is inherent from the wider debate on whether school's should have uniforms or not. The uniform meant all students had a feeling of equality and inclusion. such as: school uniforms and academic achievement. discipline and image associated with the school. and increased the morale. It was visible. What the wider academic literature says on school uniform policy School uniform policies and the debate surrounding mandatory school uniforms has always featured heavily within the education literature both nationally and internationally. Arguments and disciplining students over their uniform definitely strained certain teacher-student relationships. In this case. the influence it has on relationships school wide must be considered and used to tailor the policy accordingly. Even though the policy was commonly a source of conflict between students and teachers. that the school uniform was definitely a source of friction between students and teachers as highlighted by artefact 2. It also made competition and bullying on the basis of clothing non-existent. there are always going to be beneficial and negative impacts on school. I believe school uniform policies differ widely and circumstantially based upon the school and it relationship with its surrounding community. which are essential in the learning process. The school's uniform policy was also a source of frustration and resentment between teachers and the assistant principle.where students can be experiencing other social problems outside of school.manner. While the assistant principle often unsympathetically criticized the way teachers were not disciplining the school uniform properly. teachers often disliked enforcing the students school uniform because of the trouble/battle it sometimes caused them. Having said that. the school 's compulsory uniform assisted in better student-student relationships. Many academics have investigated themes important to school uniform policy.
the uniform policy was developed along with other school based policies in accordance with the literature. It is also recommended by some (Essex. graduation) but not in academic performance. 2002. there are many perceived social benefits that accompany the implementation of compulsory school uniform policies. However. 1997).There is a great deal of research surrounding the use of school uniforms and their relation to academic achievement. School Uniforms and School Behaviour Within the literature.2004). many researchers agree that school uniform policies have the greatest impact on student achievement when they are part of a larger comprehensive school reform plan (Jones. elementary-school students in both rural and urban school districts in the America demonstrated improvement in student results for the first year following the implementation of the school's new uniform policy (Shamburger. teachers. Further. stating that students act the way they dress. Murray (2002) reports that uniforms have been linked to increased self-esteem and confidence amongst students. 1998. Many of the findings within these studies are evident in the case of my practicum school. Cheurprakobkit & Bartch. When reflecting on my practicum experience. 2002. he writes that uniforms focus students' energy on learning rather than on seeking peer approval for their outfits. Implementation and best practices with school uniform policies The implementation of school uniform policies can influence how uniforms are perceived with the school as well as the wider community. as I mentioned above. Murray. Murray (1997) found that students rated their school's atmosphere higher after the adoption of school wide uniforms.2004). that administrators have a zerotolerance approach when enforcing compulsory school uniforms. 2005). While Boutelle (2008) stated that uniforms bridge the social gap and level the playing field with regards to student attire. 2005). Recent research has suggested that schools interested in implementing a new school uniform policy should consult with parents. also conducted in America. a study by Lundsmen (2001) showed that many principles thought that uniforms had had a positive impact on student behaviour. Although they did . Fossey & Cobb (2000). students and community leaders (Essex. and "if they dress formally they are more likely to follow rules and tend to the business of school. While another study. Daugherty. it is apparent that decisions my school made concerning the school's uniform policy were heavily informed by the literature. suspension. but are cautious about enforcing it due to challenges. an increased level of sense of belonging amongst students has been attributed to school uniforms (Mancini. 1999). Anderson (2002) suggests that schools should explain why uniforms are being implemented and clearly define the specific guiding principles of a dress code policy. Likewise. However it was found that many administrators and principles support dress codes within their schools. One study cited parental support as a key factor in regards to compliance in wearing uniforms (Schachter. which they face (DemMitchell. These two studies represent the wider literature in the sense that there many case studies that show that academic improvement can both increase or stay the same in relation to a school's uniform policy. legal or otherwise. For instance. In some cases. But more importantly. In one study. As my practicum school was only two years old. showed that mandatory school uniforms in urban public schools led to improvements in many other areas (attendance. Sommers (2001:280) agreed with this. and could be attributed to the attractive appearance of both uniform and school. I thought the students' opinion of themselves and the school was generally good.
Education and Training Committee final report: Inquiry into Dress Codes and School Uniforms in Victorian school. (1997) School uniforms: Dressing for success or conformity? Education Digest. 31.. (2001). Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review. C. L. 81 (593). No. policies. Fossey.. Victorian Government Printer.A. school newsletter. Issue 4. G.A. (2002. 'Tinkering' with Student Dress: A Review of School Uniform Law. and precepts.235-250. they have communicated their dress code to parents and students through many mediums (diary. Winter). The Impact of school uniforms on school climate. Leadership in action: Piloting a school uniform program. When analysing the literature.not consult the community or students when devising their school uniform policy. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review. (2004). C. Department of Early Education and Childhood Development (2007). N. (2008). (Spring Street) East Melbourne. 2. 70(2). R. M. Boutelle. Murray. (2002). school website. (2002). relationships and behaviour. 106-1 12. 1. Essex. Vol. Cheurprakobkit. In respect to my time at my practicum school.. daily notices in homeroom).H. 123(2). ERIC Digest Number 148. F. Dec97. (2005) Educational Research. Vol 47. L. NASSP Bulletin. pp. 0013127X.. Uniforms and Dress-Code Policies. (1998) Preventing School Violence: A review of the Literature. Thresholds in Education. Conclusion The literature is mixed about the impact of school uniform policies and how they impact on student achievement. and normally always differ from school to school. S. This resulted in an approach that successful for the school overall. . and have been prepared to enforce the dress code consistently. Uniforms: Are They a Good Fit?. Murray. R. Policy Report. JL & Educ. K. I became aware that the implementation of school uniform policies is often circumstantial. Student Dress Codes Using Zero Tolerance?. & Cobb. Dress codes in the public schools: Principals. DeMitchell. W. 32-36. Daugherty. ( 1997). 28. Education. 390-393. (2000). R. 29. 73(6). A. Bartsch. 63. T. 34-37. Jones. R. R. Mancini. School Dress Codes and Uniform Policies. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the mid-south Educational Research Association] Lumsden. References Anderson. I came to the conclusion that the school's uniform policy coincided with many aspects of the literature.
Meadmore. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Career and Technical Education. D. Schachter. 174-186. P. N. (2005) Do clothes make the student? District Administration. (2001). Orlando. The influence of a mandatory school uniform policy. . Shamburger.S. (1999). FL.. L. & Symes. R. Sommers. Keeping up appearances: uniform policy for school diversity?. C. British Journal of Educational Studies. Missouri. The Effects of Dress on School Discipline. (1997). 45(2). ERIC.
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