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Organizational Concepts and Schools

This post will look at an educational institution’s organizational makeup and important ideas to consider when developing an organization or addressing the need to make changes.

Terms in Organizations

The organizational structure of a school is its approach to connecting ideas and people to complete tasks within the organization. The design of the organization involves the actual setup of the structure. For example, most schools have a principal at the head, vice principals, department heads, and teachers. For the sake of communication and discipline, this is a common structure that is employed.

However, the example above is an example of the formal organizational structure of an institution. With formal organization, everything is laid out in terms of relationships within a professional. Another form of organizational structure is the informal organization, which is the interpersonal relationships within an organization. For example, the principal might be close to the English department because he was an English teacher before going into administration, and one of his former students works in this department. The principal’s relationship is stronger in English than in other departments.


Organizational change involves the constant flux within an organization’s structure. People come and go, new roles are created, old roles are removed, etc. Occasionally institutions have to experience organizational development, which involves change management.

Traits to Consider

Educational institutions are often bureaucratic by nature. Despite this, several questions need to be addressed.

Degree of SPecialization

The degree of specialization is the level of expertise a person must demonstrate. For example, high schools generally of single-subject experts, whereas this is not always the case with elementary teachers who teach multiple subjects. Therefore, high schools emphasize specialization more than some elementary schools do.

Command and Control

Command and control refers to how teachers report to each other and the principal. It also involves how people work together to accomplish a task. For example, teachers often do not have to report to each other but do have to explain their actions to administrators and concerned parents.

Span of COntrol 

Span of control has to do with the breadth of responsibility a person has. Generally, as you go up a hierarchy, the span of control broadens. For example, teachers are responsible for their classroom, while principals are responsible for the entire school.


Centralization is an indication of who has decision-making within an institution. Highly centralized schools mean that a handful of people make all decisions, while a decentralized school is one in which decision-making power is spread among more people. This is one trait in which schools take a wide variety of positions. Many schools can be centralized, but some schools do not share this value.


Formalization is the level of strictness to the structure and responsibilities within institutions. The military is a highly rigid system that is heavily formalized. Schools tend to be much less formal as teachers often wear various hats at any moment. In addition, there are not many layers of hierarchy at the local school level, which helps to further encourage an informal preference.


There is no single structure that is best and works for all organizations. The point here is to make one aware of the ideas behind organizations to make changes to an organization or to develop a new one.


Juvenile Justice System for Teachers

The juvenile justice system has its origins dating back to the early 20th century in the US. There are several differences between how states deal with juveniles who commit crimes and adults who commit crimes. We will explore some of the reasons for these differences below and look at the major structures of the juvenile justice system. There are times in which teachers may have to deal with students who have had experiences with law enforcement. Therefore, educators need to be familiar.

Brain Development

A major difference between adults and juveniles is brain development. The mind of a teenager is still under construction, and this process may last into their late twenties. With the lack of reasoning skills and experience combined with a fully functional body, young people can sometimes make poor choices.

A major concern of law enforcement agencies focusing on youth is that young people do not get stuck in the system. For this reason, extra is taken to ensure a poor decision at 15 does not become a curse for the offender’s life.


One advantage to the lack of being fully developed mentally for youth offenders is that it is still easier to turn their lives around. A hardened criminal in his 30s is likelier to stay that way than a 15-year-old kid who did something stupid on a dare. Given their youth, it is easier to guide them in the right direction if proper intervention is taken.

Therefore, a young person’s lack of experience and maturity can be a blessing and a curse. In terms of pros, if a juvenile makes a mistake, it is easier to get their life back on track. However, in terms of cons, the lack of experience means they may not think things through before making a poor life-altering choice.

The System

If a child is accused of a crime, they must be provided with the following information

  • The charges against them
  • Fifth amendment rights
  • Right to a lawyer (for free if necessary)
  • Right to confront witnesses

All of the above are similar to the rights of adults. In addition, juveniles cannot be tried twice for the same crime.

The language used in the juvenile system is slightly different from the adult system. Below are some examples.

  • The word “guilty” or “convicted” is not used; instead, the word “responsible” is
  • There are no “indictments”; rather, the word “petition” is used
  • Juveniles do not plead guilty or not guilty instead, they admit or deny the petition
  • The phrase “found guilty” is not used; instead, the phrase “petition found true” is
  • There are no “trials”; instead, they are called “adjudication.”
  • Juveniles are not “sentenced”; instead, there is a “disposition.”

These terms are used to reduce the risk of the youth being labeled as a criminal. For teachers, these terms are somewhat confusing but it is important to understand them in order to communicate with law enforcement agents.

When a youth is arrested, they are taken to a detention center (jail) for youth offenders. It varies from state to state, but generally, there must be a hearing to determine if the youth needs to stay in the detention center or can go home within 48 hours of their arrival. During this time, the youth will have various forms completed and work with an intake officer who can make recommendations to the judge about what to do with the child. Often, suppose the offense is not serious, and the child is not a repeat offender. In that case, they will be released to their parents until the prosecutor decides whether to file a petition.

If the offense was small, a petition is never filed, which is an example of an informal way of handling the situation. The intake officer or a counselor will deal with the infraction through other means such as community service. Another option is a diversion program. Diversion programs are services offered to the child in place of going to a youth facility (juvenile prison). The goal is always to keep kids out of the system as much as possible. In all of these examples, the youth must admit the wrong they committed to avoid a formal petition.

If a petition is filed formally, the process is similar to an adult trial. If the youth is found responsible, there must be a disposition to determine the punishment. The youth could be placed in the youth facility, moved to foster care, or face various forms of psychological testing to determine what mental health interventions are needed. Lastly, probation is also offered in which a juvenile is supervised by a probation officer for a set period of time. If the juvenile breaks any probation expectations, they could face a warrant for their arrest.

If the offense a child commits is serious enough, they can be tried as an adult. Examples include murder, rape, kidnapping, and other serious offenses. Often multiple crimes are committed at once, pushing the offense into adult court. For example, a male commits kidnapping and rape against the same person. Generally, the minimum age for trying someone as an adult is 14.


When young people make mistakes, teachers need to be able to support them by making adjustments to the academic expectations when possible. Students on probation or facing a judge have much larger problems than they are facing in comparison to learning algebra or writing an essay. In addition, the teachers may need to work with the probation officers to provide evidence the youth is meeting the judge’s expectations.

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Goals Development for Administrators

A prior post began a discussion about strategic management for administrators. There are about six steps in this process, which are shared below.

  • Vision and mission
  • Strategic analysis
  • Goal development
  • Strategy development
  • Implementation strategies
  • Evaluation

The first two bullets were addressed previously. Now we will continue the discussion focusing on goal development.

Goals Development and Strategic Levels

Strategic goals are broad goals that involve the big-picture of the goals of the institution. Generally, these goals are performance-oriented. For example, a school may set a goal to boost academic performance among its students.

There are also different levels at which objectives can be set. This will vary from place to place, but an institution can have levels at the following as an example

  • Student-level
  • Class-level
  • Department-level
  • Grade-level
  • School-level
  • District-level
  • City-level
  • County-level
  • State-level
  • National-level

We will not go over all of these for the sack of time. A teacher may set goals for individual students, particularly those struggling. These can be behavioral, academic, or some other focus the teacher is working on with the student. For example, a teacher may set a goal with a student that the student will improve their math performance. This is vague enough to be a goal but also gives the student some to work on.


The idea above applies to all the other levels. The main difference is that the number of stakeholders increases, which necessitates that the goals become broader in nature as they try to encompass more people. In addition, different people are involved in setting goals at different levels. For example, teachers will probably set goals at the student, class, department, and grade level. Administrators will begin to set goals at the school level to the district level, and politicians and government bureaucrats will set goals at the city level and beyond.

One method for developing goals is the SMART framework. The SMART framework is an acronym that means

  • Specific-Goals should be understandable.
  • Measurable-There should be a way to tell if you are achieving them.
  • Achievable-It should be possible within the context to accomplish a goal.
  • Relevant-The goal should be relevant to the mission of the institution and, or to the level of strategy the goal is under
  • Time-Bound-There should be a limit on the time it takes to achieve a goal.

Whether or not a goal meets the criteria above is subjective, but an example of a smart goal is below.

The school will raise academic performance in reading comprehension on average by one grade level at the end of two years.

The goal above is specific, as you can tell what needs to be done. It is measurable because the metric is the average reading comprehension score. The score is achievable as students have plenty of time to improve. It is relevant to the mission of most schools, and the objective is time-bound as it states that this will take two years to complete.


Planning and strategy development is difficult to do. There are many moving parts, and it is hard to determine what needs to be achieved. However, a basic process can be adopted to guide the development of goals and for planning that can hopefully make this easier.

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Alternative Views on Criminology

Some views on dealing with crime are sometimes considered fringe by people. Two examples of this are left realism and peacemaking theory. In this post, we will take a look at each of these approaches to criminology.

Left Realists

Left realists disagree with how people who are more conservative than them on crime issues address and handle crime. Specific examples of what left realists disagree with are longer prison sentences for offenders and reducing social programs. In addition, left realists also disagree with people on the same side of the political spectrum in terms of seeing the problems in a Marxist’s critical criminology worldview.


Left realists agree that criminals should be held accountable for their actions. However, it is also important to recognize the oppression of society as found in the current government structure and economic forces. Furthermore, legal realists are concerned for the poor because they often live in high-crime neighborhoods and are thus more commonly found victims.

Left realists are pragmatists who do not see law enforcement as oppressors but still want to adhere to some of the ideas of social justice. For example, a left realist would encourage civilian oversight of the police. This includes the community in the workings of law enforcement without removing the presence of law enforcement in the community.

Peacemaking Theory

Peacemaking theory is based on the ideas of love and compassion as found in many different religions such as Christianity and Buddhism. Proponents of this theory believe that love and forgiveness are tools for overcoming crime in society.

For example, to lock someone behind bars for committing a crime, the system makes the same mistake as the prisoner. Instead of justice, society should try connecting with communities and working towards restoration. Violence causes violence is a core tenet of peacemaking theory.

Defining the police is an idea that is based on peacemaking theory. The idea is that since the police practice violence, it is actually causing violence. Therefore, if the police are defunded or eliminated, it will lead to a decline in criminal behavior, and everyone will be safe. That is also why such ideas as having unarmed community peace officers was encouraged as a form of reform because officers with guns cannot commit the same level of violent acts as armed officers.

One of the most common criticisms of peacemaking theory is that it is idealistic and naive. Generally, it takes a two-way relationship to encourage love. The problem is that criminals are often not loving and compassionate. The evidence for this is due to how they rob, steal, and kill their fellow man. Police officers seem to show much more compassion and love when they defend the powerless against criminal behavior.

Non-violent behavior is an excellent strategy in non-violent situations. However, suppose a criminal is a threat to society. In that case, the threat should more than likely be neutralized, if necessary, by violent means to show compassion and care to the innocent people who may suffer from the criminal’s behavior.


The ideas found here may be considered unusual, but this does not imply that they cannot be useful. What determines what is appropriate is the context and situation a person faces. There are times when compassion may reach a criminal, and there are also times when force is most appropriate. The real goal is to have options in the table so the system can choose what is best for that particular situation. No single-size approach or theory will work in every single situation because people are different.

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Critical Criminology

Critical criminology, is an umbrella term for theories related to crime that challenge traditional power structures. Without making sweeping generalizations, whenever the word critical is involved in discussing belief systems it normally implies a examining and attempt to breakdown societal structures.

Critical criminonolgy, as with almost all critical studies, is rooted in the writings of Karl Marx. Marx challenged that the working class should over through the owners of production. This idea of challenging the system has been expanded in many different directions such as Queer studies (challenging power structures concerning sexuality), critical race studies (challenging power structures concerning race), critical pedagogy (challenging to power structures within education), fat studies (challenging power structures concerning obesity), to even radical femnism (challenging power structures in relation to the role of women in society). What all these different critical studies have in common is that the haves use their power to control society around

Labeling Theory

Critical criminonlgy focuses on the power structure between the haves and haves not in relation to the justice system. For example, labeling theory suggest that people in power decide what is considered acceptable behavior in order to control others. An example that took place before labeling theory was developed but provides a strong illustration is prohibition. With one stroke of the pen, the government was able to suddenly make millions of criminals overnight. Bootleggers were deemed troubemakers and some faced consequences if caught.

When people are labeled criminals it can make them a criminal in a form of self-fulfiling prophecy. ONce labeled, a person may begin to commit more crimes because of there label and thus are rejecting the society that has labeled them a criminal. This is one reason why at the juvenile level the terms used for dealing with young people are different in the legal and there is often an effort to seal recorded so that the youth does not pick up a label that could be detrimental to their adult life

As fascinating as labeling theory is it is not without its critics. Critical theories in general have a cosnipritoral air to them. In other words, almost anybody who is a part of the system in a successful manner is looking to hold down and destroy minorities. THis is an oversimplification at the least. In all societies you will find people in privilege position who help and also harm minorities. IN addition, many of the laws on the books are laws that society agrees with such as laws against murder, rape, robbery, etc. Although a disproportionate group of people are arrested for these crimes it does not suggest that these laws were developed to arrest one race or class of people.

Critical Feminist THeory

Critical eminest theory holds the view that men oppress women and that men abuse their power to hold women down. From a crime perspective, women are frequently the victims of crime at the hands of men because of patriarchal norms in society. ONce women have equal access to jobs and education there will be a decline in violent crimes against women.

Some proponents of critical feminst theory also claim that the patriarchal system has held women back from committing crimes. The claim is that because women were trapped in the home with family they lacked the opportunity to comitt crime. In addition, men and women are socialized differently as children. Men are trained to be aggressive and domineering while women are often taught to be submissive. THis in part according to critical feminest are some fo the reasons why men commit why more crimes than women.

Whether this is reasonable or not there is evidence that as society achieves the equality that critical feminst desire there has been a corresponding rise in the crime rate of women. It is difficult to say if this is something that should be celebrated.


Critical studies is looking to explain the oppression found in sooeity through examining the difference in power that is found between group. In general, oppression is primarily caused by differences in power. Despite the fact that there has always been found differences in power in most societies throughout human history critical studies holds fast to this idea as the main cause of suffering in the world today. Within critical criminology the focus is placed upon the difference in power in relation to law and justice.

Critical criminology is an umbrella term for theories related to crime that challenge traditional power structures. Without making sweeping generalizations, whenever the word critical is involved in discussing belief systems, it normally implies an examination and attempts to break down societal structures.

Critical criminology, as with almost all critical studies, is rooted in the writings of Karl Marx. Marx challenged that the working class should overthrow the owners of production. This idea of challenging the system has been expanded in many different directions, such as Queer studies (challenging power structures concerning sexuality), critical race studies (challenging power structures concerning race), critical pedagogy (challenging power structures within education), fat studies (challenging power structures concerning obesity), to even radical feminism (challenging power structures concerning the role of women in society). All these different critical studies have in common that the haves use their power to control society.

Labeling Theory

Critical criminology focuses on the power structure between the haves and haves, not concerning the justice system. For example, labeling theory suggests that people in power decide what is considered acceptable behavior to control others. An example that took place before labeling theory was developed but provided a strong illustration is prohibition. With one stroke of the pen, the government suddenly made millions of criminals overnight. Bootleggers were deemed troublemakers, and some faced the consequences if caught.


When people are labeled criminals, it can make them a criminal in the form of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once labeled, a person may begin to commit more crimes because of their label and thus are rejecting the society that has labeled them a criminal. This is one reason why at the juvenile level, the terms used for dealing with young people are different from the legal, and there is often an effort to seal recorded so that the youth does not pick up a label that could be detrimental to their adult life.

As fascinating as labeling theory is, it is not without its critics. Critical theories, in general, have a conspiratorial air to them. In other words, almost anybody who successfully participates in the system is looking to hold down and destroy minorities. This is an oversimplification, at the least. In all societies, you will find people in privileged positions who help and also harm minorities. In addition, many of the laws on the books are ones that society agrees with, such as laws against murder, rape, robbery, etc. Although a disproportionate group of people is arrested for these crimes, it does not suggest that these laws were developed to arrest one race or class of people.

Critical Feminist THeory

Critical feminist theory holds the view that men oppress women and that men abuse their power to hold women down. From a crime perspective, women are frequently the victims of crime at the hands of men because of patriarchal norms in society. Once women have equal access to jobs and education, there will be a decline in violent crimes against women.

Some proponents of critical feminist theory also claim that the patriarchal system has held women back from committing crimes. The claim is that because women were trapped in the home with family, they lacked the opportunity to commit crime. In addition, men and women are socialized differently as children. Men are trained to be aggressive and domineering, while women are often taught to be submissive. This, in part, according to critical feminists, are some of the reasons why men commit why more crimes than women.

Whether this is reasonable or not, there is evidence that as society achieves the equality that critical feminists desire, there has been a corresponding rise in the crime rate of women. It is difficult to say if this is something that should be celebrated.


Critical studies look to explain the oppression found in society by examining the difference in power between groups. In general, oppression is primarily caused by differences in power. Even though there have always been differences in power in most societies throughout human history, critical studies hold fast to this idea as the main cause of suffering in the world today. Within critical criminology, the focus is placed on the difference in power concerning law and justice.

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Social Theories and Criminal Behavior

This post will look at various social theories that try to explain criminal behavior. In addition, when possible, we will tie these theories to the classroom context.

Differential Association Theory

Differential association theory states that children learn their values from close family and friends. Of course, this can be good or bad. If the family are law-abiding, productive members of society, the child may absorb these traits. However, if the child comes from a home of drugs and violence, they may absorb these norms of disruption.


Whether the behaviors the child absorbs are positive or negative, the child will make excuses or justifications for their adopted behaviors. For example, a drug-dealing child may justify their behavior because they are trying to make a little money, and it is not a big deal if people do drugs a little here and there. The straight-A student will justify their behavior by stating they have a chance at going to a good college and finding a good-paying job. IN other words, rationalization can be used to justify positive and negative behaviors.

Neutralization Theory

Developed in the 1950s, neutralization theory states that criminals go back and forth between criminal behavior and obeying the law. For example, a drug dealer may legally choose to buy food from the grocery store. IN other words, even though this person has no respect for law and order, he may choose to buy groceries legally. It may appear contradictory that a criminal would buy groceries legally when they are a drug dealer, but the catch is that neutralization theory states that crooks mistakenly believe they are normal members of society.

The neutralizing of this theory happens when the perpetrators of crime deny their criminal behavior in one of five ways.

  • Denies responsibility
  • Denies harm
  • Denies the Victim
  • condemns people of power
  • Appeals to a higher authority

Many of the bullets above are self-explanatory. Denying responsibility is claiming that whatever happened was an accident. For example, someone steals some money and says it wasn’t their fault. Denying harm is excusing criminal behavior because of a false perception it doesn’t hurt. For example, saying stealing a little bit is okay if it’s not too much. Denying the victim is rationalizing that the victim deserved what happened to them.

Condemning people of power is seeing all people of authority as corrupt. This neutralization technique has been popular in the media and protesting as of late to justify destructive behavior and emotional outbursts. Lastly, appealing to a higher authority is the claim that a person makes that they committed a crime for some greater good. For example, a man is stealing money from a company to help his family.

These are all excuses that students generally make when they break the rules and or classroom policies. They will deny responsibility, deny harm, deny the victim, attack the teacher, and blame friends.

Containment Theory

Containment theory states that external and internal pressures can lead a person towards crime or breaking the rules and containments that pressure an individual to not go in that direction. External pressures can include such things as friends and media, which have a negative influence on the individual. Internal pressures are often personality traits that are considered negative such as a lack of self-esteem.

Containments restrain negative behaviors and can be external or internal. External containment is essentially the opposite of external pressures and can include good friends, strong family, and positive media choices. Internal containments are also personality traits and can include strong self-esteem rather than weak.

Again the ideas of containment theory seem to mirror what happens in the classroom. Children with many negative external pressures and few containments will generally cause more disruption. Naturally, it is not this simple in the real world, but this theory provides a platform for trying to explain poor behavior.

Social Bond Theory

Social bonds are relationships that restrain someone from criminal behavior. This theory is similar to the containment theory, but nevertheless, it has four components

  • Attachment
  • Commitment
  • Involvement
  • Belief

People attached to a family, friends, and or institution, such as the church, have positive roles in their life that make it harder to commit crimes. Commitment is how invested a person is in society. People with something to lose will generally be less likely to commit crimes. For example, people who have good jobs and families will often commit fewer crimes than single unemployed ma. The difference is not just financial but the fact that the person with a good job has more to lose from criminal behavior.

Involvement is time spent in community development. Community involvement develops relationships, and these social relationships restrain criminal behavior. Lastly, beliefs are associated with attitude. Each of these components aligns well with students and their tendency to break the rules in the classroom.


Why people break laws and or rules will never be fully explained. People will always find ways to do what they want. The ideas presented here are just another way to explain unacceptable behavior. For the teacher, these theories can provide insights into students’ motivations for obeying the rules.

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The PESTEL model is an alternative risk assessment approach to the more famous SWOT analysis. IN this post, we will look at the application of the ideas of this model within the context of a school. PESTEL is an acronym that stands for

  • Political factors
  • Economic factors
  • Sociocultural factors
  • Technological factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Legal factors

Political Factors

Political factors can include local laws and ordinances that may impact an institution’s ability to function. Examples can include labor laws for faculty and staff, privacy laws, laws regarding children such as the number of days of study per year, etc. All of these legal concepts fall within the purview of political factors.


If a school is overseas, this can become more complicated. Now the school; has to deal with immigration laws and visas. The school must also address Language and customers as well as addressing the hiring and even the firing of local faculty and staff.

Economic Factors

Economic factors are related naturally to money. Schools, particularly private and tertiary schools, are affected heavily by the economy. Tuition-driven schools can be destroyed by an economic downturn. Government schools are often immune to this to a certain degree because of government support, but no institutions survive an economic downturn unscathed.

Other problems can include obtaining loans and buying things on credit for private institutions. Interest rates may change, and cash may not be available. Private schools may not receive an influx of cash except when tuition is paid several times yearly. This necessitates borrowing money in the short term to cover expenses until tuition for the next semester comes.

Sociocultural Factors

Sociocultural factors relate to awareness of local demographics and culture. How a school addresses upper-class kids will be different from how they help immigrant kids who do not speak English. In addition, like everything else, demographics and values change over time. If schools are not keeping track of this, the community around them will change while the school is holding on to ideas that worked in the past but are no longer appropriate now.

Schools usually keep track of local cultural needs as meeting needs is a main philosophical component of education today. However, it is still important to be aware of this aspect of an analysis.

Technological Factors

Technology changes at a speed that cannot be appreciated or understood. Everybody struggles with the latest improvements in technology. However, the challenges of technology are not only the speed. Sometimes the availability of technology can be a problem as well.

For example, there is an idea called the digital divide. The digital divide is the separation in terms of technology between various countries. Within education, what can be done can be limited in part by access to education.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors relate to such things as weather, energy, etc. Schools that provide transportation have to take into account the price of this. In addition, dormitory schools have to look at the cost of energy and water as students live on-campus. Environmental factors can also impact hiring. Suppose faculty and staff cannot find local housing because of environmental concerns. In that case, it can complicate things for the school.

Looking at the environmental factors can also include the appearance of the school. For example, no-gum rules are often put in place so that gum is not found all over campus, ruining the school and its appearance.

Legal Factors

Legal factors are similar and related to political factors and can overlap with economic factors. The real point here is to understand that the ideas in the PESTEL model overlap and indicates that the divisions discussed here are artificial. To make a clear report of the context a school is facing having categories like those presented by the PESTEL model is convenient.

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Strategic Management for School Administrators

Strategic management is focused on guiding an institution in developing a sense of purpose, directions, and ways of achieving various goals. All institutions need some form of strategic management, whether it involves developing this from scratch or modifying a pre-existing one. The process of strategic management is broken down into the bullets below.

  • Vision and mission
  • Strategic analysis
  • Objectives development
  • Strategy development
  • Implementation strategies
  • Evaluation

These bullets above are part of a strategy cycle, and as such, there is no true step 1. Institutions must go through each of these steps depending on where they are in the process. In addition, this process is similar to the process that schools go through to achieve and or maintain accreditation.

School Vision and Mission

Schools should have both a vision and a mission statement. The vision statement shares what the institution to achieve. What is missing from a vision statement are details on the strategy to achieve whatever the vision is. To simplify, a vision statement tries to explain why a school is in service or exists. Below is an example of a vision statement of a fictional school

To train students for tomorrow.

The vision above is vague but provides a general sense of direction for the school.

The mission statement provides details that are missing from the vision statement. The mission statement explains or provides how the vision statement will be achieved. IT’s still broad but not as broad as the vision statement. Below is an example that extended the fictional school’s vision statement above.

This school will provide students with interacting and engaging learning experiences that develop a child’s character’s social, emotional, and intellectual aspects.

The mission statement above provides hints as to how the vision will be achieved. Students will experience interactive and engaging experiences that develop their character. More details about what these experiences will be are provided in the objective stage of strategic management.

Strategic Analysis

The strategic analysis examines the external and internal environment that the school is experiencing. This could involve looking at the local community and potential sources for students for the external analysis. For the internal analysis, a school may collect statistics on faculty, staff, and students on various metrics. Common ways of completing this stage can involve a SWOT analysis, PESTEL, or Porter’s 5 forces.


This analysis aims to establish the context in which the school is functioning. For new schools, this provides insights into the community that the school may not be aware of. For older schools who are repeating this process, the strategic analysis helps the school to keep abreast of changing demographics and culture both within and outside of the institution.


The process explained here is incomplete and only covers two of several steps in strategic management. For now, the point is to understand the importance of developing a vision and mission and exploring the context in which a school works.

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Theories on Society’s Role in Crime

In this post, we will look at theories that attempt to explain the role of society in motivation for committing crime. These theories are some of the older foundational theories commonly found in an introductory text to the subject.

Social Disorganization Theory

Social disorganization theory was developed within the Chicago School of criminology in the 1920s. The major contributors were Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay. The main contribution of this theory was identifying the relationship between crime and the neighborhood. More crime will occur in neighborhoods with abandoned buildings, lousy schools, and high unemployment.

When schools are poor and buildings are abandoned, the families with the means will leave. The danger of families leaving the neighborhood is that it weakens social ties within the community, which can limit crime. In other words, when there is a physical decline in the neighborhood, there is a corresponding social decline in the neighborhood.


Social disorganization theory is still influential in policy-making today. For example, gentrification is an attempt to revive rundown neighborhoods. Although this practice is highly controversial, it is an attempt to organize an area considered disorganized by some.

Anomie Theory

Robert Merton developed Anomie theory in 1938. This theory states that there is a difference between what a person wants and what they can achieve. This difference is anomie or a strain on the person. When people fail to achieve what they want by proper means, they will turn to crime to achieve these things instead.

The dilemma, according to Merton, is that society imposes an expectation of material wealth on people. To compound this problem, only certain maneuvers are approved for an individual to make money. For example, we have all heard the story of going to college, getting a good job, working hard for 35 years, and retiring. For some people, this route does not work, and thus they look for shortcuts to achieve what they want.

Examining the life of many criminals proves Merton’s theory. The person who grows up poor has few opportunities to get ahead the traditional way and thus turns to crime. Obviously, the person wasn’t stupid because building a drug cartel is not easy. However, Merton’s theory breaks down when one realizes that despite crime being higher among the poor, the typical poor person does not commit crimes. Therefore, like most theories, Merton’s theory does not explain all criminal behavior.

Anomie theory can also be applied to social classes beyond the poor. For example, many white-collar crimes are committed by people already considered successful financially. The problems these people thought they had was that they needed even more money for an even more lavish lifestyle or perhaps for the challenge of acquiring wealth.

Sometimes strains can be external. For example, parents lose their jobs, pushing them and their children into crime. Drugs and alcohol can also introduce strains into a situation, pushing people into making poor choices. Another application of anomie theory is the role of certain social institutions. For example, religious practice has been found to help people to focus on other things besides wealth. If the local church has lost its influence, it may no longer serve as a conduit to encourage people to think beyond money.


Crime has and will always be a problem. THeories will try to explain crime, but no single theory can explain every motivation for crime. What this means is that there is no single answer for preventing crime. Therefore, a multitude of theories with a multitude of solutions may be a necessary approach to addressing this issue

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Theories on Crime and Student Misbehavior

In this post, we will look at on theory used in criminal justice to explain criminal behavior. However, we will also see how this theory applies in the classroom context. However, first, we will look at ta foundational theory related to this topic called Classical Theory.

Classical Theory

The ideas of classical theory were formed in part by Cesare Beccaria in his 1764 essay On Crimes and Punishments. In this essay, Beccaria makes several arguments against how criminal justice took place in the 18th century. At that time, a judgment could be arbitrary, was not done fairly by class, and had harsh punishments for various minor crimes.


This criticism supported banning torture, clearly delineating laws, and educating the public about those laws. The additional influence of this movement is the development of the US Constitution’s 8th amendment, which bans cruel and unusual punishment. To make this as simple as possible classical theory calls for punishments that fit the crime. How this applies varies, but it is a core principle. In addition, this idea has been discussed in classroom management. Teachers have to ensure that students’ discipline is not excessive or too weak.

Rational Choice Theory

Rational theory posits that criminals think about their actions and weigh the pros and cons of their decisions. This does not suggest that the criminal makes the best decision, but it does imply a thought process and thus allows for people should be held responsible for the results of this process.

Like any other theory, rational choice explains criminal behavior sometimes. Some criminals think things through before committing a crime, while others have no plan or thought behind their actions. This is true, especially in situations involving drugs and alcohol and domestic disputes, which are often dangerous. In addition, we have all had to weigh whether doing something questionable is okay. Another name for this experience is called temptation.

In the classroom, students always make choices involving a thought process and/or their emotions. Often for kids, the question is whether o, not they can get away with the behavior. Students will often play games of probability, rolling the dice to see if they can get away with breaking the rules. However, due to their inexperience, they often miscalculate or, in some cases, they really don’t care what will happen if they are wrong.

Crime Detterants and Rational Choice

For people in the criminal justice field and teachers in the classroom, supporters of rational choice theory believe that harsh punishments deter crime or poor behavior. Both teachers and criminal justice professionals can rely on the disappointment of family and friends and a general sense of right and wrong when they appeal to students committing crimes. Such arguments are examples that come from a position of rational choice.

Another application of rational choice theory is harsh punishments. The thinking goes that if the punishment is cruel enough, thinking people will choose to not break the law or violate the rule in the case of the students. However, people still commit horrific crimes despite being fully aware of the consequences. This idea does not always work, but it sometimes does.


People will make bad choices throughout their life the question why? Classical theory and rational choice theory show humans as thinking, rational animals. This is not incorrect but is also not the full answer. Therefore, it’s important to continue exploring this phenomenon to benefit those affected by crime or poor student behavior.

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Cultural Intelligence

Today people live in a multi-cultural environment which necessitates the ability to understand people who are different but also be able to adjust one’s approach in the classroom. These skills are even more needed if a teacher moves into a different cultural context, such as working overseas. In this post, we will look at cultural intelligence and some of the teaching and training approaches available for educators who may choose to work overseas.

Cultural Intelligence

Cultural intelligence measures an individual’s ability to perform in diverse cultural settings. Someone with high cultural intelligence can function well and with little difficulty in a culture that is foreign to them. This concept is broken down into four dimensions which are cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, and behavioral.


The cognitive dimension measures an individual’s knowledge of the new culture they are experiencing. The metacognitive dimension measures a person’s ability to use their cross-cultural knowledge to understand and adjust to the new cultural environment. The Motivational dimensions assess the desire to continuously learn about the new culture. Lastly, the behavioral dimension is a person’s ability to practice culturally appropriate actions.

Preparing for a New Culture

There are several commonly used approaches to preparing employees, such as teachers, for overseas cultural experiences. For example, low-rigor training exposes a teacher to critical information to understand the basics of the new culture before experiencing it. An example of low rigor training would include reading books on the culture, lectures, or taking a course in managing foreign students. Most of the approaches at this level are passive in nature.

High rigor training is cultural training in which the participants are actively involved. Examples of this form of training include language classes, case studies, and on-the-job training that takes place after leaving home. Such an approach allows the teacher to experience the culture and learn how to function in the new context.

The timing of training also matters, and this can take place before arriving in the new culture or after arriving in the new culture. In general, the longer a person plans to be overseas, the more training the will need to succeed. If the trip is only for a month, there will not be a huge need for extensive high rigor training because of the short duration of the trip. However, if teachers are overseas for years, they will require more support to adjust to the new culture.

Another factor to consider is how different the culture is from the one a teacher is coming from. For example, a US citizen going to Canada or Mexico will need much less support than a US citizen moving to China. This is because Mexico and Canada have much more in common with the US than with China. However, there are a lot of factors left out of this example, such as the ethnicity of the person who is moving and their prior experience with other cultures.


Having the opportunity to work in another country or culture is always an exciting opportunity. However, it doesn’t take much to fail if one is not prepared. Having an idea of how to function in the new culture through developing one’s cultural intelligence is beneficial for the teacher and the students under their care.

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Factors Leading to Crime

Studies of the demographics of convicted criminals have led to several insights into traits that put a person at a higher risk of committing crimes. IN this post, we will look at various demographic traits that put a young person at risk of committing crimes.


Young adults ages 18-21 are leaders statistically in acts of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Since people have a tendency to commit crimes against peers, teenagers and Young adults are victims of crimes at a disproportionate rate. People ages 12-24 make up 22% of the population yet commit 35% of the murders and 49% of all victims of serious violent crimes. In other words, not only are young people generally more dangerous, but they are also at a higher risk of suffering from a violent crime.


There has been speculation as to why young people are more prone to criminal behavior. Among some of the ideas are the lack of experience and the inability to weigh the consequences of poor choices. In addition, young people often have the freedom of adulthood without the corresponding responsibilities such as career and family. Lastly, given their inexperience, young adults are still determining their own limits and the limits of the society in which they live.


When it comes to crime, men are the primary perpetrators. For example, 74% of all arrests were men in 2019. The only crime in which women outperform men in terms of arrest is prostitution, in which 67% of the arrest are women while 33% are men. The only category in which there is any balance in terms of arrest are several white-collar crimes such as fraud (60% men vs. 40% female) and embezzlement (51% male vs. 49% female).

The reason for this difference is not clear. Traditionally, men have been more physically aggressive and less risk-averse than women. In addition, there are known hormonal differences between men and women as well when examining things such as testosterone and estrogen. For students, this implies that a young person is likelier to be without a father than a mother. This can have consequences regarding behavior and a general need for attention.


An individual’s economic situation is yet another factor in criminal behavior. About 76% of men and 85% of women in prison made less than $38000 per year before being sent to prison. Anything below $32000 is considered poor. Keep in mind that it is difficult to track the income of criminals and that the cutoff is being pulled to the right by the occasional drug kingpin and white-collar crook.

The poor are also victims of crime at a higher rate, with about 63% of violent crimes being perpetrated against poor and low-income people. A tanking economy and job loss can sometimes motivate undesirable behavior that could also have legal ramifications for people. This is important because adult criminals often have children who go through the school system without parental support.


Race is another controversial factor in terms of criminal behavior. Among juveniles, blacks comprise 34% of all arrests. Half of all violent crimes are committed by blacks, even though blacks make up about 12% of the population.

Many contests such numbers and blame such behavior as racial profiling by the police. However, explaining any behavior or number with one factor is never simple or easy. AS such, it is not completely clear why there is such a disparity in criminal behavior based on race. Relating this to students may imply that students of color may need more assistance from teachers as they are more likely to have committed or know somebody who has committed a crime.


High school dropouts are ten times more likely to go to prison when compared to college grads. Furthermore, states with higher levels of educational attainment have corresponding lower levels of crime. Generally, more education implies better jobs for people.

For students, opening their eyes to the benefits of education can keep them off the streets. In addition, some young people may be at a higher risk if they come from a home that does not value education.


Lastly, religion plays a role in preventing crime. Adolescents who attend a religious service weekly have lower rates of shoplifting, assault, and theft when compared to students who never attend a religious service. With religious activity comes a decrease in criminal activity.

One theory behind this is the hellfire hypothesis which implies that people avoid various criminal activities for fear of angering whatever higher power they follow. IT should also be noted that many religions discourage criminal behavior while encouraging respect for local authorities.


The traits shared here are not self-fulfilling prophecies. Young people do not have to commit crimes, nor do men or people who did not attend college. On the other hand, being older, female, or religious does not mean that a person is not capable of breaking the law. Trends found in data are different from individual choice.

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Juveniles and Property Crimes

Property crimes are a common form of delinquency among young people. Theft, in general, leads to over 80,000 arrests each year. Theft can cover many crimes such as car stealing or taking items from another person’s home. In this post, we will examine some common ways young people are involved in property crimes.


Shoplifting is a common crime among youth but not as common as one would think. Approximately 25% of all shoplifters are juveniles, meaning most shoplifters are not children. However, about 47% of high school students have admitted to shoplifting something within the past year. This implies that juveniles are not caught at the same rate at which they steal and that juveniles are better at getting away with shoplifting than adults. Shoplifters are rarely caught, with only 5-10% being apprehended.


When people, including juveniles, are caught shoplifting, they often share such excuses as “it was an accident” or “the item is actually mine.” Of course, this doesn’t work, and now the youth is facing some consequences. Usually, the punishment is not that serious. In some states, small-time shoplifting is not enforced. In other states, the penalty can be a fine and or time spent in jail.

Auto Theft

Stealing cars is another common property theft crime for youths. In 2019, about 13,000 juveniles were arrested for auto theft. Juvenile often steals cars for rather superficial reasons. For example, it is common for young people to steal cars for the adrenaline rush of committing a crime. Another common reason is just for a joy ride. In other words, young people often steal cars for fun.

This is not to say that there is never a financial motivation for stealing cars. Adults often steal cars for momentary gain through selling the car and or the parts that make up the car. For whatever reason, the penalties for auto theft can range from up to two years in prison and or up to $10,000 in fines.


In 2019, 31,000 juveniles committed vandalism. Unlike the other examples of property crimes mentioned earlier, there appears to be no financial motivation for committing vandalism. Youths often vandalize property to express themselves, boredom, as a form of expression, and to join a gang or peer pressure.

Vandalism can lead to fines and or up to one year in jail. Vandalism can be classified as a felony if the act is serious enough.

General causes of property crime

The root causes of property crime are often the same as the root cause of most problems. Family issues are one of the main factors for crime. Youths from broken homes are missing the care and attention they need to make wise choices.

Another common cause of property crime is drug use. For example, a young person may turn to theft to fund a drug habit. In either case, there are motivating factors for the poor decision-making of many youth offenders.


Property crimes are one of many crimes that plague society today. People have their motivation for doing this even if committing propriety crimes is not the best decision. The unfortunate consequences can and do, at times, complicate a person’s life going forward.

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Causes of Youth Violence

It is not a secret that sometimes youths make poor decisions, leading to them committing acts of violence. According to the CDC, acts of violence committed by youth cost over $100 billion annually. One example of violence committed by youth is simple assault which makes up over 40% of crimes committed by juveniles. Other crimes committed by young people include larceny, aggravated assault, vandalism, robbery, motor vehicle theft, and homicide. Given the nature of these crimes, we will look at some of the causes of youth violence.


A major factor in youth violence is drugs. Approximately 80% of minors in the juvenile justice system in the US committed their crime while under the influence of drugs or admitted to having a drug problem. In addition, between 1.9 and 2.4 million minors in the juvenile justice system have a drug problem.

Experts call this relationship between drugs and crime a psychopharmacological relationship because drug use was a factor in criminal behavior. Other crimes associated with drugs include:

  • The manufacturing of drugs.
  • Theft of drugs.
  • Scams.
  • Disputes over drugs.
  • The use of illegal drugs.

Among the legal charges, a youth can face from drugs includes drug possession, drug trafficking, and drug manufacturing. If they remain on a young person’s record, any of these charges can have long-term implications for education and job opportunities in the future. This all assumes that a juvenile does not lose their life from an overdose or experience related to drug behavior.

Family problems

Problems within the family can also lead to youth violence. Today, many homes no longer fit a traditional pattern of married biological parents supporting children. In addition, sexual abuse to about 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls in the USA. Furthermore, 90% of the victims experience this trauma at the hand of someone they knew.


The signs of sexual abuse are difficult to tell among teenagers as they vary wildly at this age. However, some things to look for are changes in behavior and emotions. The trauma they have experienced in their personal life could lead to poor choices in behavior outside of the home.

Single-parent homes can also lead to poor choices. For example, one study found that a 10 percent rise in the number of youths living in a single-parent home leads to a 17 percent jump in crime caused by juveniles. In general, as the family breakdown, there is an increase in the crimes committed by young people.

Mental Health

Mental health is another factor in criminal behavior among young people. About 65% of juveniles arrested for a crime have a mental health issue. About 1 in 7 of all young people, in general, have a mental health issue. Given the impulsive nature of teenagers, it should be no surprise how mental health issues can make things even worst.

Of course, the concepts influence each other. Drug abuse can lead to mental health issues, and mental health issues can lead to drug use. Crime can lead to drug use and or mental health issues and vice versa. Sexual abuse can lead to drug use and or health issues. These ideas are interconnected, but you have to decide what you are looking for when developing a model.


Young people face many challenges today. From broken homes to threats to their physical being to challenges with mental health, young people have to be vigilant. If a youth goes down the path of violence, it is always important to see what factors lead to such a faithful decision.

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Juveniles & Homicide

Homicide is the blanket term for the taking of life and encompasses both murder and manslaughter. Murder is, unfortunately, a crime that young people commit and is the taking of another person’s life with preplanned malice. In other words, murder is when a person plans to take another person’s life and successfully does it. IN contrast, manslaughter is taking a person’s life with no original intention of doing this.


Though it varies by state, murder can be broken down into first, and second-degree murder with capital and felony murder variants. First-degree murder is the intentional killing of another person. An example of this would be gang members eliminating an enemy.


Second-degree murder is the unplanned death of another person in which the perpetrator shows little or no regard for life. For example, shooting a gun into a crowd that causes death could be considered second-degree in many places, even if on accident. Felony murder is death that occurs when committing another felony, such as robbing a bank. The thief may not have planned to kill anybody, but there are consequences for this if it happens.

Lastly, capital murder is murder that can lead the murderer to lose their own life at the hand of the state and thus involves the death penalty. Examples of capital murder could be multiple murders at once, murder of a child, or murder of a law enforcement agent.

The penalties for juveniles who commit first-degree murder can go to life in prison without parole, but the death penalty cannot be imposed in many states. For second-degree murder, the penalty can be 15 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole.


Manslaughter is the accidental loss of life. The person who took life did not intend to do this. Drunk driving is a common reason for manslaughter to happen. In some places, manslaughter and second-degree murder are the same. Many of the same penalties may apply.

Negligent homicide involves a person who needed to be aware of the danger they were in but did not know this, and there was a loss of life. For example, a person driving drunk and who doesn’t run red lights or speed could still be found guilty of negligent homicide if someone dies while they are driving.


Among juveniles in 2019, about 900 homicides were committed. The most common age at which juveniles commit homicide is the age of 16 & 17. To put this into perspective, juveniles committed almost 700,000 crimes. We don’t want to make light of this, but homicide among youths is highly uncommon if these statistics are correct.


Homicide brings a lot of pain into the world today, unlike other crimes, such as theft, where the guilty party can restore what was lost. Homicide means the loss of a life that can never be repaid no matter what true remorse the guilty party shows. Therefore, respecting life is something that young people must learn so that they will not intentionally or unintentionally take life.

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Measuring Crime

A specific field in which statistics is used is the field of crime. IN this post, we will look at how researchers attempt to measure crime. Primarily we will look at issues with data collection and one of the main agencies for consolidating data regarding crime.

Data Collection

A major challenge in measuring crime is that not all crimes are reported. It is common for rape victims to avoid reporting what happened to them. Criminals are also usually reluctant to report crimes that happen to them. Petty and property crimes are also underreported. As such, the collected data does not fully represent crime in the actual world.


One source for criminal statistics is the Uniform Crime Report (UCR). Compiled by the FBI since 1930, the UCR gathers data from over 90% of all of the various police agencies in the USA. This report contains data from Part 1 crimes, which are generally serious crimes, including some of the following.

  • Murder, manslaughter
  • Forcible rape
  • Robbery, burglary
  • Arson
  • Various forms of theft (larceny, motor vehicle)
  • Gambling

Another hurdle to crime reporting to the UCR is that each agency must report the most single crime for each instance of criminal activity. For example, if multiple crimes are committed by one person in one instance, only the most serious offense is reported.

Arrests are also reported to the UCR. Collecting data on arrests helps agencies calculate a clearance rate and the percentage of crimes that lead to an arrest.

There can also be issues after a criminal is caught and does time. FOr example, in one county, a juvenile may commit a crime and get probation, but in another county, they may have to do time behind bars. This is partly due to various philosophies of judges and probation officers in dealing with crime. This makes a difference in criminal punishment based on philosophy rather than something less subjective.

Consumers of Crime Statistics

Policymakers often use the collection of criminal statistics to determine various laws and funding they want to provide to law enforcement agencies. One common problem is that consumers of crime statistics are not aware of the context in which the data is collected, leading to faulty conclusions.

For example, back in the 1990s, there was a dip in criminal behavior. A group of experts concluded that this dip in criminal behavior was due to changes in access to birth control in the 1970s. The thinking went that the birth of unwanted children in the 1970s prevented the birth of criminals who would have been terrorizing society in the 1990s.

The example above may be considered an extreme example, but this can happen when people place their interpretation on data without having a deeper understanding of how that data was collected. Given that crime statistics are not 100% reliable, strong conclusions should be guarded.


Despite these challenges, data on crime is needed. What is really important is that people avoid jumping to strong conclusions based on data known to have issues. Some insight into criminal behavior is better than none, but care and restraint are needed in the conclusions.

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Leadership Preferences and the Classroom

Dorfman et al. did a study back in 2004 in which they looked at how people from different cultures rated leadership. The team broke leadership down into six components listed below.

  • Charismatic-The ability to motivate and inspire others.
  • Team orientation-The ability to develop a highly functioning team.
  • Participative-The ability to get others included in the decision-making.
  • Humane-oriented-The ability to show empathy and compassion,
  • Autonomous-The ability to be independent and reflect this to the team
  • Self-protective-The tendency of the leader to use face-saving approaches

Naturally, different countries identified differently with each of these components. For example, Asian countries considered self-protective skills highly important, while participation wasn’t as important. Western English-speaking countries were the opposite. The point is not to dwell on the details of the research but to point out that if countries have various skills they find important in leaders, it is not unreasonable that students at an individual level are going to want specific skills in teachers who are leaders of classrooms.


For the teacher, some students are going to want a charismatic teacher, while other students may want a teacher who is human-oriented. The teacher may naturally tend to emphasize autonomy in their leadership approach. The point is not to condemn one approach over the other but rather that the teacher must be aware of what the students are looking for in a teacher while also being aware of their own natural tendency as a teacher.

Suppose a teacher tends to be participative in their approach, but this is not working with students. In that case, a teacher needs to look for ways to overcome this situation. Perhaps a more authoritative approach is appropriate in particular situations. This often goes against what one is taught when becoming a teacher, but the most important tenet of education is helping students to be successful. Helping students be successful may involve ignoring other tenets of education, such as developing a participative classroom environment.

Traits and Behaviors of Leaders

Den Hertog et al. did a study in 1999 looking for traits and behaviors that people admire in leaders and people in general. The positive traits are listed below.

  • trustworthy, smart, honest, planning, encouraging, positive, dynamic motivator, confidence builder, dependable, decisive, bargained, problem solver, administrator, communicator, informed, team builder

These traits mean that if people see them in an individual, such as a person who is in authority, they will admire these traits in that person. The study was worldwide, so these are traits that may be universal. What is also important to point out is these are traits that students like to see in teachers. Students want a teacher they can trust, who solves problems, is positive, and can plan, among other things. If such traits are missing, the students may conclude that the teacher is bad.

On the flip side, these traits listed above are traits teachers like to see in their students. Many teachers would love to have students who are dependable, honest, informed, etc. When students lack these traits, many teachers can identify them as bad students. Teachers need to develop these positive traits to inspire students who may lack these traits while also being able to meet the definition of a good teacher.

In the study, there was also a list of negative traits are listed below

  • loner, antisocial, uncooperative, egocentric, ruthless, dictatorial, inexplicit

For students and teachers, the list above are traits to avoid. Teachers who are dictatorial and unclear (inexplicit) will be seen as bad teachers. Students who are loners, antisocial, and uncooperative will be viewed as bad students. The benefit of this list is that it allows a teacher to clearly articulate and define desirable and undesirable traits in a student. This also applies to administrators who are assessing teachers and teachers trying to explain the quality of leadership they are under.


Everybody is going to possess good and bad traits in different combinations. The point is not to criticize the weaknesses we all possess in our characters. Rather it is better to be aware of one’s weaknesses to make adjustments to help those who are around them.

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Crime Types and Students

Young people sometimes make mistakes and violate the laws of a country. Natural, this leads to consequences that vary based on the transgression. This post will look at various categories and types of laws.

Categories of Criminal Behavior

There are two broad categories where we can place crimes that young people commit. These categories are

  • Mala in see
  • Malum in prohibitum

Mala in se is Latin for “wrong by itself,” and these are crimes that people instinctively know are wrong. Examples are robbery, murder, and other acts viewed as heinous. However, people’s views on morality vary widely. Therefore, one basis for what is considered “instinctively wrong” is English and US Common Law.


Common law was developed through decisions made in the court system over hundreds of years. The opinions of judges became precedent for future decisions. Through this process, an idea of what and wrong has been developed, which is used now to determine when crimes fall in the category of mala in se.

The second category of crimes is malum in prohibitum, which translates from the Latin as “wrong when prohibited.” These crimes are not necessarily morally evil but are actions that need to be regulated. Examples of laws that fall within malum in prohibitum include laws related to various licenses people may need (driving, fishing, hunting, etc.), gambling, alcohol, and drug use. Again, many may disagree if these crimes are less harmful, but this is the example given.

Students have and will commit both categories of crime in the examples above. Students will willfully commit crimes obviously while also breaking laws that regulate less offensive behavior.

Types of Laws

After categories, laws are sometimes classified by type. Civil laws include property laws, contract laws, tort laws, and more. Civil laws often involve private parties, do not include the loss of freedom for the defendant, involve the defendant paying money if they lose in many situations, and do not have the same constitutional protections found in criminal cases.

On the other hand, criminal cases usually involve the government bringing formal charges against someone. There is a risk of the defendant losing their from if they lose, and the defendant has certain constitutional rights protecting them. Criminal law also requires actions and behaviors. In other words, the accused must be accused of doing something and not just thinking about it. For example, suppose a person sneezes while driving and someone is hurt in the accident. In that case, there is a chance that the sneezer will not be guilty of a crime because it is impossible to control when you sneeze.

Quality of Mind

The state of mind is also another significant factor in determining an individual’s guilt. There are four ways a person can commit a crime: intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, and negligently. AN intentional act means somebody committed a crime on purpose. Knowingly is obvious and states that a person was aware that what they were doing was a crime, such as breaking into a house and making jewelry.

Recklessness involves a person acting in such a way that is an obvious danger and a disregard for acceptable standards. For example, many people define driving 100 mph in a school zone as reckless. Lastly, negligence is when someone ignores an obvious danger when performing a certain activity, such as driving 100 mph and then hitting and killing someone.

Young people can be found in any state of mind mentioned above. Youths can be international, or they can be reckless or negligent, etc. We all make mistakes, but the stakes are much higher at the criminal level.


Young people will continue to make decisions that strongly impact their lives. Committing crimes is one thing that can have a lasting impact. Youths and teachers need to work together for the young people to develop decision-making skills that will allow them to avoid criminal acts.

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Three Cueing Reading Method

The Three Cue method is a long-established yet increasingly controversial approach to teaching reading. We will look at the background and philosophy of this reading method in this post.

According to Ken Goodman, there are three cues people use to read, and they are listed below

  • Graphic cues: Examining the letters to determine the word
  • Syntactic cues: Guessing what kind of word it might be, such as an adjective or verb
  • Semantic cues: Guessing the word based on the context or what makes sense.

Goodman also made some conclusions based on his observational research of children learning to read.

  • Reading is not about precision but accurate first guesses
  • as the child improves in their reading, they use fewer graphic cues
  • Detailed perception of letters and words is not necessary


Before Goodman’s bombshell in the 1960s, reading was taught one of two ways. The whole word approach relied on repetition and the use of pictures. A classical example of this approach to teaching reading is the”Dick and Jane” reading series from the 1930s. The assumption is that if a child sees a word often enough, they will learn how to read it.


The other major way of teaching reading has been the phonics approach, which involves learning the sounds associated with letters. One example of this approach is the McGuffey readers of the 1800s

Goodman’s Approach

Goodman took a different approach compared to whole words and phonics. If a student is struggling with reading, the teacher can have the child think (guess) a word that would work in a sentence they are struggling with. For example, suppose a student sees the word “horse” and uses the word “pony” instead. In that case, this is considered acceptable when employing this method. Even though the child never learned how to read the word “horse.”

This approach to reading allowed students to guess their way through a text. If students had an intuitive sense of what works, they could look like they were reading without developing the needed comprehension. This happens because they are not processing words, but rather, they are processing their guesses about words. With time, criticism began to arise towards the THree Cue method.


By the 1970s, people were already beginning to find that Goodman’s method was as great as believed. REsearch at this time was finding that skilled readers could recognize words without relying on the context. Students were able to read without looking at the words! In other words, students were making up their own story guessing their way through a text without mastery.

Students would skip the arduous process of sounding out words to guess. These habits would become bad habits, and children would struggle with reading for a long time and, in some cases, would never really master it. In addition, some students learn to read no matter how they are taught. In other words, no single system can claim to be the answer all the time for learning to read.

Despite this evidence, the Three Cueing Method was highly popular. Most teachers are familiar with this method and maybe learned to read this way. The problem is not Goodman’s method. Rather the problem is relying exclusively on one method to teach anything. Different students learn in different ways, and there will always be a place where Goodman’s ideas will benefit someone.

Phonics does not work for every student, nor does the whole word. It is naive to think that Goodman’s way is the only way. A balanced approach that incorporates various reading methods is one way to reach students. After a teacher gets a sense of what works best for their students, they can focus on one particular approach and occasionally use other strategies to develop weaknesses in students.


When the flaws in a theory are pointed out, it is always tempting to throw them out. However, there is probably always a context or situation in which a theory will work. Goodman’s three cue method doesn’t work all the time. Yet there is evidence that this approach has helped for some of the time.

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Why Students Break Rules

Sometimes bad students become criminals. The warning signs are there, and teachers may do their best to try and prevent something like this from happening. However, kids will still make poor choices no matter what others do to prevent this.

In this post, we will look at why criminals commit crimes and try and compare this to why students break the rules.

Rational Choice Theory

Rational choice theory states that criminals break the rules because it makes sense to them and is reasonable. The criteria for this decision are the risk-reward prospects. Suppose the punishment is not significant or highly unlikely to get caught. In that case, a person inspired by rational choice might think the risk is worth it when breaking laws. Therefore, to eliminate criminal behavior, society needs to have punishments that are strong enough and common enough to deter criminal behavior.


Few people are quite this logical in their decision-making, which applies even more to children. Students may make rational decisions to break the rules, but their behavior is generally more focused on random resistance than strategic anarchy. However, just as with adult criminals, poor behavior will be less likely to happen if there is a sufficient presence of harsh detergents.

Social Disorganization Theory

Social disorganization theory proposes that the makeup of a neighborhood is associated with the level of crime in the neighborhood. Therefore, areas with high levels of dysfunction in broken families, unemployment, drug use, etc., will also be areas of higher crime rates. Therefore, reducing crime is as simple as finding ways to revitalize communities.

This theory seems to align with ideas in teaching strongly. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds often exhibit more behavioral problems in the classroom. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs touches on these ideas as lower-level needs are often neglected in dysfunctional situations. Therefore, supporting students’ basic needs may help alleviate aberrant behavior from difficult students.

Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory states that lawbreakers learn to break laws from other lawbreakers. A criminal’s peer group and family are among the most powerful influences in the individual’s tendency to break the law. Reducing crime is as simple as removing kids from negative influences.

Social learning theory is also found in education. The theory has the same position as found among criminologists in that individuals learn from those around them. Therefore, if a student likes to hang out with the “wrong crowd,” they will accept and learn the behavior of those people.


Anyone who has made a theory in the social sciences will tell you that no theory adequately explains everything. Human beings are unpredictable and erratic in their behavior. As such, multiple theories are developed to provide insights into different situations. There are times when multiple theories can help or when one theory is the most appropriate insight into developing interventions to help wayward students. Therefore, condemning any of the approaches mentioned here would not benefit all the different types of people with different problems.

landscape photography of mountains covered in snow

Theories on Geological Time & Origins

Uniformitarianism is an ideal proposed by Charles Lyell (1797-1875) that the events of the past can be explained by the processes of the present and that these processes have been constant. This position for explaining earth is also known as Lyellism.

This post will look at theories that will try to support the position of uniformitarianism in explaining the origins of the earth within the context of a religious worldview.

Local Flood Theory

The local flood theory states that instead of a worldwide flood that destroyed all land life, there was a local flood that seemed to destroy the whole world. Given that the average person only knew their local context, it seems reasonable that when a flood came that destroyed their place of living, this was the destruction of the whole world.

The local flood theory is one of the more famous theories. However, another theory may share equal prominence, and that is the Gap Theory.

Gap Theory

Gap theory claims that there were long intervals of time in the creation story as found in the creation story of the Bible. Instead of seven literal days as claimed in the Book of Genesis, these days were long periods of time.

Gap theory has been a popular approach to reconciling religious views on the origin of the earth with scientific views.

A similar idea is the day/age theory which states that it was not a general gap in time but rather that the days of creation were indeterminate lengths of time used for the development of the earth. There is no currently known way to very these ideas. The real purpose was to try and reconcile secular theology with religious thought.

Less Popular Theories

Diluvium theory states that a deposit of sediment was associated with the Pleistocene era. The layer of sediment found here was named Diluvium and thus the name of the theory. This was yet another attempt to try and place geology within the context of a religious worldview.

Another lesser theory is the Tranquil Theory. This theory states that the Biblical Flood slowly rose to cover the earth and slowly resided. The gradual manner of this flood is in contrast to how floods generally behave but does explain the worldwide sediment layer.


The point here was not to support any of these theories presented here. Instead, the point was just to show how people have tried to connect religious thoughts on the changes of this world with scientific evidence.

interior of jail

The Classroom and Juveniles

There are times when a student’s behavior is beyond what the school can handle. When this happens, it is time to escalate the intervention of the student to another level of administrative support. One example of this is when students commit crimes that necessitate the involvement of law enforcement, THis is when a student goes from being disruptive and perhaps troublemakers to being a juvenile delinquent. In this post, we will look at some common terms associated with law enforcement and terms uniquely associated with the juvenile justice system.


A crime is an illegal activity that leads to a student losing their freedom. Illegal activity is defined by lawmakers who pass bills at the federal or state level. For example, littering is illegal, but few people have lost their freedom overdoing this. Crime also involves mental capability, which means someone intends to do something. For example, walking out of a bank with one of the bank’s pens is not illegal unless a lawyer can prove that a person intends to take the pen.

Intention is a major difference between law and classroom management. Often, students do not think before they act, but they are held accountable whatever their mental culpability was. In crime, culpability can be a major factor in determining what can of punishment or if a young person is even guilty.

Levels of Crime

All infractions of the law are not equal. Laws are broken down into two main categories. These categories are misdemeanors and felonies.

Misdemeanors are some of the least offensive crimes and usually can result in less than one year of jail time. Examples of common misdemeanors are theft, driving while intoxicated, and even prostitution in some places. Generally, suppose someone is a first-time offender, as most youths are. In that case, they will not face jail time unless they become habitual offenders.

There might be a lesson here for teachers. Often it seems as if classroom infractions are all treated the same. For example, talking out of turn and refusing to do schoolwork are treated equally. This may be appropriate, but perhaps thought should be given to differentiating the degree of the infraction as is done in the justice system. What gets kids into serious trouble is habitual disregard of minor offenses in the classroom.

Types of Crime

Felonies are crimes considered much more serious in nature and can lead someone to spend more than a year behind bars. Examples of felonies include murder, robbery, and sexual assault.

Crimes can also be divided by type. Examples include violent crimes and property crimes. Violent crimes generally hurt people and include murder, sexual acts, and robbery. Property crimes are crimes committed against things that belong to others, such as theft (taking someone else’s stuff) and arson (burning someone else’s stuff). Hurting people is taken more seriously than hurting people’s stuff, and thus the punishment for violent crimes are harsher than for property crimes.


Young people make mistakes that can involve some of the crimes above. Sometimes these mistakes can have a lasting impact on their lives and on the people around them. Teachers may have to deal with students who make these kinds of mistakes and thus need to be prepared to understand their student’s situations.

two women dancing while wearing dresses at night time

Culture and the Classroom

Culture is a major topic in education. As people travel worldwide, they encounter people who are similar and different from them. Naturally, the diversity that is found today can e beneficial and a headache, and this applies in the classroom as well when teachers and students come together from all over the globe.

This post will look at Hofstede’s Cultural Framework, which involves five dimensions (power distance, individualism, uncertainty, long-term orientation, indulgence). We will examine these concepts as they apply to the context of teaching and the classroom. Furthermore, rather than discussing these terms at the country level, we will look at the aggregation of the individual level, as most classes are small enough to work at this level.

Power Distance

Power distance measures how accepting a student is of hierarchical authority. Students who have a high power distance that a difference between authority between the student and teacher is acceptable, while students with a low power distance want a more egalitarian relationship with their teachers. Naturally, this also applies to teachers, teachers with a high power distance expect a large degree of authority and deference in the class, while lower power distance, teachers view students more as peers and collaborators.


There is no right or wrong place in terms of power distance. Education has gone toward minimizing power distance, but this is a trend and not a moral argument. What really matters is that a teacher is aware of where they stand in terms of power distance and aware of where their students stand regarding this. Understanding that a student needs a more egalitarian power-sharing teacher can reduce conflict and stress for the teacher. In addition, understanding that a student(s) needs a strong authoritarian teacher is also beneficial in improving classroom management.


Individualism is in contrast to collectivism and is the emphasis placed on the person or the group. Highly individualistic students do what is best for them at the group’s expense. Students who are low in individualism will put the group’s needs ahead of their own. Rewards should be determined by effort rather than based on equality. Lastly, highly individualistic students will put the task ahead of relationships.

For teachers, it is important to know how to manage individualistic and collectivistic students to have success in the classroom. An individualistic student will demand autonomy and space, which entails the teacher may need to back off a little. There is a need for harmony and relationships for a collectivistic student, which may mean the teacher needs to back off on being demanding as this is not valued by the student.

Uncertainty Avoidance

Uncertainty is a measure of people’s comfort with risk and unpredictable situations. Young people tend to act recklessly with their own decision-making but are overwhelming condemning of parents and teachers who are unpredictable and erratic. I have seen almost no exception to this in my personal career. Students generally have low acceptance of uncertainty.

This does not imply students don’t like surprises. The point is that change should be slow and occasional with lots of warning. With many unstable families, students are looking to schools to provide constancy and stability in this day and age. As such, uncertainty is something, many students want to avoid as they desire the role of being unpredictable over the teacher. Therefore, teachers probably want to limit uncertainty through clear management and consistent expectations.


Masculinity measures how desirable traditional masculine traits are to a student. Highly masculine students value work and high grades compared to less masculine students. Masculine students live for work while low masculine students are more focused on friendship and doing less, and “smelling the roses.”

Masculine teachers are usually aggressive and ambitious. Naturally, this could cause conflict with students who are more focused on enjoying their time. This is another example of how teachers need to be aware of their own cultural preferences and their students.

Long-Term Orientation

A student’s orientation is determined by whether they focus on the short-term or long-term. Young people tend to focus more on the here and now, while adults often think further into the future. Therefore, like uncertainty avoidance, this may be an example of where there is not as much variance in the position of students.

Generally, students are focused on the moment, but they expect teachers to have a long-term orientation. The reason for this may be the idea of stability. Students want the freedom to be foolish, knowing that they have a support system around them to help them if something goes wrong. IF the supporters cannot plan ahead, it would be difficult for them to help careless students.


Indulgence is the view of the student as to the role of the society or school to fulfill the student’s desires. For example, highly indulgent students think that the school or classroom should be fun and enjoyable. Students who are low in indulgence see school as a place to restrain desire through rules and regulations.

Each student and teacher is going to vary in their orientation of indulgence. The clashes come when teachers and students view this differently. Again, it falls on the teacher to be flexible and reflective to adjust to the students while being aware of their own preferences.


Each person is unique and has their own view of the world and their own preferences. Hofstede’s work was done at the level of countries. However, teachers deal with individuals, not entire nations, which implies that there will be uniqueness among the students in terms of what they value. Therefore, the teacher needs to be aware of what students’ needs and personalities want so that they can help students to be successful

businessman man suit people

Ethical Models

Ethics is a truly controversial field of discussion. Everywhere people are looking for ethical people. It is difficult for people to agree on what ethical behavior is in many situations. Since there is little consensus on what is ethical, it leads to people making poor choices or doing things they think are right yet are classified as unethical by others.

In this post, we will avoid the minefield of what is ethical and look at various models of ethical behavior. Instead of defining what is ethical, we will look at frameworks for how others define what is ethical.


Utilitarianism takes a quantitative approach to defining what is right and wrong. According to this school of thought, whatever brings the most good to the most people is ethical. An example of utilitarianism would be found in the story of people in a lifeboat. For the group to survive, somebody has to be thrown in the water. A utilitarian approach would state that throwing someone in the water is practical to save the group.

Naturally, utilitarianism loses track of the individual. The group or the collective is the main actor in the decision-making process, which can lead to the tyranny of the majority over the minority.


As it relates to ethics, Universalism is focused on a holistic approach to making decisions. Everyone’s needs are taken into account in this model. The focus is on being humane and making decisions based on duty. Returning to the lifeboat example, if Universalism is the ethical model, then somebody would willingly throw themselves into the water so that the majority of the group could survive. Being bound by duty, someone would sacrifice themself for others.


A related school of thought is virtue ethics, which states how people ought to be rather than the reality of how people actually are. People should be moral, happy, trustworthy, etc. Even though it is rare to find people with such traits consistently, all this is stated.

Of course, these schools of thought are highly idealistic and generally not practical. Universalism may be the best approach on paper but is the least likely to be put into practice as individual people generally put what is best for them first.


A legal model for ethics is found in rights such as those found in the US Constitution and human rights. IN this approach, the rights of people are the basis for ethical decision-making. Therefore, violating someone’s rights is an ethical violation.

Returning once again to the lifeboat example. It would violate someone’s rights to throw them in the water to die. However, it would also violate everyone’s rights if everybody died. As such, if the rights model is used in such a situation, there is no answer for the sinking lifeboat that needs to throw one person overboard.

This leads to one problem with the rights model, which is determining the ethical thing to do in a situation in which people both have equal rights to something. People can exaggerate their rights and downplay other people’s rights, leading to an impasse that seems to have no hope of being overcome.

The Common Good

The common good is a combination of the ideas behind Universalism and utilitarianism. IN this approach, decision-makers must take into account. This means that people must think about how their decisions impact the people around them. Decisions can be made at the individual level as long as they consider the larger collective.

Returning to the lifeboat, a person would decide about jumping in the water based on how it would affect others. When deciding who to throw in the water, the group may decide based on the level of responsibility a person has. A single man would be a better person to throw in the water than a single mother because the man is perceived to have fewer obligations.

The problem with the common good is broken down to who decides what the common good is. Whoever or whatever makes this decision has dictatorial power over the others.


The point was not to attempt to determine what is ethical. The reality is that everybody has fallen short in one place or another when practicing ethical behavior. It is possible that people sometimes deliberately make poor choices, but the other side of the story is that sometimes the best decision is hard to determine. The real goal should be to examine the thought process and be aware of the failings that led to poor choices in the past.

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Institutional Culture in Education

Every institution has its own unique set of cultural values. Schools are no exception. Of course, people have studied organizational culture and shared insights. Cameron and Quinn (1999) developed the Competing Values Framework, in which they identified four main types of institutional cultures.

The Dimensions

Internal vs. External Focus

The Competing Values Framework has two dimensions and four quadrants which can be found when dealing with a cartesian coordinate system. The x-axis measures whether an institution is internally or externally focused. This is perhaps self-explanatory, but internally focused cultures or more concerned about what is happening within the organization rather than what is happening outside of it.

Stability vs. Flexibility

The y-axis measures whether the institution values stability or flexibility. A culture that favors stability will dislike change and dynamic environments. Naturally, flexible cultures thrive on change.

Cultural Types


A market culture values an external focus and high flexibility. Market culture sare results-oriented, values competition, and generally appreciates getting things done. Survival in this context requires an achievement-oriented personality.


Schools have moved away from competition and achievement over concerns with inequality. There have even been pushback against standardized testing, which is highly results-oriented. It would be unusual to see a school that heavily supports a marketed-oriented culture.


An adhocracy culture is externally focused and appreciates high flexibility. This type of culture is focused on risk-taking, innovation, and dynamic change. To survive in such a climate involves initiative and self-organization. Many tech companies have an adhocracy culture.

Schools would generally not adhere to the adhocracy approach because they are often heavily regulated by the government. It is possible to see demands for this type of culture on an individual level. However, strong innovation and change are difficult at a particular level when you have to report and document everything you do.


A hierarchy culture values being internally focused and a high degree of culture. This culture is highly rigid, searching for efficiency and structure. Hierarchy is often associated with government bureaucracies such as the Postal system or the Department of Education.

Schools would generally fall into this culture type. However, schools, especially smaller schools and elementary schools, our more focused on the children than a large hierarchical culture would generally allow. Hierarchical cultures probably do not want to neglect people. It’s just that the size of the work makes it hard to support everyone the way they need to be.


The clan culture is internally focused while appreciating flexibility. In such a culture, there is a focus on mentoring, nurturing, participation, and empowering individuals. There is a heavy emphasis on people and supporting their development.

Schools would probably most likely fall into the clan culture. Many schools emphasize helping students, and there is a huge demand for flexibility when dealing with students’ needs. Being a teacher is essentially about mentoring, developing, and investing in young people.


There is no single best institution. What this framework does is determine where an individual institution is. One type of culture will work in one context and be a disaster in another. What really matters is that an institution can identify their values and culture and whether this matches the context within which they work.

white caution cone on keyboard

OSEMN Framework for Data Analysis

Analyzing data can be extremely challenging. It is often common to not know where to begin. Perhaps you know some basic ways of analyzing data, but it is unclear what should be done first and what should follow.

This is where a data analysis framework can come in handy. Having a basic step-by-step process, you always follow can make it much easier to start and complete a project. One example of a data analysis framework is the OSEMN model. The OSEMN model is an acronym that defines each step of the data analysis process. The steps are as follows

  • Obtain
  • Scrub
  • Explore
  • Model
  • INterpret

We will now go through each of these steps.


The first step of this model is obtaining data. Depending on the context, this can be done for you because the stakeholders have already provided data for analysis. In other situations, you have to find the data you need to answer whatever questions you are looking for insights into.


Data can be found anywhere, so the obtained data must help achieve the goals. It is also necessary to have the skills or connections to get the data. For example, data may have to be scraped from the web, pulled from a database, or even collected through the development of surveys. Each of these examples requires specific skills needed for success.


Once data is obtained, it must be scrubbed or cleaned. Completing these tasks requires several things. Duplicates need to be removed, missing data must be addressed, outlier considered, the shape of the data addressed, among other tasks. In addition, it is often useful to look at descriptive statistics and visualizations to identify potential problems. Lastly, you often need to clean categories within a variable if they are misspelled or involve other errors such as punctuation and converting numbers.

The concepts mentioned above are just some of the steps that need to be taken to clean data. Dirty will lead to bad insights. Therefore, this must be done well.


Exploring data and scrubbing data will often happen at the same time. With exploration, you are looking for insights into your data. One of the easiest ways to do this is to drill down as far as possible into your continuous variables by segmenting with the categorical variables.

For example, you might look at average scores by gender, then you look at average scores by gender and major, then you might look at average scores by gender, major, and class. Each time you find slightly different patterns that may be useful or not. Another approach would be to look at scatterplots that consider different combinations of categorical variables.

If the objectives are clear, it can help you focus your exploration on reducing the chance of presenting non-relevant information to your stakeholders. Suppose the stakeholders want to know the average scores of women. In that case, there is maybe no benefit to knowing the average score of male music majors.


Modeling involves regression/classification in the case of supervised learning or segmentation in the case of unsupervised learning. Modeling in the context of supervised learning helps in predicting future values, while segmentation helps develop insights into groups within a dataset that have similar traits.

Once again, the objectives of the analysis shape what tool to use in this context. If you want to predict enrollment, then regression tools may be appropriate. If you want what car a person will buy, then classification may help. If, on the other hand, you want to know what are some of the traits of high-performing students, then unsupervised approaches may be the best option.


Interpreting involves sharing what does all this stuff means. It is truly difficult to explain the intricacies of data analysis to a layman. Therefore, this involves not just analytical techniques but communication skills. Breaking down the complex analysis so that people can understand it is difficult. As such, ideas around storytelling have been developed to help data analysis connect the code with the audience.


The framework provided here is not the only way to approach data analysis. Furthermore, as you become more comfortable with analyzing data, you do not have to limit yourself to the steps or order in which they are performed. Frameworks are intended for getting people started in the creative process of whatever task they are trying to achieve.