Cultural perspectives of a Lutheran primary school

Author: Susan Kupke

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 1 Nov 2024.

Kupke, Susan, 2023 Cultural perspectives of a Lutheran primary school, Flinders University, College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

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It has been more than 20 years since Lutheran school cultural research by Marks (2000) was conducted in Queensland Lutheran schools involving adults. While my research fills a gap due to the limited Lutheran school cultural research in Australia and internationally, it is significant that for the first time, the voices of seven to twelve-year-old students are included on the cultural perspectives of a Lutheran primary school.

As a single, ethnographic case study, this research explored students’, staff and parents’ perceptions of what contributes to the culture of a Lutheran primary school in South Australia, to illuminate how they shape and are shaped by the culture/s of their school. As the main method, photo elicitation interviews enabled participants to take photographs of aspects of the school they perceived as being special and then explain why their photographs were special for them. Other methods included an interview, the researcher reflective journal, and documents and artefacts.

Six main practices were illuminated as findings through the analysis of data, which used Values Coding (Saldaña, 2016). These were the cultural practices of achievement, advocacy, agency, belonging, Christianity and community. Through these findings, the influence of socialisation on the school’s culture was revealed.

A major outcome of this research illuminated through photo elicitation interviews, was that the perspectives of students were noticeably different from those of the adults. While the research provides current knowledge for the Lutheran education context, it brings the work on practice architectures of Wilkinson and Kemmis (2015) together with Schatzki’s (2005) work on site ontology to contribute a new perspective of understanding culture.

The outcomes of this research will be available for others to consider as relevant to their own contexts. It is hoped that other schools and systems will be encouraged to engage in future, additional research on school cultural perspectives in Australia and internationally.

Keywords: Lutheran education, primary school, Lutheran school, Australia, Christian, culture, practices, practice architectures, site ontology, PEI, photo elicitation, photographs, interview, perspective, children, student, adults, parents, staff, values coding, Saldana, Schein, Schatzki, Kemmis, Wilkinson

Subject: Education thesis

Thesis type: Professional Doctorate
Completed: 2023
School: College of Education, Psychology and Social Work
Supervisor: Kerry Bissaker