This 2010 qualitative case study explored the perceptions of administrators and teachers regarding the Lasallian Catholic identity and culture of St. John's College (a pseudonym), a secondary school located in Australia. Data collection occurred over a 10-week period primarily from the researcher's interviews with three administrators and 12 teachers, and supplemented by his observations of school events and analysis of school documents.
Overall, the participants in the study identified numerous characteristics of a Lasallian Catholic school, and perceived St. John's College as reflecting many of them. The observed school and faculty activities and the analyzed school documents validated their perceptions.
Primarily, the humanistic characteristics of Lasallian Catholic education were generally recognized by participants to be operative at St John's College, and these traits included respectful and positive teacher-student relationships, a comprehensive academic program, high standards, a well-run school, social justice outreach programs, a commendable pastoral care program, and an affinity with the poor. However, the faculty made no reference to the salvific mission and its evangelical role of Lasallian Catholic education, although the administrators alluded to them. In general, the participants perceived St. John's College as being more Lasallian than Catholic, as the former was viewed as more inclusive of both non-practicing Catholic faculty and non-Catholic teachers. The study concluded that there were numerous elements, emanating from internal and external sources, which prevented the Lasallian Catholic identity and culture of St. John's College from being fully realized relative to the principles and practices outlined in Church documents concerning Catholic education, the writings of St. John Baptist de Salle, and contributions from experts in the field. These factors included teachers who did not have an adequate understanding of, preparation in, and appreciation for, what fully comprises the identity and culture of Lasallian Catholic education; an increase in Catholic school families and Catholic school educators who are not affiliated with the local church due to the marginalization of religion in general, and the Church in particular, in Australian society; and the increased divergence between the educational aspirations of parents and students at St. John's and the mission of Lasallian Catholic education.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/adrian_watson/1/