A Collective Noun

In my research on School Culture, I’ve seen an extraordinary number of attempts to define School Culture. Most fail because nailing the definition of something so complex and nebulous is akin to nailing jelly to a fence.

This cultural thing just keeps moving and oozing on us.

Because cultures are so hard to make singular by definition, I prefer to look at culture as a collective. Where I’ve landed is that culture is just a collective noun for behaviours.

This works beautifully for schools because we adore talking about collective nouns. Less so for corporate types obsessed with complicating culture with multi-syllabic gobbledygook.

So, now that we have a simple definition, let’s keep the next steps simple too.

  1. Culture is a collective noun (a simple sum total) for the behaviours demonstrated by students, staff and parents/carers.
  2. There will always be behaviours that you like and that you dislike within your culture. (Let’s be honest – you’re all a bit mad! You chose to strive for consistency of behaviour in an institution built for hundreds of young people with unformed brains who are the prized possessions of their irrationally invested parents. Good luck with that!)
  3. Great cultures accept this and focus on their agreed methodology for changing disliked behaviours into liked ones – so that you can thank and congratulate young people more often than you tick them off.
  4. The most effective, research proven long-term methodology for cultural transformation is an artfully deployed version of Restorative Practices.

That’s your cultural revolution right there. That’s it.

Keep fighting that good fight,

PS. If a restorative future for your school, via a School Culture Partnership with Real Schools, sounds alright – then you should register here for a free webinar on Thursday 26 August at 2pm AEST titled “How to Implement Restorative Practices – Why The Real Schools Partnership Approach Just Works”.

PPS. We’re hiring! Are you a Principal looking for a different future than one in bureaucracy or in one school after the other? Well, a future as one of our amazing Expert Facilitators might be for you. Click here to register for a free information session on Thursday 26 August at 3.30pm AEST.


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