Scroll Top

The great language imperative

The second half of 2020 presents as an undeniable opportunity to focus on the kind of culture you want for your school and to strategise for it’s creation.  That’s something we should talk about.

And when I get into conversations with Teachers and School Leaders about that exciting challenge, I’m often asked what matters when it comes to the culture of a school.  My answer never varies.

Language is the single most significant determinant of a culture.

Language is pivotal to culture in that it acts as both an INPUT and an OUTPUT of culture.

As an input, it’s mission critical that educators understand that the words we speak and the ways we speak them are votes for the type of culture we want to have.

As an output, young people who grow in that culture start to speak the words that they are immersed in and in the ways that they’ve heard them said.

Don’t believe that kids, even from a very early age, are paying attention to the way you speak to them?  Then take a moment to watch the outrageously cute video below:



It’s actually a really simple concept.

Speak to kindness and in kind ways – your students grow to be kind.

Speak in adversarial ways with a determination to win – and your students will, in time, develop sophisticated tactics to defeat you.

Speak empathically and your students will learn to care.

Raise your voice when things don’t go your way … and yeah, I think you know what you’ll get it.

When was the last time your staff had a proper conversation about the language you use and the culture those words are cultivating at your school?

Warm regards,