Language usage in school

As mentioned previously “Dansk Center for Undervisningsmiljø” (The Danish Centre for Educational Environment) believes that prevention is the most essential aspect about fighting bullying. This is why all Danish schools now have required school policies about how to fight bullying.

Besides all of the policies and the many different authorities a lot of school personnel still find it crucial to intervene on a more tangible level; the everyday level. Many schools have started to focus on the things they see and hear in their everyday; how pupils talk to each other – their language usage. Name-calling and a harsh tone are both getting normal among pupils and that is something the different schools try to stamp out. Especially the last couple of years a lot of initiatives have been made about how to change and prevent a harsh tone (therefore focussing on pupils’ language usage is both a proactive and a reactive project).

Personally I find it extremely important to keep a focus on how we talk to each other so it becomes clear that our words do have consequences. I believe it is important to stress that words can hurt. Some of the words I heard walking down the hallway on the school where I worked, were things like idiot, bitch, whore, faggot, cocksucker and so on. Sometimes ment as a joke, sometimes because pupils got into an argument. And something does happen inside most of us when we are being called such names despite the fact that it is getting more and more normal to hear those words. In that way verbal bullying becomes way too easy, and that is something that needs to be extinguished.

Looking back at my review on Crawford & Mills from the very start of this course I think they made quite an interesting point. They believe that changes only can be made actively and through a change in the discourse. According to Unger (Crawford & Mills, 2011) language is socially constructed and maintained. Therefore language is the core of the change process. Language is a powerful enabler, but for organizational change to occur utilizing language as a lever it must be promoted, supported and practiced by those in positions of authority. This means that the school management and the personnel have to do something actively to change the harsh tone that permeate our current school system. Crawford & Mills stress that changes in an organisation (in this case the school system) are possible if we acknowledge that there is a problem and if we actively change the discourse starting with the everyday language. This is where the teachers and pedagouges can really become important key figures. They just have to keep in mind that changes like these do not happen over night. According to Crawford & Mills changing a discourse should be done incremental and cumulative, and that is why change takes time and is a slow process.


Crawford & Mills (2011). The Formative Context of Organisational Hierarchies and Discours.


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