Best Practice

Behaviour: A language of compliance rather than defiance

Have you ever described a student as defiant? When defiance is difficult to observe, what does this actually mean? And are our language choices creating barriers for our students and their families? Emma Goto asks the questions...
Image: Adobe Stock

A number of interactions I have had lately have left me wondering if I am being as inclusive as I want to be with the language that I use. 

Language influences our collective beliefs and attitudes. Language shapes cultures and changes over time. Historically, language has often been used to oppress and exclude children within schooling. 

Thankfully, we have moved a long way from the days when words such as “uneducable” were used to describe students. However, I wonder how we will view our current language choices in decades to come.

Are we really being as inclusive as we could be? Will our chosen vocabulary stand up well to the scrutiny of future generations?

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