We are frequently unaware how the language we choose reflects not only our attitudes, but impacts our actions and follow-through as educators and people. As I have become more alert to such dialogue, both in myself and others, one word has stuck out as one of the most limiting words an educator can use…..but.
How our big "buts” get in the way of progress….
- “I would love to do a lesson like that, but it just takes so much time.”
- “That’s a great idea, but I don’t think my students can handle it.”
- “That activity sounds good, but I’ve always done it this way.”
- “It sounds good now, but this technology thing will backfire on me.”
- “That seems interesting, but I’ve always taught with lecture and notes.”
- “.....but I don’t know if my administrators will approve.”
- “.....but that seems like a lot of work.”
As educators, we have to be ever-so careful that we don’t allow ourselves to set limits with our language, to keep ourselves, our students, and our colleagues in a bubble of complacency. So next time you are considering a new instructional possibility, a new progressive idea, or a new risk to take, remember to keep your “big but” out of the way!