When Narratives Collide

The topic of school culture has gained importance in the professional literature in the last decade. That’s a good trend.

But we must always remember that no amount of imaging, branding, or social media activity can change the culture of a school.

Let’s look at two definitions:

  1. Collide: Hit with a force when moving; come into conflict or opposition.
  2. Intersect: Divide by passing; two or more thing lying across each other.

Culture is not made up of the stories we tell. Culture is made from the intersection of those stories. It’s when multiple stories collide that we discover the reality of our school culture. Also, it’s when multiple stories intersect we craft the school culture.

Sometimes we craft, sometimes we discover. Both are important. They’re probably two sides of the same coin. But it’s a coin that exists only when we are active participants in narrating.

How do we change the reality of school culture?

One thing’s for sure – promoting a narrative that doesn’t match the reality actually undermines the change process.

But that’s the nature of collisions. They are messy.