The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether race-specific language use can advance organizational learning about the racialized nature of school problems. The study addressed two questions: first, is teacher use of racial language associated with how they frame school discipline problems during conversational exchanges? Second, what do patterns of associations suggest about racial language use as an asset that may influence an organization’s ability to analyze discipline problems?Design/methodology/approachCo-occurrence analysis was used to explore patterns between racial language use and problem analysis during team conversational exchanges regarding school discipline problems.FindingsWhen participants used race-specific and race-proxy language, they identified more problems and drew on multiple frames to describe school discipline problems.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper substantiates that race-specific language is beneficial for organizational learning.Practical implicationsThe findings suggest that leading language communities may be an integral, yet overlooked lever for organizational learning and improvement. Prioritizing actions that promote race-specific conversations among school teams can reveal racism/racial conflict and subsequently increase the potential for change.Originality/valueThis paper combines organizational change and race talk research to highlight the importance of professional talk routines in organizational learning.
Journal of Educational Administration – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 15, 2018
Keywords: Organizational learning; Language; Race; Secondary schools