Culture, like the air we breathe, is all around us. As social beings who live in community, we exist simultaneously in a variety of cultural contexts that have a profound impact on the kinds of interactions we have and the decisions we make. Culture shapes our relationships and establishes the frontiers that define our communities. Culture places value on certain kinds of behavior and enables approved choices. Culture has the power to be a champion for individualization, but also has the potential to be a force for conformity.
But what is culture? What does it entail, and what defines a good one? Are conversations about culture part of your professional life and work? Have you ever really tried to talk specifically about your cultural context with a peer or a stakeholder, or to make thoughtful changes to improve it? Could you even measure the impact if you tried?
In education, the learning cultures we work within, and the ones we develop in our classrooms are critical not only to enabling student development and growth, but also to enhancing our effectiveness and happiness as professionals. When we get culture right, we create the conditions that support risk, collaboration, communication, and exploration. We build spaces that are open to change and that are constantly adapting to and acknowledging the needs of the people that live within them.
Gradelessness, or grading less, is all about culture. It isn’t a resource or a strategy—it is a mindset and approach that says that the relationships we develop, the communication we value, the responsibility we share, and thus the culture we establish is the key to effective learning for everyone.
How does going gradeless highlight questions of culture? Sound off in the comments below. And please share this so more people get to see this.