Level 4 – Shaping a new normal

Being a language catalyst involves both creative exploration and diligent repetition and habit-forming. Once you have located suitable and effective language practices – both one-to-one and in groups – then language agreements are a power tool for rooting these in and spreading them to a wider audience.
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Photo: Judd Mackrill. Unsplash.

In your growth so far as a Language Catalyst, Levels 1 to 3 have been all about starting the conversations, asking good questions and trying out different options – both one-to-one and in groups. The next level grows naturally out of these diverse explorations, as you find practices and arrangements that work well and move towards making them the default option in particular contexts.

We can think of this as making ‘language agreements’ – just as working life involves making agreements on many other aspects of workplace culture and practices. Language agreements, whether between two people, a team, or a whole workplace, can really help to make sure that Finnish learners are getting regular opportunities to practice Finnish. From the catalytic perspective, they are also a great way to expand to a wider group some arrangements that have worked really well between you and one or two other colleagues.

Below are some examples of simple but powerful language agreements: 

These are simple examples aimed to show how simple agreements can have a big impact. More complex agreements could relate to, for example, the multilingual meeting arrangements discussed in the previous article. If one of these seems to work well for most meetings, it could be written up as the default language mix for work meetings in a particular team or even across the whole workplace.

While the power of these agreements is precisely in not having to discuss and re-agree them each time, it is important to also stay flexible as well – exceptions can be made where needed, and it is helpful to review from time to time how well the agreement is serving both the people involved and the tasks of the job.

By playing your part in shaping language agreements at your workplace, you are already going a long way to facilitate language learning, raise language awareness, and improve overall communication.

In the following, and final, article in this series we take your catalytic powers to the highest level – where you get to play your part in building long-term structures and policies at your workplace for language awareness and support for Finnish learners.

Other articles in this series:

Kuvituskuva
Become a language learning catalyst
Kuvituskuva
Become a language learning catalyst
Two students are walking in the corridor. They are smiling.
Become a language learning catalyst
Smiling adults are chatting over a coffee break.
Become a language learning catalyst
Kuvituskuva
Become a language learning catalyst
A woman is sitting in a beanbag and she is surfing on her mobile phone.
Become a language learning catalyst
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