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Ridiculous School Bans Slang in Campaign to Incite Mockery

Illustration for article titled Ridiculous School Bans Slang in Campaign to Incite Mockery

In a surely ill-fated bid to make kids more well-spoken, a school in Sheffield, England has banned slang. Says the school's deputy chief,

What we want to make sure of is that they are confident in using standard English. Slang doesn't really give the right impression of the person. Youngsters going to interviews for their first job need to make a good impression so that employers have confidence in them. It's not difficult to get youngster out of the habit of using slang.


O rly? Well in order to ban slang, you probably have to know what it is — and since the examples the school gave are "hiya" and "cheers," they may not be up on the latest lingo. My guess is that kids are just going to redefine standard English words like "refrigerate" to mean disgusting things, and then laugh a lot at their teachers' expense.

Image via ARENA Creative/

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A few people have been criticising this on the grounds that people code-switch, that they know how to speak appropriately for different situations. I used to assume that too, simply because I could, but I have a close friend who works in Human Resources in a college here in the UK and she tells me a different story. As part of her job, she interviews a lot of young (16-21) people for apprenticeships, and she says the interview presentation of many of the applicants is shocking. They slouch, they mumble and they grunt casual replies as though they were hanging with their friends. Very few of them are presentable on a most basic level.

Although enforcing this policy seems pretty much impossible, I think the goal it is trying to achieve (ie. actually making young people aware that there is a professional manner of speaking and how to use it to their advantage) is one of which we are in desperate need.