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 "bad language" in the classroom 
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This thread is primarily for secondary education or middle school ed majors, although it still may happen on the elementary level.

So you're handing back a test, and one of the students gets an F. As they get the paper, they say "shit" out loud.. not yelling, but just barely loud enough for others to hear.
What do you do as a teacher?
Do you just let it slide? Or do you make a big deal out of it?

Also, I had a few teachers in high school that would say some of the minor cuss words (like damn) every once in awhile. Do you think its ok for high school teachers to use these words at appropriate times, as long as they don't say it a lot?
Maybe it just depends on what kind of principal you have?

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Jon Barth


Tue Dec 07, 2004 6:11 pm
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I believe that it depends on the principal of the school. When I was in high school, the principal strictly enforced the "no bad language rule." If you were caught cussing, your parents were called and you received lunch detention, no questions asked. On the other hand my cousin went to the other high school in the county and he said that his principal wasn't as strict and that sometimes even the teachers would cuss while lecturing. So I really think that it depends on the school and the principal and what is enforced at the school.

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Amy Drum


Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:36 pm
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Accidents and slips happen even to the best of students. I don’t feel like I would take issue with the student in the event that such words were not directed at someone. I once had a teacher who occasionally had curse word come out from time to time, but students were not allowed to say such words, more that once I had to write “MR. X does all cursing in room 338â€

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David Smith
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Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:25 pm
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I've always been very open about language, and as an English teacher, I will undoubtedly be reading things with my students that have at least a little questionable language. I will avoid using bad language, but if it slips out of a student occasionally, I won’t make it a big deal. I think it is important to show students there are other ways of expressing themselves, other words they can use, that are effective for an academic setting.

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Mary Carmichael


Sat Dec 11, 2004 6:57 pm
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Just to add the perspective of an elementary ed teacher:

With young children, often times they don't even understand what a swear word is: all they know is that it's a word their parents occasionally utter, and it gets them a reaction in class. I think that when children decide to use an inappropriate word in the classroom, it's a good idea to approach them about it individually. If they're seeking attention, their cause will be lost, since you've taken them into the secluded hallway. If they don't understand why it's inappropriate, they won't be embarrassed by the attention of their peers. As with all punishments, this is a good time to teach them a lesson, this time, about the difference between "school" language and "home" language, and I think they'll respect you more if you do it in a calm, respectful manner.

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Morgan Gill


Sat Dec 11, 2004 7:41 pm
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From a middle school perspective, I would have to approach the student later about the appropriate use of language in the classroom. I believe the majority of times students curse to attract attention from other students. If the student is upset about his/her test, you as a teacher should make sure the student knows you are more than willing to talk to him/her about it.

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Elizabeth Puckett


Sun Dec 12, 2004 1:44 pm
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This situation is dependent on the teacher and how he/she controls the classroom. I know when a secondary teacher of mine would use profanity (nothing outrageous) I was able to see this human side to them. In no way should such language become the "norm" in how your students interact with each other.

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susan meadows


Sun Dec 12, 2004 9:01 pm
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I agree with Mary's response to this -- for me it will be important to have my students read literature that may contain some language - such as catcher and the rye. And i know that parents will have a field day with it. I think that that will be the hardest struggle for me in this area is dealing with parents.

I also agree that I will not use language in my classroom - and i want to show my students that there are many ways to express themselves - and bad language does not have to be apart of it.

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Kate Padgett


Mon Dec 13, 2004 4:31 pm
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