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Education

Teacher bans 32 words from being used in their classroom, sparking heated debate

Should slang be banned?

teachers, students slang

A teacher banned 32 words form being said in their classroom.

A teacher has sparked a passionate debate on X after a letter they wrote banning 32 words from being spoken in the classroom was made public. The discussion is centered around whether a teacher has the right to control how their students talk in class.

The letter has been seen nearly 44 million times on X.

“The gibberish some of you choose to use is improper English,” the teacher declared. “There are many ways to articulate what you need to say without using slang. Please know that using slang in an academic setting can diminish your capability to become a successful writer. More often than not the way you speak is the way you will write.”

“This is an academic institution, and you will carry yourself as scholars in my classroom,” the teacher added.


According to the letter, if students are caught using any of the 32 banned words in their classroom, they will be assigned to write a short essay explaining why they chose “to use these words in an academic setting.”

Words on the list include bruh, standing on business, on my momma, big motion, gyat, gang gang, on hood and rizz (short for charisma). The teacher also banned the use of the n-word.

Given that much of the slang on the list derives from African American Vernacular English (AAVE), many believed that the word ban was racially motivated. However, the teacher's race has never been disclosed.

The list caused a lively debate on X, and many people joked in the comments that they didn’t think they would last a day in the teacher’s class.

Many people supported the teacher and believed slang is inappropriate in an academic setting, especially in an English class. They appreciated the teacher challenging them to change their word choice based on the setting.

The list also bothered many people who thought the teacher should be able to distinguish between the student’s speech and the work they do in class. For most people, there is a big difference between how they casually speak with peers and how they write in an academic or professional setting.

Many also thought the teacher was overstepping their bounds by trying to control how the students spoke.

One person had a practical solution the teacher could use instead of banning certain words. Instead, they could teach them to dig deeper into their meaning and find words and phrases that have a similar meaning.

Pritay Washington, an expert on childhood education at the Education Development Center, told Newsweek that she believes the students should be allowed to use slang in the classroom because it has an essential function: it helps them feel like they belong in school.

"So much happens in middle and high school beyond the learning of classroom content. Students are developing cognitively, mentally, socially, emotionally and physically," she told Newsweek. "They are honing their critical thinking skills and learning how to navigate the world around them. The importance of student engagement is critical, and this includes representation. Students' sense of belonging matters."

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