Officials at Sheffield’s Springs Academy has introduced a new policy to prevent students ages 11 to 18 from using slang and colloquial abbreviations instead of proper, standard English inside the school.
The academy administrators want children to cut out slang words and phrases like “hiya” and “cheers” in favor of the more correct “good morning”, “goodbye” or “thank you”.
Donna Bowater at the Telegraph writes that abbreviated forms of words have become popular with the rise of text messages and the social networking website Twitter in which the length of a message is restricted.
Officials believe that enforcing the use of standard English would give the academy’s 1,100 students a better chance of impressing future employers.
Kathy August, deputy chief executive of the United Learning Trust, said:
“We want to make sure that our youngsters are not just leaving school with the necessary A to Cs in GCSEs but that they also have a whole range of employability skills.
“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.”
The school would prefer to see pupils say “thank you” instead of the more colloquial “ta”, and “goodbye” rather than “see ya”.
To further encourage professionalism, the school asks its sixth formers to dress in suits rather than school uniform.
Mrs. August added:
“It is about knowing what language is acceptable between friends and what is required in more formal situations.
“We want to give each of our students the best start possible; understanding when it is and is not acceptable to use slang or colloquial language is just one part of this.”
However, South Yorkshire MP Angela Smith said that the policy might pose a risk to dialects and accents.
“The school is wrong to ban slang. How will the school police this?
“Who will say what the difference is between slang and dialect? It could completely undermine the confidence of the children at the school.
“If someone tells them how to speak they could dig in her heels and do it all the more. I really think they have set themselves a task that is impossible to achieve. Who is going to adjudicate? Who is going to say slang, dialect or accent? And which one is right and which one is wrong?
“Most people know when to put on their telephone voice because that is what we are talking about. When people go on the phone or talk to anyone in authority they put on a different voice.”