School bans teachers from using ‘good’ and ‘bad’ to describe behaviour

Headteacher says he does not want teachers ‘to be shouty and make pupils feel guilty’

Zoe Tidman
Tuesday 12 October 2021 15:48
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<p>Loughborough Amerherst School has reportedly banned the use of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ to describe behaviour</p>

Loughborough Amerherst School has reportedly banned the use of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ to describe behaviour

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A school has reportedly banned the use of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ to describe their students’ behaviour.

Dr Julian Murphy from Loughborough Amherst School, an independent school for pupils aged 4 to 18, told the i the move aimed to “take the emotional heat out of language” by avoiding “emotional words”.

Teachers at the Leicestershire school would instead be asked to describe behaviour as “skillful” or “unskillfill”, according to the report.

“While I don’t want teachers to be soft, I also don’t want them to be shouty and make pupils feel guilty,” the Loughborough Amherst School’s headteacher told the newspaper.

“I think it’s human psychology, even when you’re an adult – if people make you feel guilty, then you get angry and then actually that’s when you’re likely to play the blame game and not to work that well. That’s when things get into a bit of a vicious circle.”

Dr Murphy said he was not “interested in making young people feel bad” but instead in them learning, helping them to become “more mature” and “skillful”.

The headteacher told the i he had taken the new terms skillful and unskillful from Buddhism and they were a “less loaded and more accurate way of describing things”.

The Independent has contacted the school for comment.

Back in 2017, the Loughborough school scrapped traditional school reports, with Dr Murphy telling The Independent effort grades were “too emotive” and language used was “almost politician’s speak”.

He said at the time that reports saying they only serve to cause insecurities among pupils and cause unnecessary stress to teachers, who often fill them with “politician-like” phrases.

The school, which has just under 300 pupils, also does not have “inspirational” messages on its walls, with the headteacher saying they put too much pressure on young people.

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