Banned Words – revisiting and idea for the #1smallthing series

What one thing do you do in your classroom that has a positive impact on learning?

I ban certain words.  Students aren’t allowed to use them.  Stuff, things, up, right, down, impossible. Some words are semi-banned like people, pollution and tsunami. Definitely ban Africa and America.

How did this come about?

A random thought during my first year of teaching in around 2003/4.  I noticed that the quality of pupils’ wirting lacked detail and specific vocab – it was all rather general, waffly faff.

How do I know when it’s working?

Students written and verbal answers are much better.  they are concise and reference geographical terms.  This is something that I use from lesson one of year 7.  It’s habit forming.  I see words like ‘increasing gradually’ instead of ‘going up’ to describe the trend in household income since 1977 and ‘government minister’ instead of ‘people.’

What’s the worst that could happen?

They students start catching you out when explaining economic and social development indicators.  They do this to me. A lot.

How might I develop this in the future?

Can be used in a multitude of ways, including feedback and stuff.

Who else should write down #1smallthing?

PepsJo Debens Rachel JonesGuy Martin from the telly, Bear Grylls

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