The Language of Control*

At the moment, I am spending more time with a colleague of mine who is training to be a teacher. For those of you who were not aware, this is also my profession (when I am not being a mindreader or wordwriter). As such, it’s meant that I’m more often thinking about my own practice – usually to provide anecdotes to help with my colleague’s training.

It’s made me reflect on a lot of the language patterns I am using at the moment, and how they’ve developed and crystallised over the year.

This is my NQT year, and as such I’ve been left to my own devices notably more than last year. It’s meant I’ve had to deal with more things on my own. It’s meant I’ve constructed my own solutions for the problems I was facing and had to deal with. It’s meant I’ve enjoyed the experience.**

The rhetoric of the classroom (and particularly within my school) talks of the importance of following instructions. This means that a lot of interactions are reframed to this: “You’re talking; I instructed you to be silent; you are not following my instructions.” It’s simplistic, but effective. The direct, causal nature of the discourse lends itself to less variance, to less flexibility.

This is a shame, at least in my opinion.

In reframing classroom interactions in such an inflexible manner, what is the cost to thought, to education?

And what is the solution?

*Without having to resort to newspeak such as The Only Way Is Essex is double-plus ungood.

** Indeed, I also enjoyed last year’s experience.

The Language of Control*

2 thoughts on “The Language of Control*

  1. Byrnsweord says:

    Firm instructions of the sort to which you refer are of fundamental importance. They help those unfamiliar with conversational custom to become acquainted with its rules – thus actively aiding the efficient delivery of meaning – as well as providing social boundaries and emphasising convention.

    The rules must be learned before they can be used, and must be used before they can be used for expression.

    1. archaism says:

      I agree with the importance of the rules, if regret the need for the simplistic language. I would much rather a more fluid discussion could be had, free from forced logical dialogue towards a more lateral process.

      I suppose that comes from my guidance, if not my language.

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