Wednesday, 7 December, 2022

Use of Inappropriate Languages in Classrooms and Its Implications

Rezaul Islam

Use of Inappropriate Languages in Classrooms and Its Implications

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Language plays an integral part in imparting knowledge both inside and outside of the classrooms. As teaching advances as a more diverse profession, its use of language in multiple angles also expands. Teachers are literally free to choose their own languages in dealing with their students. And unanimously, they can enjoy this little right of picking up their own dictions while they teach students of any grade as they are thought to be the true guardians and saviours of them. But, should they be always free in choosing whatever words they like?

Sometimes, it is noticed with sheer surprise that their such unquestioned freedom of choosing words in imparting knowledge instigates them to use improper, vulgar, obscene and ugly words before the learners. There are plenty of examples of using improper languages in the classrooms of Bangladesh and this tendency is more common in the elementary and secondary levels of education. There are some teachers who are accustomed to using words that may be mentally or psychologically abusive and traumatic for the learners.

There are a group of teachers who bully their students in different ways. It may range from body shaming to mocking at the ethnic or religious or gender identities of the students. If I narrate my own experiences, I have to use countless words regarding that. I am very much fortunate that I previously taught at some schools in different parts of Bangladesh and I'm currently teaching at a Government High School here in Khulna. My personal observations regarding using bad and inappropriate languages in the classrooms by a group of teachers are a bit shocking.

In the classrooms, some teachers yell at the students to create long-term panic and fear in their minds. They frequently express their wrath and fury shouting at them saying the words like "Haramjada", "Bodmaes", "Shoitan", "Beadob", "Idiot", "Nonsense", "Rascal", "Scoundrel" and many more. Sometimes, they enjoy making fun of the students saying words like "Bolod", "Gadha", "Goru", "Hadaram", "Pagol", "Tarkata", "Tarchera" etc. These expressions are no doubt discouraging and humiliating for the students. Moreover, such types of negative approaches from the educators disappoint learners and make them delinquents and wrongdoers in the later phases of their lives.

There are some other teachers in the classrooms who commit serious crimes such as sexual harassment, racist comments, body shamming saying offensive words like "Motku", "Motu", "Hati", "Poultry Murgi", "Kalu", "Kalachan", "Negro", "Talpatar Sepai", "Hizra" etc. There are other instances of using inappropriate words by the male teachers towards female students like "Khala Amma", "Nani", "Dadi", "Shali, "Chemri", "Buri" and so on. In some cases, a group of teachers make fun of students distorting their original names. For example, they tend to call someone Janoar instead of Sanoar, Ajat instead of Azad. They may do such behaviours thinking that those are just for fun and nothing serious for the kids. But, they can't comprehend how harmful their such types of frivolous acts are for the newer generation.

Students who are repeatedly exposed to these harmful languages that are meant for sexual harassment, body shamming, bullying, making fun and belittling their characters suffer from long-term physical,mental and psychological pressure. They feel humiliated, dishonored, disgusted and disillusioned with the state of their lives and subsequently fail to dream big in life. Ultimately, they turn into nothing but less- qualified, unskilled and useless manpower of a country.It's a type of a harsh fate of their lives for which they are in no way responsible. Such is the  destination of the victims of bullying, sexual harassment and mental torture which are mostly caused by the use of inappropriate, objectionable, vulgar and sensitive languages in the classrooms.

But, questions arise, what are the reasons behind this scenario? Why do some teachers indulge in showing such a poor standard in the classrooms? Do they lack any knowledge or they just do it intentionally? One possible answer to this question may be that they are not properly trained,guided and handled by the authority concerned. Lack of proper training and guidelines is mainly responsible for this situation here in Bangladesh. Truly speaking, training facilities are not available for all and,in some cases, it is not mandatory for all levels of teachers to have a pedagogical training. Secondly, our socio-economic conditions and mindset are also responsible for that.As our societies are still underdeveloped and unaware of the importance of education, they are very easily deceived by those unethical teachers who intentionally bully our dearest children with the veil of their sweet and appealing words. Thirdly, in some cases, there are some students who like to be made fun of by their teachers. They often enjoy hearing cheap as well as improper language from teachers. Though these types of students exist in Bangladesh, their number is very low.

Whatever might be the reasons behind using improper language in the classrooms, it is widely-acknowledged that this is a professional misconduct and a clear offence from a teacher's part. A teacher who is supposed to spread the light of education and broaden our reasoning capabilities cannot hurt his or her students by using inappropriate words targeting them. As language is the medium of communication, it is the only fruitful weapon of a teacher to impart knowledge in the classrooms. So, there should always be a proper use of words before the learners to avoid the misuse of languages. Unless we stop using objectionable languages towards the students, we cannot stop spreading bad messages to the newer generation. And, obviously, its implications are disastrous and destructive in the long run


The writer teaches English at Paikgacha Govt. Girls' High School, Khulna