‘Word jails’, ‘slang bans’ and the punitive policing of language in schools

Blog post written by Ian Cushing based on a new article published in Language in Society

The late, great linguist and educationalist Ronald Carter wrote that teachers can be forced into acting as a kind of ‘kind of linguistic dentist, polishing here and there, straightening out, removing decay, filling gaps and occasionally undertaking a necessary extraction’. In a new article published in Language in Society, I use Carter’s metaphor as a springboard to critically examine a spate of many current language education policies and pedagogies in schools which are driven by deficit discourses about linguistic variation and change. The focus of the paper is on primary and secondary schools in England who have implemented strict, prescriptive and punitive language policies which attempt . . . → Read More: ‘Word jails’, ‘slang bans’ and the punitive policing of language in schools