2005-07-19

Teachers consider banning 'fail'

According to members of the UK's Professional Association of Teachers (PAT), the word "fail" should be banned from use in British classrooms and replaced with the phrase "deferred success" to avoid demoralising pupils, a group of teachers has proposed.

My question is, how long would it be before the little mean kids that tease their peers for failing (or flunking, as the mean kids said at my elementary school) began teasing their peers instead for their deferred success?

My guess is not very long. No doubt the members of PAT have their hearts in the right place(s). It's too bad though that they have no understanding of the fact that euphemisms quickly become dysphemisms: that is, tainted by the very taboo they were intended to perfume. My favorite is the word special used to describe people who have learning problems and the like. While special might have enjoyed a brief period of euphemistic bliss, at the present time, calling someone special is liable to get them sideways on your gluteus maximus (or, ass). As seems so often the case with these idiotic feel-good measures, the tools that advocate for them have the best intentions, just little understanding of what the consequences might be. But, as a wise man once said, The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I might add, tainted euphemisms.

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