This week is student voice week on Teacher’s TV. However, I want to address student voice in a post later on this week. For now I want to look at the language that the student voice is transmitting.

From history there are many stereotypical traits of an English person, some of which I like, others which I don’t. Tea yes, chopping crusts off sandwiches no; fair play yes, big game hunting no; the desire to travel yes, white suits no. One trait I really admire is that of understatement. It is a technique seemingly lost on most students I teach. None of them are ever ‘peckish’, they are ‘bloody hungry!!’; they are not ‘good’ at something,
they’re the ‘f’ing daddy!!’

Contrast the above caricature of today’s youth with that of Sir Vivian Fuchs, a Polar Scientist who founded the British Antarctic Survey and in whose honour the Fuchs Foundation (the charity sending me South) was set up for (the daddy!). The following quote is taken from his book detailing the first ever land crossing of Antarctica (1955-58).

Then, in a twinkling, a snow bridge fell away beneath ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ [a large snow-mobile] leaving David Stratton and myself suspended in mid-air over an impressive chasm. The hole we had made was about 15 ft wide and 60 ft deep to the first step in the walls of the crevasses below. Peering out of the right-hand side, the situation looked distinctly  uncomfortable, for it was impossible to tell how firmly we were wedged against the sides, and in any case there was nothing to step out on to …

From ‘The Crossing of Antarctica‘ by Sir Vivian Fuchs and Sir Edmund Hilary, Casell & Company, 1958

I’m not sure that today he would be ‘suspended’ over an ‘impressive’ chasm feeling ‘uncomfortable’!

My real worry is if words show underlying feelings, then the young generation prefer continuous chaos to calm.


Above: A similar but not so bad situation