20 September 2011

Proper use of language when communicating with children

All good people know that they need to convey only good things to children. However, sometimes, we may convey something without meaning it. Here is where choice of words is of paramount importance, whether it is oral or written communication. 

This morning when I was reading today's edition of the daily newspaper 'THE HINDU', I browsed through the pages of `YOUNG WORLD', the newspaper's supplement for children. (I am sorry that I couldn't access it's online version).

Page 2 of the supplement contained an article `To a nail-biting finish' on the lawn tennis champ Novak Djokovic, from Serbia, a country which was almost devastated by war for many years.

The article's first paragraph is as follows: "This year's U.S.Open has been a sumptuous fare in all respects. Right from Djokovic's unbelievable victory over Federer in the semi final to Serena Williams' angry rant in the final, there has been no shortage of pulsating entertainment...".   

The writer has done a good job in conveying the hard work and dedication of Novak. However, I think that he should have used any other apt word instead of "unbelievable" in the above paragraph (Is it unbelievable simply because he comes from a developing country?).

After all, no one's winning or losing in any game can be unbelievable. Winning or losing depends on nothing else but hardwork, dedication and God's Grace.

You may have come across words such as `fantastic' and `incredible' commonly used in wrong contexts.

It is very important that we use appropriate, non-ambiguous words and phrases when we communicate, particularly with children.  

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.