Teacher reveals she BANNED the word ‘naughty’ from her classroom

Teacher reveals she BANNED the word ‘naughty’ from her classroom because she didn’t want to ‘label’ children – but is slammed by parents who think the move’s ‘ridiculous’

  • Sue Atkins, a former head teacher, said using the word is negative for children
  • Claire Muldoon, mother of four, said children need to know if they’ve been bad 
  • Fans of the show via Twitter thought that not using the word was just ridiculous. 

 A former head teacher has appeared on This Morning saying she banned the word ‘naughty’ in her classrooms as she didn’t want to label children. 

Sue Atkins, a former deputy headteacher, who qualified at St Mary’s College, London, said that using the word is negative for children.

It comes as research found that almost all (95 per cent) of nursery teachers said they’re not allowed to call a child ‘naughty’ in their nursery.

Claire Muldoon, journalist and mother of four, disagreed with Sue saying that the word should be used so they know the difference between right and wrong.

While parents and fans of the show via Twitter thought that not using the word was just ridiculous. 

Sue Atkins (left)  former deputy head teacher, who qualified at St Mary’s College, London, said that using the word is negative for children

Parents and fans on the show via Twitter thought that the move to ban the word was just ridiculous

Starting the debate presenter Eammon asked: ‘If you don’t call them naughty when they are, what do you call them?’

‘It’s about not labelling a child,’ Sue argued, ‘if that’s all you are saying to them that becomes their inner voice and it doesn’t teach them anything and I’m all about making them learn the next time.’

Eamonn disagreed asking: ‘I think there are worse words you can use, so how do you tell them that they’re misbehaving?’

‘You have got to tell them that that bad behaviour has consequences. Children are motivated towards or away from something – you don’t want to label them as the naughty one as they’ll get demotivated,’ Sue said.

Sue believes that using the word naughty is bad as it means you are labelling a child and that won’t teach them anything

Claire said on the show that what you’re saying, by using the word naughty, is that your behaviour is wrong and, what you have done is naughty

But Claire disagreed saying: ‘You can not reason with a three or four year old – it is short, sharp, shock – I’m a mother of four, you are not labelling them by using that word, it is a nicer word to use than any other word.

‘What you’re saying, by using the word naughty, is that your behaviour is wrong and, what you have done is naughty – from pulling hair or ripping up a picture. But there is no point sitting down and saying “the impact of your actions are….you’ve lost them then”.’

Sue went on to say: ‘Children do need time outs  sometimes and they do need rules, but it’s bad to constantly label them – I was told I was bad at maths as school and I grew up not wanting to do maths.’

Twitter fans thought the debate and research was ridiculous, with some making jokes about it 

‘What the research is trying to say is if you label them as naughty then they will try and live up to it – but I don’t think it’s a bad word.’

Claire went on to add: ‘What professional would actually label a child though? In every section of society you need to have someone that tells you what is right and what is wrong and that starts at the preschool ages.’

Twitter fans thought the debate and research was ridiculous: ‘We just live in a world now where people are afraid to do or say anything. It’s just ridiculous,’ one wrote.

Eammon Holmes and Rylan spoke to the two women on today’s show about the research from nurseries

Sue Atkins, a former head teacher and a journalist and mother of four Claire Muldoon debated the subject on todays show 

While another joked:  ‘There was a girl in my cousin’s class known as ‘naughty Rachel’. She’d earned that title, not lived up to it.’

One Twitter user argued this was why children had no discipline: ‘No wonder kids today are growing up with no discipline when we’re not even allowed to tell them that they are doing wrong anymore!’

While another said understanding is better than labelling: ‘“You have to understand why they’re behaving this way” I was naughty because I was bored, sometimes it really ain’t that deep.’ 

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