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Posted on November 20, 2012 2:20 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 614
The N-Word
My name is Kristin. I have taught high school English for nine years in a rural school. Recently, my husband and I had to move to a much larger city because of a promotion my husband received. I found a job as an English teacher at a high school that serves mostly African American and Hispanic students. My new students are nice and respectful. However, there is one issue that has been bothering me. I have been seeing my students talking to each other using the n word. They are not bothered by this, but even in class discussions, if they are responding to one another, sometimes they use the n word. In my previous school, we were very strict about these types of slurs. I am at loss now. Is this part of the school culture? Should I explain to my students why they should not use that word? Should I make a rule about it? I do not know how to deal with this.
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted December 5, 2012 8:54 pm

Savanna Hayman
Savanna Hayman
Reps: 104
As a teacher, I think that it is your role to make sure that students are educated about things both inside the classroom and out. I think a great way to make students think about the language that they use and explain to them why you are making a rule against the N word would be to teach a lesson on it. Show the origins of the word and teach the students what the word actually means. Then, tell the students that because of the terrible history behind it, that word will not be used in your classroom-slang or not.
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Solution 2
Posted November 30, 2012 2:11 pm

BreAnna Sinclair
BreAnna Sinclair
Reps: 118
I would set a classroom rule, even if it was not school wide, to remove the use of the "n word" in my classroom. I would explain that while most of the students do not seem offended by the word, others might, especially students who moved from other places. I would also explain why the word might be offense. I would explain that I'm trying to create a learning environment where ALL students feel welcomed and safe and I will not allow that word to be used in my classroom.
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Solution 3
Posted December 9, 2012 7:54 pm

Linda Swinson
Linda Swinson
Reps: 107
Although you are at a larger school this behavior is said to occur often, but yes I do feel you should express you concern over the use of the word. Students need to know that type of expression is out of order and you perfer them not to use it in your classroom.
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Solution 4
Posted December 2, 2012 9:01 pm

Jessica Oglesby
Jessica Oglesby
Reps: 110
Kristin, I think that you need to what best suits you in your classroom. I don't see anything wrong with making a rule that suggests students must use appropriate and respectful language in your classroom. I teach fifth grade and I have some words that I do not allow in my classroom, these words are "shut up" and "retard". I can not stand those words. I don't like the "n-word either", but luckily my students don't use that word as far as I have heard, but we do disuss negative and inappropriate slurs when discussing prejudice and discrimination. After establishing the rule I would then do a mini-lesson on why that slur is so inappropriate, maybe show clips from the Civil War. I hope this helps!
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Solution 5
Posted February 11, 2013 2:35 pm

Rachael Beck
Rachael Beck
Reps: 26
The N-Word controversy can be a tough one. It is more popular in some areas than others, but that does not mean that people wont be offended in those areas. You should tell the students not to say it since it can be offending to some people. They may not like that or understand, but that is why you help them to understand. Tell them that they can use terms like "African Americans" if referring to blacks, but that they should not use a term that can be offending to some. Tell them that it is enough to take it off the table since you find it offending.
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Solution 6
Posted November 30, 2012 5:08 pm

areli saucedo
areli saucedo
Reps: 119
Unfortunately, in the American Culture, media and entertainment have had a dramatic impact in the social life of the youth. Even slurs that were at one point insults, are now becoming part of the norm and becoming more and more acceptable. I would suggest the following solutions to the above case, first of all, I would have laid down the rules the first day of class.
It is important that the teacher enforce these rules and make them her priority.
Second, I would teach the class about the negativity that the word, "nigger" has.Perhaps giving them a lecture about the history that this word originates from can change their attitude towards the "acceptance" of this word and thus refrain from using it. I would also add other words such as, "nigger," "wet back," and "onion picker," all of these are racialized insults that can hurt certain people from different ethnicities.
Moreover, I would teach them that, "Respect" is a fundamental concept that should be used in the class setting at all times. This includes that they should respect the teacher and their peers, including refraining from using certain words that are not appropriate.
It is worth to mention that most of times, students express themselves in certain ways because they lack education at home. This is why I agree that it is the teacher's duty to educate her students so they can become better persons in the future.
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raWubu
raWubu
Reps: 97
I like this solution. I would make the lesson about the accomplishments and struggles groups of people had to go through in history into a research paper though. Get the students to find their own meaning and answers to the hard times a group of people had to go through just because of their gender, or cultural background. Educate the students so they know what they are calling each other.
  Posted on: October 19, 2014 10:06 pm

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Solution 7
Posted December 7, 2012 4:13 pm

Jessica DeLaigle
Jessica DeLaigle
Reps: 110
I would first make it a rule in my class that they need to respect each other and part of that would be not using that word. I would also talk to the principal and let them know how it's bothering you and that you don't feel it's appropriate for them to be saying it. Since it's high school though, I'm sure you're going to have a harder time actually enforcing it because they are older but I would let them know that saying it will not be tolerated.
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Solution 8
Posted December 7, 2012 10:24 pm

Art Buff
Art Buff
Reps: 111
Consult other teachers and your principal. Whatever they say is generally the way to go. It has been my experience that the students are completely aware of the origins of the word yet they have adopted it and changed the way it pronounced and used, therefore changing its definition entirely. I honestly agree that it should not be allowed in the classroom but it more importantly cannot be used in a derogatory manner if it is to be used at all.
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Solution 9
Posted December 8, 2012 10:29 am

Ariane Anderson
Ariane Anderson
Reps: 114
You should definitely explain to your students why they should not use that word? Give them the origin of where the word comes from. You should make a rule in your classroom. Whenever a student uses that word they will have to go through the consequences.
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Solution 10
Posted February 11, 2013 12:17 pm

Emily Austin
Emily Austin
Reps: 41
Being a new teacher, coming into a new school, you have to make your rules and wants clear to the students. While they may find it acceptable to use the n-word and some people still do that is their own prerogative. However, there is a time and a place for that language and if your classroom is not that place, you simply tell them that they are not to use that term. The use of that word can also be offensive to someone who is in the room or nearby, so the students need to be respectful of that fact as well. I would not explain why they shouldn't use the word because it is more than likely slang for them. However, it is your classroom and if you do not want that term used in your class, make a rule about not saying it.

That term is not appropriate for school anyways so I would also bring this up to the principal and see what she/he says about the issue. Maybe he/she can put a stop to the use of that term.
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Solution 11
Posted December 9, 2012 10:24 pm

Lindsey Harrison
Lindsey Harrison
Reps: 108
I would take the issue to administration and try to get them on board with removing the "n" word and making it a rule. I think that if this was a school issue than it would be easier to rid students of using the word if it turned into a group effort from staff and faculty.
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Solution 12
Posted December 1, 2012 2:00 pm

Sha'keela McClendon
Sha'keela McClendon
Reps: 141
As a teacher you should create ground rules for the classroom, telling them that using this word is inappropriate and wrong. You should explain to them that just because they say that word at home or hear it on television it is not the right word to use in the classroom. Consequences should be given to the students who continue to use that word. Tolerate nothing when it comes down to this word. African Americans have worked hard to be equal and that kind of ignorance is an offense.
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Solution 13
Posted December 1, 2012 4:55 pm

eRuLys
eRuLys
Reps: 16
As a teacher I would set ground rules about using the "n-word". The word is not a word that comes from any good. I would also explain to the students the meaning of the word, and why the word was used.
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Solution 14
Posted December 8, 2012 4:31 pm

Amari Hagan
Amari Hagan
Reps: 115
I will have a discussion with my class and ask them why they used such a word like that. Once I understand why the word is used often and no one is offended by the word. I would ask them to please refrain from using the word because its inappropriate. I would tell the history behind the N-word and why it is disrespectful to both me and them.
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Solution 15
Posted December 9, 2012 4:03 pm

Wendie Sikes
Wendie Sikes
Reps: 57
I think you should make it a rule that when they enter your classroom that they will respect each other in every way. I would call it the leave it at the door attitude. Explain to the students that it is disrespectful to use anything that has a negative connotation. Every time a student is disrespectful I would make them apologize. It will take a few weeks but students will not want to be embarrassed and have to apologize in front of the whole class. I have had to do this with some very class who were very talkative and it worked for me.
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Solution 16
Posted December 9, 2012 5:32 pm

John Buxton
John Buxton
Reps: 114
If you want to stop people from saying that word in your class, set a rule with punishment for every time you hear the word. Find out something that the students hate doing and then every time someone says the N-word, make them do that assignment. Give them more homework when they say the word, and if things do not get better, use official discipline referrals. Maybe teach a lesson on what that word represents and where it comes from. You might even bring in a guest speaker to explain the situation to the kids.
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Solution 17
Posted February 11, 2013 1:44 pm

Maggie Coyne
Maggie Coyne
Reps: 31
Although the students at your new school use the "n word" as a term to call one another in a non-threatening way, I think you have every right to be upset over the use of this word. If I were in your place I would talk to my students and explain to them that I am not comfortable with the "n word" being used. I think you making it a rule to not use certain words in your classroom is your right. If the students are as nice and respectful as you say they are then I think they will respect your request for them to not use the "n word" while in your classroom. You could also come up with a few other words you do not want your students to use while in your classroom to take the emphasis off of just the "n word".
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Solution 18
Posted February 11, 2013 1:44 pm

Maggie Coyne
Maggie Coyne
Reps: 31
Although the students at your new school use the "n word" as a term to call one another in a non-threatening way, I think you have every right to be upset over the use of this word. If I were in your place I would talk to my students and explain to them that I am not comfortable with the "n word" being used. I think you making it a rule to not use certain words in your classroom is your right. If the students are as nice and respectful as you say they are then I think they will respect your request for them to not use the "n word" while in your classroom. You could also come up with a few other words you do not want your students to use while in your classroom to take the emphasis off of just the "n word".
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Solution 19
Posted February 18, 2013 12:54 pm

Katy Willoughby
Katy Willoughby
Reps: 30
Just because using the "n word" may be part of the school culture, does not mean that it is acceptable to use it in school. I would start by having a lesson and explain the origin of the "n word." A lot of the students may not know where the word is derived from, they just hear it in the media. Through teaching that it is not a nice word, the students will know why they should not say it. Then create a rule that the "n word" should not be said in the classroom. This way the students are educated and understand why the rule exists, instead of telling them not to do it.
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Solution 20
Posted February 28, 2013 8:36 am

Candice Williams
Candice Williams
Reps: 102
Some students may not realize that saying this word is disrespectful, and I will emphasize that it will not be tolerated in my classroom. I will also explain to them what their consequence will be if they are heard saying it again after I have discussed the issue.
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Solution 21
Posted April 18, 2013 7:00 pm

ZeNyJe
ZeNyJe
Reps: 101
I think that you should make a rule that in your classroom, that word is not to be used. It is normal for students to refer to each other using the n-word however it is a derogatory word and it should not be allowed in schools. If I were the teacher, I would keep a tally every time the word is used and deduct points from the students who use it. The rule should be that the students cannot say any words that the teacher is not allowed to say.
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Solution 22
Posted March 9, 2015 2:44 pm

qaqeHy
qaqeHy
Reps: 101
I think having a classroom rule against that word would be appropriate. Students need to learn that there are boundaries that must be followed. For example, the boundaries are different at church, school, ball games, and at home. Students need to be taught that at school their are certain expectations such as appropriate forms of expression and words.
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Solution 23
Posted March 13, 2015 7:11 pm

qaGuqy
qaGuqy
Reps: 129
As a teacher, its hard to set the environment and tone of your classroom after the year has started. But, I do however feel at times it is okay to stop and adjust the problem when it arises and not wait until it has become a standard way of communication in your class.
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Solution 24
Posted March 16, 2015 1:22 am

atuTyL
atuTyL
Reps: 121
Make it a rule and an expectation. Let them know that it is offensive and also ask the school administration and other teachers how they feel about the situation. Teach them to address each other as sir, mam, or with something else other than that filthy word.
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Solution 25
Posted October 2, 2015 4:25 pm

neraXe
neraXe
Reps: 133
I would suggest talking to the guidance councilor, other teachers, or the administration. Although the 'n' word is seen as offensive the culture of this school and those particular students may be accepting of it. If you feel uncomfortable in the situations where the students use it I would make a class rule that it is not to be said within the four walls of the class. By 'banning' words like this students will be challenged to speak differently than they do in the hall or at home. For an English class this would be great because students have to articulate what they want to say in a new form.
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Solution 26
Posted March 9, 2016 8:48 pm

aZyLeq
aZyLeq
Reps: 102
I grew up in a the part of town that this was used in every sentence. I became so use to this word that I didn't realize it was being used after a while. What I suggest to you would be to have the students research slags of other cultures. They know the slangs of their cultures already so have them do research of cultures that were ostracized and unknown to them. Then show a few videos and movies to that they can get a visual as to how they were used. Then debate it. Open up a forum for them to express why these slangs are hurtful and then slowly let them connect the dots. Help them along the way to show how negative these words are and that your classroom is there be a positive support for them to learn new things. Then have them write a set of class rules that represent what it means to respect each other as individuals.
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Solution 27
Posted February 24, 2017 5:57 pm

nick morse
nick morse
Reps: 200
Educate the students on the history of the word.
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Solution 28
Posted February 21, 2018 6:23 pm

uJyGep
uJyGep
Reps: 200
I would address the students use of the word and let them know you don't want that word being used in your classroom. It is a sensitive topic, but maybe even address the historical use of the word. Either way, a classroom is a professional setting meant for learning and they should not be speaking in such a manner. A rule would be effective, but inform the class in a way that is not dismissive of the cultural use of such slang.
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Solution 29
Posted December 3, 2012 1:39 am

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
I believe that school rules against foul or abusive language already exist in most schools. No need to reinvent the wheel just enforce the existing rules. The notion that the N word is OK when applied between friends or racial groups is just something the media would like us to believe. I bet you haven't asked all black parents of children in your school if they think the word's use is acceptable. I knew a couple who lovingly called one another the B-word and the Ba-word but that didn't change the meaning of the terms a derrogatory. Pick any word like "stupid" and let a students peer group call them stupid and see how long it takes the student to think they are stupid. Foul or abusive language has no place in a classroom at Ford High School in Detroit or Statesboro High School here in Statesboro, Georgia.
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Solution 30
Posted December 9, 2012 10:32 pm

Suzi Hancock
Suzi Hancock
Reps: 134
I don't know if there's anything you can do this school year. You definitely need to start fresh next school year and lay some ground work. Set rules and enforce them. Make sure that everyone understands what's going on and what happens if the rules are broken. Maybe you could have a quick chat with the principal or guidance counselor for some advice.
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