Saturday, 3 January 2009

Negative connotations

A school has decided not to call itself a school, because the word has negative connotations.

I am not surprised. From its very start, children's literature has mocked school. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer it is depicted as the most horrendous place of torture; in one of Edith Nesbit's books, the children (quoted from memory) "hated school indiscriminately, which means that they hated all of it, from beginning to end". Pippi Longstocking makes school a laughing stock. In book after book, the characters hate school and teachers, play truant, cheat, misbehave, are bullied by classmates and teachers, learn nothing, and generally perceive school as a waste of time. No wonder the word has negative connotations.

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