Monday, November 11, 2013

The words I banned from my classroom

Picture from Emily Henderson.
I was just writing a blog comment and I remembered something from my teaching days.  (Isn't it funny how something that you think about daily for several years can be lost from your memory when your situation changes?  That's kind of scary!)

I used to ban certain words in my interior design classroom.

Obviously swears weren't allowed in any of my classes.  That's not what I'm talking about.  After teaching design for a few weeks I realized my students weren't accessing their full vocabulary when describing rooms for their portfolio pages.

Cozy, homey and nice.

"Describe the textures in the room and the feeling that they give the space"

"The brick makes the room feel cozy"
"The couch makes the room feel cozy"
"The rug makes the room feel cozy"

I'm not kidding you, I had a student turn in three pictures and she described them like this.  And I don't even have to protect that kid's identity because it wasn't just one.  It was like half of them.  That's 90. 

So I banned the words cozy, homey and nice.  They were no longer considered specific enough for use in my class room. 

Other words I allowed in place of cozy: warm, inviting, intimate and comfortable.

This is the reason I feel the need to apologize to my students, because I totally just used the word cozy and I realize now that it is specific enough.  Homey and nice are not.  So sorry for not letting you use the word cozy, I just needed a break from it.  Still those examples I listed would only be worth 3/5 points.  The still don't fully describe the textures.

Homey is just a weird word.  What does that even mean?

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