Professors at a University in England have reportedly received a memo telling them not to use capital letters in assignment prompts. Why? Leeds Trinity University’s memo claims that capital letters and negative language used to explain tests or homework assignments can cause anxiety in students.
On top of refraining from using capital letters, avoiding “the overuse of ‘do,’ and,’ especially, ‘DON’T” is also recommended as part of an effort to reduce the use of negative language. Instead, teachers are encouraged to use a “warm and helpful tone.” The school’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret House says it’s all about “good communication” to benefit students’ learning experience, with the memo apparently based on “the latest teaching research.”
While school officials like Professor House are supportive of the new guidelines, some teachers think they’re a bit much. For example, one unnamed professor says that capital letters can be used to emphasize important points so that students don’t miss them. “We have some excellent students but it’s a constant battle against a system that wants to treat them like little kids,” the teacher adds.