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My students are using bad language… What to do?

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It can be shocking to overhear rude and obscene language from your precious children mouths. You may feel worried if the behaviour is getting habitual. There are a few areas to work on to make a change in the way your children speak. If done consistently you will reap the fruits of your efforts to teach the prophet ﷺ way how to speak, in shaa Allah!

Here are a few tips to support you.


Don’t overreact, Show Compassion to the child that uses bad language

Upon hearing a child using bad language, respond immediately, but calmly. Let him or her feel you care about how he or she speaks. When you do address the bad language directly, you might still feel agitated, but practise compassion here. These are children who have learned somehow to use these words. They need your support and guidance.

You can come down at his or her level and say gently: “That is a word we don’t use here.” If the child asks why, explain in a simple and kind manner why not. For example: “That can hurt someone’s feelings” or “Most people do not like those words.”

The prophet Muhammad ﷺ was gentle and his words never hurt anyone, don’t we want to be like him?

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

عَلَيْكِ بِالرِّفْقِ وَإِيَّاكِ وَالْعُنْفَ وَالْفُحْشَ

Your duty is to be gentle and beware of harshness and bad words.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5683, Grade: Sahih


Encourage Families

Encourage families to make it a family rule to use good language. Remind them to emulate the prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ did not use bad language nor cursed others.

In school newsletters you can regularly promote to use good speech and that it is a priority in school. Emphasise on the fact that good language will positively impact the learning environment. As a result children will feel happier and safe and promotes their learning. Remind families that children may be hearing conversations that you think are out of listening range. Remember—children will repeat what you say and do. Ask them to be alert and to be sure to use the same words that they want the children to use.

You can download our Sample Newsletter to send out to parents.

At parent evenings you can bring forward that we all need to make an effort together to be an example and use good language. Give some overview of learning targets, but also behaviour guidelines that are essential to instill at home that term. Support your explanation or writings with how you explain it to the children. For example. We speak good words, because the prophet ﷺ warned us about bad language and he advised to use Good language that dignifies us. Therefore encourage children and families regularly to use language that elevates us.


Classroom Rules

Rules in a classroom need to have meaning for the children. They must feel the rules are here to protect us all. It is very effective to talk with children after an incident, analyse it together and then derive from the outcome of that talk a very clear rule.

Children must fully understand simple class rules and why they are needed. When some situation occurs and you can discuss right away or later what had happens, show them that it is the reason why we have that important class rule.

Download our FREE KINDNESS POSTER to hang in the classroom.

Games, Role Play and Stories to teach good language

Creative ways to strengthen the understanding of the effect of words is something you can integrate in your daily program. At PEARLS Education, character building is paramount, so do check regularly for new games to use right away in your classroom and build a positive class climate with these stories and games.

In general short stories can help children to develop a growth mindset. It is a method to teach children the mental skills to be positive and confident which will help their learning in school. Stories take children to places where it is safe to dream and build their confidence that they can be like the positive characters in the story. Check out many stories to support your growth mindset teaching.

Story of the Tiny Frogs


What if after all my efforts, the child continues to use inappropriate language?

With any issue that keeps occurring after you have tried to influence the undesirable behaviour, you must be consistent with all of the above, but also try to figure out why a child may be using bad language. If you understand why a child uses inappropriate language, it will give you more clues for a solution. Watch closely to find out when the child uses inappropriate language and what’s happening at the time. It will help you to be in time to talk with a child and help him understand why he reacted with bad language. You will be able to show more compassion and also suggest a suitable strategy. Was what you said as a teacher or what other children said a trigger?

Find a solution with help of the child’s family

Let the child’s family know what the child has said and under what circumstances. Be careful not to blame or put down a child’s parents or family. The child may have heard the words from others or may not have used the words at home. Work with the family to find a solution and to use common way to respond to the child when he uses inappropriate language. Again, consistency is key!


Buy our KINDNESS SET with games and posters.

Author: Vicky Koolen

Aisha Vicky Koolen is one of the founders of PEARLS Education. She has a Bachelor degree in Education and a post graduate degree in Special Needs Education. Currently, she is studying Psychology at the Islamic Online University aspiring to contribute to the field of mental health in the Ummah.

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