Don’t get triggered, life’s Lit!

Hello everyone, and welcome to a new column in our newsletter. I’m Claire Hanley and I am an English and Drama teacher as well as the Literacy Learning Specialist. As part of my role, I want to use this column to explore the most important and confusing element within our schools these days.


I want to try and work it all out for everyone.


I want to be the one to pass on my findings and say ‘Here, this is what’s going on’.


I want to open our eyes and reassure all of us, that we can work this one out.


And what is this . . . thing?


Well, it’s kids. What are they on about??? They say things and do things that don’t make any sense to us and I just want to know, what is going on?


The most beautiful and confusing thing about English is that it is a social language. Which means, it’s ever changing. It has and will always be that way. Nothing will stop it from evolving. It goes back centuries, where we started with sounds and then from sounds, characters were created. If you fast forward slightly, the Vikings invaded Britain, introduced their sounds, followed by another invasion and the passing of more sounds and characters.


Then an animal made a noise down the back paddock but Dot thought it was Terry calling out to her and so she passed on this new sound and character to her neighbours. And it just goes on and on.*


Our students have sayings that seem to make sense to them, but to us, it’s gibberish. In the back of our minds, there is a slight hope that the student has delivered a line that our French teachers have taught them at school, but deep down we know.


We just don’t understand. There is a language barrier. We are lost in translation.


This must stop.


In this column I am going to be translating all the lit** language the students are saying. We don’t have to be triggered** at something the students say anymore because we will finally understand. I am going to meet them at their level.


Come with me on this journey.


*Some of this may be factually inaccurate.


**Words kids are saying. I’m totally nailing it.



Claire Hanley

Literacy Learning Specialist