NZ First want to police our language

Credit: Rr

I really for the life of me can’t imagine what possessed New Zealand First list MP Jenny Marcroft to put forward a bill to make it illegal for people who teach others to call themselves teachers. This is a completely insane bill. It seems to be coming from the deeply flawed notion that you can legislate in order to give a profession more respect or status. I wonder if Tracey Martin is behind it and if Jenny Marcroft is just the front person? Whoever is behind it, they are attempting to police our language and to control what we can and cannot say.

Credit: SB Whaleoil

As others have already pointed out though there already are existing laws in place to deal with anyone who makes false claims about their qualifications. If I claim to be a high school teacher with a degree and teaching diploma and I don’t have those things then I can be prosecuted. Why should primary and high school teachers exclusively have the use of the word teacher? Many skilled people teach. How does it hurt my status as a high school teacher if someone who teaches ballet or karate or music calls themselves a teacher? They are teachers. To teach is to impart knowledge to or instruct (someone) as to how to do something.

 

 

Ironically the legislation that has the intent of improving the status of teachers with the approved set of teaching qualifications will have the effect of devaluing and undermining the qualifications and experiences of other people who teach. They will be forced by law to refer to themselves as a mentor, lecturer, tutor or educator regardless of how many years they may have spent studying or training for their profession.

This is not just an attempt to improve the status of primary and high school teachers it is also an attempt to police our language. How long before we are not allowed to use other words? 

Perhaps we will be told that only journalists who have been to journalism school will be allowed to have websites called blogs and to call themselves bloggers? Is this the beginning of the New Zealand Word police?

Perhaps we should only allow politicians to call themselves politicians if they have a degree in political science? After all, politicians have such a bad reputation, surely we should do something to gain them more respect and status? If they don’t have a political science degree they will have to choose a title from the following list instead:

  • lawmaker
  • legislator
  • officeholder
  • grandstander
  • orator
  • partisan
  • speaker
  • Party member
  • baby-kisser
  • handshaker
  • member of parliament
  • office seeker
  • public servant

 


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