Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 79 – Developing Writing – A Letter of Complaint

Woohoo! Developing writing is back! Today we’ve got ourselves a rundown of an email/letter of complaint, along with a phrase bank and an exercise for you.

Ban on Slang

In an effort to improve language skills, a school in London has decided to ban the use of slang by its students. The school has placed a series of posters around the school premises with lists of words that students are no longer permitted to use. The school’s spokeswoman explained at a press conference that ‘in addition to giving students the teaching they need to thrive academically, we want them to develop the soft skills they will need to compete for jobs and university places.’

The school has received strong support for the ban. Many people have praised the action, including the local MP, who said: “speaking slang is fine in a social setting…but a school should be a professional, educational environment, and if part of that means banning slang then that’s fine by me.’ His comments have sparked concern that the ban will now be extended to other schools.

Gateway B2+

So, what’s your opinion? Do you agree?

Here’s a letter from a writer’s opinion about the situation.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to protest about the possible enforcement ban on the use of slang in schools. I believe that this measure would not only be unpopular but would also be completely ineffective.

Although I agree that a number of young people use slang when they are talking to their peers, the vast majority of students are able to distinguish between when it is appropriate to use slang and when it is not, and are able to express themselves perfectly in more formal situations. The fact is that by trying to control the language that students use, schools will merely encourage the use of slang, since it is a well-known fact that banning something only services to make it more interesting.

To make matters worse, I believe that the measure will prove to be ineffective as the only way to enforce the ban is by means of supervising conversations between students. On the one hand, this could be highly expensive as it would involve installing more CCTV cameras or recruiting staff to listen to students during break times. On the other hand, if teachers are required to enforce the ban, this would surely take their attention away from the more important business of teaching.

In conclusion, I should like to draw your attention to the fact that there are more important issues that the school should be concerned with than the use of slang. On behalf of the numerous students who are hoping to attend university in the future, might I suggest that you concentrate on providing the best possible education and facilities, not on enforcing a ban that will simply alienate many students?

Writing Bank

  • I am writing to complain/protest about…
  • I am writing on behalf of…..
  • I should like to draw your attention to….
  • My second/next/main complain concerns….
  • To make matters worse……
  • I urge you to…
  • I demand that you…
  • I would ask you to….
  • Might I suggest you….?
  • The fact/trust/problem is that….
  • What annoys/surprises/amazes me is….
  • Yours faithfully (after Dear Sir/Madam)
  • Yours sincerely (after Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms)

Activity is in the podcast!

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