Learning and Study

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

When writing about youngsters in schools, there are two lines (schools?) of thought about the term to be used.  Is it pupils or students?  Students, of course, is le mot juste for FE and HE, and a generation ago it was always pupils in schools.  I guess that even when I was in the 6th form (it was a while back), I was only ever a pupil.

But these days, it's less clear cut.  In my own scribblings, I tend to use students for both schooling and HE/FE.  But doing so runs foul of the Times Style Guide which says:

"Student is now commonly and rather tiresomely used to refer to schoolchildren. There may be little point in resisting this as the usage is almost universal within the education system, but there is certainly no reason to encourage it. Pupil remains a perfectly good word for those engaged more in learning than in studying."

So, in order to maintain a distinction between two words [student / pupil], a distinction has to be made between two others [learn / study].  But hang on, tiresome though it might be, do pupils not study in schools?  Do students not learn in college?  And can't you study without learning – and learn without studying?

Well, you can.

I use "students" because it seems a word that takes young people and what they think just that little bit more seriously.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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