LIAR-it is one of the most provocative words in the English language.

As an educator, I have witnessed its use result in more harm than good when dealing with students, parents and people in general. As a result, I recommend using the phrase “misrepresenting the truth” when dealing with these situations.

In my experience, by the time the listener has processed the intent is to suggest a lie has been told, any potential anger has dissipated.

In some cultures, the word LIAR or any derivative is unacceptable on just about any level. One educator I know of became the subject of an OCR investigation upon telling a parent his child had lied. The teacher was simply stating facts, but the parent felt otherwise and contacted the Office of Civil Rights. This event was an unnecessary misunderstanding which could have been prevented with more carefully chosen words. Culture matters.

I love what Judge Judy says about how one knows if a teenager is lying-their lips are moving. Though I am not as cynical as the judge, I understand what she means.

Students lie. Parents lie. Everybody lies.

But confronting a liar is tricky business.

We should just get past any perceived name calling and figure out why the truth was misrepresented in the first place.


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About barbarawmadden

I began teaching in 1981, but after a few years decided staying home with my children was what was best for my family. After almost 20 years raising four children, I returned to the classroom in 2005.

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