SNOW FLAKES : University lecturers told DON’T USE CAPS as it frightens students


UNIVERSITY lecturers have been told not to use words in capital letters when setting assignments because it might frighten students into failure.

Staff at Leeds Trinity’s school of journalism have also been told to “write in a helpful, warm tone, avoiding officious language and negative instructions”. Some blasted the move as “more academic mollycoddling” of the snowflake generation. An “enhancing student understanding, engagement and achievement” memo lists dos and don’ts – with “do” and “don’t” among words frowned upon.

Course leaders say capitalising a word could emphasise “the difficulty or high-stakes nature of the task”.

The memo says: “Despite our best attempts to explain assessment tasks, any lack of clarity can generate anxiety and even discourage students from attempting the assessment at all.

Generally, avoid using capital letters for emphasis and “the overuse of ‘do’, and, especially, ‘DON’T’.”

Using caps letters when setting assignments might frightens students into failure (Image: FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Lecturers: “write in a helpful, warm tone, avoiding officious language and negative instructions” (Image: Danielle Villasana/Bloomberg/ Getty Images)

The memo also says that staff must be “explicit about any inexplicitness” in their assignment briefs.

And it warns that when students are unsure of an assessment, “they often talk to each other and any misconceptions or misunderstandings quickly spread throughout the group (usually aided and abetted by Facebook).

This can lead to further confusion and students may even then decide that the assessment is too difficult and not attempt it”.

One staff member said they use capitals to emphasise the importance of a particular point so students do not miss it.

Students celebrate new NUS president with JAZZ HANDS

The lecturer said: “We have some excellent students but it’s a constant battle against a system that wants to treat them like little kids. We are not doing our students any favours with this kind of nonsense.”

The university said the guidance was sharing “best practice from the latest teaching research”, adding: “We take pride in supporting our students to be the very best they can be.”

Students at Manchester have voted to ban clapping over fears noise could trigger anxiety and suggest using “jazz hands” to show appreciation.


  1. It’s the easiest thing in the world, having somebody attack your target by accusing them of saying or doing something they didn’t.

    I suspect universities plan to massively hike fees so this claim is no doubt meant to wear down sympathies for students. The students aren’t suggesting this, the universities are, and if you denigrate students who are the targets of this silly campaign you were so easily conned. That or it’s fake news.

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