Monday, 24 May 2010

Sinister Moves Afoot…

Lurking in my pile of 'things to post when the router situation is resolved' was this odd story:
Pupils should be given spoken as well as written exams to prevent left-handed children falling behind, a leading headmaster has suggested.
Aha! A new 'victim' group to provide special favours for! Won't the Righteous be delighted?
Anthony Clark said left-handers may benefit from oral exams in subjects such as English and history because they find writing awkward, reducing their chances of achieving good grades.

Spoken exams would give left-handed pupils a chance to shine because they hone their verbal skills to compensate for difficulties with writing.
That sounds suspiciously like the 'blind people have excellent hearing to compensate for their lack of sight!' old chestnut, which must really aggravate blind people who are now expected to become Matt Murdock...
Mr Clark, head of Malvern College, proposed the idea ahead of a conference on left-handedness to be held at the school next week.
There's a conference for this..?
Mr Clark said he had observed left-handed pupils having greater difficulty producing legible script than right-handers.

'When I see students writing, sometimes with difficulty - and many left-handers have difficulty with script - one imagines that they write less and therefore perhaps achieve lower grades than those who write more, because they have simply put less on paper,' he said.
So this is all supposition, based on what you've observed. It doesn't appear that you've even spoken to any of these pupils, or you've have a heartwrenching anecdote to share with us...
He said: 'I understand that 11 per cent of the world population is left-handed and believe that left-handers have had a disproportionately significant impact on the development of the world. Why is this?

'Is it because they feel constrained by the right-handed world in which they live?

'Is it that they perceive the world is against them and they seek inventive ways in which to manage the environment which confounds them?'
So, you think that being left-handed is a handicap that holds pupils back in exams, yet they have a disproportionate effect on the world's development?

Sounds more to me like exams are no judge of success, Mr Clark...

19 comments:

Blognor Regis said...

Just imagine where David Cameron or Barack Obama could be today if they weren't hampered by their sinister affliction.

Joe Public said...

"Mr Clark said he had observed left-handed pupils having greater difficulty producing legible script than right-handers."

He has very blinkered powers of observation.

FACT: Boys produce less-legible script than Girls.

What assistance, for boys at the expense of girls, does he propose?

P.T. Barnum said...

Memo to self: forward this to the 4 left-handed university professors of my acquaintance, pointing out that their success in exams in either (a) illusory or (b) blind luck.

Indyanhat said...

In that case I want EXTRA EXTRA help for being ambi-dextrous and not knowing which hand to pick when writing...oooooo decisions ...decisions!!!

Moriarty said...

I'm amazed that the quality of writing would have any effect on school performance at all in our progressive education system. Seems years ago they stopped marks being removed for bad spelling.

nbc said...

Yay, I'm in a "minority disadvantaged" group at last and can now insist on a left-handed screwdriver.

I must say that I'd like to change the world however most of the professionally offended wouldn't like it if I did.

Macheath said...

A quote from my son's English teacher:

"Left-handers and fountain pens should be kept well apart at all times."

If Malvern rules do not yet permit pupils to use rollerballs and ballpoints, it may explain some of the difficulty Mr Clark has observed: until my son's school relented, he and his fellow southpaws were perpetually covered in ink during the exam season.

Actually, I agree that left-handers write more slowly; however, if they also learn to make every word count, they are more likely to give concise, accurate answers with a minimum of waffle.

Ross said...

Can we not just go back to tying their left hands behind their backs and forcing them to write out- "The left hand is the Devil's hand" 500 times?

TDK said...

Given that there is some research that suggests left handed people outperform the right handed (eg. here, here and here), perhaps right handed people ought to be protesting.

A similar dynamic I guess to the victimhood of Gay Men who sffer more than £10k more earnings than the national average

John R said...

Presumeably, as the majority of us have had the Righteous on our backs for years, this new group will be annoyed by the Lefteous instead.

ivan said...

The problem is that left handed kids are not taught to hold the pen correctly in this 'education' system.

I was shown the correct way when I first started school, 40s, and so have never found writing left handed a problem.

RAB said...

Just off the top of my head, I wonder if there are a higher proportion of left handers in the Jewish population. Because as we know, Hebrew script runs right to left, not left to right as ours does.

Left handers would have no problem with it.
So here's a proposal. Let's let left handers write right to left. I mean, seeing as schools have thrown out all rules on spelin and punkuation, it isn't going to be any more hard to read now is it? ;-)

Macheath said...

RAB: one of my favourite memories is of the day my son's reception teacher - one of the Righteous and very PC - publicly reprimanded us for allowing him to use mirror-writing at home.

"It's not normal; it's human nature to write from left to right across the page" she squawked loudly in front of several other parents.

"Oh really? What about Hebrew?" answered the Spouse, adding helpfully, "Or Arabic? Or Japanese?"

Words cannot describe the expression of a paid-up multiculturalist suddenly realising she may be guilty of public anti-semitism.

NickM said...

What a load of bollocks.

My wife is left-handed and never had any problems at school or at university or indeed grad school or working as a professional writer (translator).

I on the other hand am a rightie and years trapped behind my keyboard has resulted in - well it looks like linear A is all.

MacHeath, I would have paid money to have seen that...

Indyanhat said...

As many children are now leaving school UNABLE to read or write properly anyway, why have we not instituted typewriters/computers as the main way in which to teach literacy.
Surely anyone able to use a type keyboard could also 'write' it if needed, in whatever way they managed it, it would be ok!!

blueknight said...

Arabic and Farsi are written right to left.
Does that mean that the left handed Middle Easterns have an advantage over the right handed ones?

JuliaM said...

"Just imagine where David Cameron or Barack Obama could be today if they weren't hampered by their sinister affliction."

Indeed!

"Memo to self: forward this to the 4 left-handed university professors of my acquaintance, pointing out that their success in exams in either (a) illusory or (b) blind luck."

I wonder how many fully qualified teachers will sit at that conference and totally missd that point as they nod approvingly..?

"Yay, I'm in a "minority disadvantaged" group at last..."

Let the grants flood in! :)

"Actually, I agree that left-handers write more slowly; however, if they also learn to make every word count, they are more likely to give concise, accurate answers with a minimum of waffle."

Well, that will NEVER do... ;)

"Presumeably, as the majority of us have had the Righteous on our backs for years, this new group will be annoyed by the Lefteous instead."

Heh!

"Words cannot describe the expression of a paid-up multiculturalist suddenly realising she may be guilty of public anti-semitism."

:D

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"left-handers have had a disproportionately significant impact on the development of the world. Why is this?"

It's because we're cleverer.

Simples.

bella gerens said...

What nonsense. Speaking as both a left-hander and a teacher, I can tell you that left-handed people would find it perfectly easy to write - and why not? - if their writing teachers in primary school allowed them to angle the paper to the right instead of insisting they twist their wrists in an attempt to pull the pen/pencil across the page.

Angling the paper solves both the physical difficulties (no more carpal tunnel, yay!) and the smearing problem, as the hand moves below the line of writing, rather than behind it.

Being left-handed is absolutely no excuse for writing crappy essays.