Friday, 25 January 2013

Why Our Children Isn't Learning...

Teachers at crisis-hit Addington High harm their students' English because they struggle with grammar and punctuation themselves, according to an official report.
Ofsted inspectors who visited the school in December have said the school is not ready to leave the special measures imposed by their colleagues in October.
Shocker, eh?
Chairman of governors Jo Tanner acknowledged work needs to be done to promote "high levels of literacy and understanding of grammar" among teachers.
She said: "It is something that we are working on as the governing body to tackle, we are looking at ways to support our teaching staff."
She said that she did not believe the problem of poor grammar was exclusive to Addington High nor to teachers.
"But miss! Everybody else does it!" Is that really an acceptable excuse, Ms Tanner?

500 lines and detention for you...


Macheath said...

Twenty-five years ago, teachers in training were sternly warned not to correct pupils' grammar; that, we were told, was cultural imperialism and devalued the pupils' chosen means of self-expression.

I think the idea was that, if the home environment did not supply a source of grammatical English, the pupil would somehow acquire it by osmosis, should it become necessary - much like the reading strategies of the time have proved so successful.

The result has done a great deal to reduce social mobility and, it appears, has produced a generation who, becoming teachers in their turn, lack the knowledge to correct pupils' grammar even if they wanted to.

True equality has been achieved; those 1980s educationalists must be very proud!

Anonymous said...


There is another way of looking at it, the people training the teachers did not want socially mobile children from poor backgrounds competing with their own offspring. Hence the line about cultural imperialism etc, keep the buggers down by any means possible and stop them competing with the middle classes.

It has been a roaring success, they have stiffled social social mobility for a generation and enlarged the underclass.

Anonymous said...

Years ago I worked for a smallish building company and we needed someone to do the office work, type the letters and calculate the wages. So I got the job of going through the CVs of the applicants and the preference from the bloke who ran the company was for a male applicant. He suggests one young applicant who was a church going christian as the man who ran the company was a church going catholic (also a serial adulterer but that is irrelevant).

I had to point out to him that,this was going to be the person who typed letters and put bid proposals togethers. It was in the days before PCs were prevalent and I would write out the document long hand but wanted someone to type it out and make it look good. The reason for my disapproval of the applicant, he did not know that 'alter' was not the same as 'altar'. Had the lad known the difference he would have at least got an interview. Decent grammar and spelling makes a difference.

Lynne at Counting Cats said...

Bring back grammar schools - the great social equaliser.

Able said...

I'm a little 'torn' about this.

On the one hand spelling is important, as Anon 13.24 illustrated the wrong spelling can entirely 'altar' the meaning of a sentence. I won't even mention the issues I have with your/you're or there/their/they're as I really don't want to have to buy a new keyboard (again).

On the other, most spelling and even grammatical rules are not only transitory over time, but by nation (compare/contrast with American English. I find it endlessly amusing that the 'most authentic' English currently spoken is that used by 'back country', 'cousin humping' American 'Red-necks' - it's almost Shakespearean in content).

Still, I think there is considerable difference between my 'small leeway' and 'function is more important than precise form' approach and the 'educators' belief that 'all rules are bad' and 'to correct little Johny will undermine his self esteem' approach.

I also suspect there may be something to what Bunny says.

Anonymous said...

Yeah but dey speak street ya feel me? Aight? An dey can rite reel good facebook tributes to fallen soljas yeah? Ya hear me?

James Higham said...

Part of the agenda from those with brains behind those without brains.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Stonyground says:

Double negatives are the thing that wind me up the most.

"I 'ant 'ad no tea".

So, you are saying that you have had tea.

"No, I 'ant 'ad no tea"!

So, what you mean to say is that you 'have had no tea' or that you 'Haven't had any tea'. Your statement that you Haven't had no tea implies that you have, in fact, had tea.

"No, I 'ant 'ad no tea"

Aedgar said...

I wonder if any of the Spelling Nazis can explain to li'l ole dumb me how, if spelling is so important that mis-spellings can completely change the meaning of sentences, we have no trouble at all in understanding each other when we speak. Its a reel Miss Terry two mee ...

selsey.steve said...

A friend of mine runs an engineering business, he's a brilliant engineer, employs nine other men, has an order book full for three months hence, making good money. With people he's not so good so when he needed an 'office manager' (someone to handle all of the paperwork and phone calls) he asked for my assistance.
I advertised the position and stipulated that all applications had to be hand-written. All subsequent applications printed by a computer were dismissed (the applicant couldn't understand a simple instruction) and the remainder were considered more deeply. Those applicants who wrote in 'txt-spk' (and there were a some) were likewise dismissed. Illegible handwriting, poor spelling and appalling grammar culled a large proportion of the remainder.
I called six for interview. Chewing gum during the interview put paid to one, wearing casual clothing and trainers did for another, two more appeared to be unable to converse in plain and simple English: slang and incomprehensible phraseology excluded them.
The final two I'd called because they'd both written on a single application. The handwriting of both was excellent, their vocabulary and general usage of the English language was good and their proposal was intriguing. The two persons who came into the interview were women, both in their fifties. Both wanted to work but each had commitments which precluded either working a full five-day week.
They assured me that the job would always be covered (they'd arrange it between themselves), they would also arrange to split the single salary on offer between themselves on a pro-rata basis contingent on hours worked; most importantly both had dressed for the interview, both were well spoken and both really wanted to work.
Despite opposition from my friend I hired both women.
Both have now worked for over five years and my friend assures me that the office has never been better run. His 'girls', as he calls them, now converse with his principal customers on first-name terms, 'word-of-mouth' recommendations have increased his business and the two ladies concerned now discuss technical matters with customers with aplomb!
Neither lady has any qualifications other than a decent education.

JuliaM said...

"The result has done a great deal to reduce social mobility..."

Which was, I suspect, a feature, rather than a bug, as Bunny points out...

"Decent grammar and spelling makes a difference."

Yup! First impressions really count.

"Double negatives are the thing that wind me up the most."

ARGH! Me too!

"Neither lady has any qualifications other than a decent education."

Because in their day, that's what you got!