Sunday 12 July 2009

Getting A Job For The Facebook Generation... under the spotlight:
Teachers need to do more work to improve children's vocabulary and make it clear when the use of slang and colloquialisms are not acceptable, academics have found.
Handily, the 'Telegraph' gives some examples:
English literature A-level

"It's like, yea, Cleo is a player" – referring to Cleopatra in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

"He's always spouting off" – referring to Orsino from Twelfth Night

"So anyway, Viola's had it with Olivia and is fuming with her." question on Twelfth Night
Ouch! And it gets worse:
GCSE English

"Heani referz 2 poetri as wen humn xperiens cumz 2 life" – an essay on Seamus Heaney's poem Digging

"I was well bored."

"f*** off"
"This is less about correcting their English than making sure that they are aware of what they are saying and giving them access to different repertoires," said Professor Debra Myhill, author of the study.

"They need to be aware of what they are saying and when, and be able to make choices about their speech, otherwise they will lose out in areas such as the job market."
Who could argue with that?

And it seems that the recent fad for targets and learning only what is on the test paper is partly at fault:
"In order to develop children's writing more, we need to develop children's talking more," said Prof Myhill.

"It is not just about using standard English, it is about having more opportunities in class for children to elaborate, justify their decisions, discuss their ideas and give them access to a broader and richer vocabulary, though reading widely and word searches.

"We know that in classrooms that continually provide children with talk opportunities, there will almost certainly be a positive influence on their writing."

Look what happens when you don't provide that...

Update: Tim Worstall has picked this up too.


Plato said...

Great spot and it's frankly appalling!!!

Rob said...

The destruction of standards is not a bug of modern teaching, it is a feature.

Anonymous said...

Just read Theodore Dalrymple's(excellent) new book 'Not With A Bang But A Whimper'; it contains an excellent chapter on exactly this, where Dalrymple deconstructs the arguments of the educationalists whose mad theories have created a lot of this.
Highly recommended.

Steven Carr said...

Dalrymple's book is great - contains some marvellous eviscerating of liberals.

Anonymous said...

Well as a reasonably well educated observer of the wonderful world that is our Education system it is my regrettable experience that many of the teachers are less than capable of communicating in English. I had the dubious pleasure of marking A2 history papers and the candidates could not even spell "Hitler" and "Stalin" correctly still less construct a coherent argument. The standard of English is "the best ever" and ZANU-Arbeit Commisars would not lie would they?
Oh, silly me!