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Topic: national standards
Replies: 30   Last Post: Aug 2, 1996 9:11 AM

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Eileen Abrahamson

Posts: 85
Registered: 12/6/04
re: national standards
Posted: Jul 26, 1996 12:10 PM
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>I wonder if the passion for national standards and/or testing would be
>burning quite as high if spelling, grammar, and diction were made a
>major component (not to mention analytic reading ability)? Some folks on
>this list would be in serious trouble if asked to pass a rigorous
>examination on standard written English. Similarly, I wonder how English
>teachers would fare as a group on a test of mathematics through pre-calculus?

Hi Michael;

This statement fits with a discussion that I have been having with other
elementary teachers. We have been asking the rhetorical question "Where do
children learn vocabulary and syntax?"

The question came up because of the totally impossible task that we as
elemenatary teachers seem to face in this regard. I have 4th grade
children enter by room saying things like "I don't got none." and I know
that "not one" of the 4 teachers they have had previous to me ever missed
correcting this every time they heard it uttered.

Despite this constant education the children continue to speak this way. I
also know that children that walk into my 4th grade class saying "I don't
got none." will leave my class speaking the same way regardless of the
amount of time and discussion about "sounding educated" and "sounding
uneducated" I have with them.

Of course, as you probably have already guessed, when I conference with
these childrens' parents at conference they don't got none either.

The same issue appears to be true with vocabulary. Does anyone really
believe that 1032 hours of instruction, even if every minute of the day is
spent on instruction, out of 8760 hours per year is enough to completely
over ride the influences of the other 7728 hours per year?

Top that off with the anti-educational/ or perhaps even educationally
resistant attitude of the US population in general, with our highest paid,
most respected citizens being some of the least educated, and it is no
wonder. Actually many of these well respected, "hero's" don't got none

But don't you "dare" (and I am using the rhetorical you, not you
personally) tell me that the reason that those children do not use proper
english is because the schools, or I have failed them.

If a student goes through 12 years of school and still can not use even
acceptable english it is not because the schools or the teachers did not
constantly work on it. Perhaps it is because our society honours those who
"resist" education and succeed "despite" it. Perhaps it is because our
society constantly makes disparaging, disrespectful public remarks about
the institution of education, the value of education etc.

Think about the fact that in High Schools the worst public thing you can be
is educated - which students equate with smart, egg head, nerd, etc.

Just a though? :-)

Eileen Abrahamson
Enhancing Students Learning Through Technology
Collaborative Project

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