>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?
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 either.
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
Eileen Abrahamson e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Enhancing Students Learning Through Technology Collaborative Project