Sunday, December 21, 2008

Who's to blame ?

There's no doubt the proper use of the language has declined over the past 40 years. Standards have been lowered, parents don't take the time (or have the time) to help their children along, and for too long there has been a reluctance to fail students who don't make the grade (I graduated from college with people who still couldn't string a sentence together -- and this was a journalism program).

Barry Turner has the following opinion:

The culprits are many and varied. The rot set in early in the 1960s when schools adopted a libertarian approach to education which involved giving up on difficult subjects including grammar. Led on by politicians dedicated to mediocrity, (or ‘equality’ to use the accepted term) teachers were encouraged to set standards by the lowest common denominator. The impact on English was catastrophic as the best educationalists soon came to recognise. But it is easier to destroy than to build and the return to formal and effective learning still has a long way to go. One has only to listen to the delegates to an NUT conference to know that for many teachers clarity of thought let alone clarity of language is way beyond their capacity. Dimly aware of their failings, the incompetents look to technology to compensate for poor linguistic skills. We are now committed to making our children computer literate; no matter that most are illiterate in every other sense.

The decline of English language teaching in schools had its knock-on effect on academia. A recent survey found that nine out of ten graduates submit applications that are full of spelling and grammatical errors. Are we surprised? Pupils who are unable to express themselves clearly become students who are unable to express themselves clearly. Worse still, some then become university and college lecturers. To judge their standard of communication refer to any book list for higher learning.

You can read the whole article here.

No comments:

Post a Comment