Rethinking How We Teach English

If you search for the the stats about the quality of elementary and high school education in the US, you’ll probably learn that it’s steadily getting worse. Here’s a great reference: https://pochp.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/education-degradation-ii/

Before we belong to the ELITE college grads, we need to be excellent writers (not if you were gifted with a talent for writing as in my case). And that can most probably happen only if the students were trained to write properly since elementary school. Here’s the bad news: kids can’t write and it’s getting worse. And this is happening worldwide in ‘democratic nations’ where the subject English is part of any course.

And we must thank Babson College professor Kara Miller for reviving the issue. “They (young adults) have either forgotten the rules of writing, or they never learned them in the first place”, she said and suggested this remedy: Rethinking the way writing is taught in high school and the way teachers are compensated. In the present age, students, and even professionals, are forced to be netizens communicating and gathering knowledge online. How can we do that effectively if we can’t write effectively?

In the Philippines, I was once shocked when I found out that public elementary textbooks are teaching wrong grammar. That was way back 1996 and is still a problem until now!

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About DigitalPlato

Poch is a Bookrix author and a freelance writer. He is a frequent contributor to TED Conversations.
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8 Responses to Rethinking How We Teach English

  1. lori78 says:

    We need good teachers. And to get good ones, they have to be properly compensated. It’s hard to teach. And also they have to formulate a curriculum to make it fun for children to learn.

    Abbreviating words as used in sms doen’t help.

    • pochp says:

      Hi Lori,
      My sister who teaches specal children in the US doesn’t complain about compensation but as if you read her mind, ‘they have to formulate a curriculum to make it fun for children to learn.’ That makes me think about compensation.

      ‘Abbreviating words as used in sms doen’t help.’
      lol you say it.

  2. Gryphon says:

    DevHub won’t let me verify my email over at Plato Press. I have been trying for over an hour. It says the server is down for maintainance amd will be back up shortly. Like I said I have been trying for about an hour and a half now.

  3. pochp says:

    ‘I ALSO strongly believe that a higher bar and more requirements for the Social Sciences are needed. So much emphasis has been placed on the natural sciences in the past 30 years that it has almost completely eclipsed the social sciences–the result of which I believe can be seen and felt in the near destruction of healthy public and social behavior of children coming out of the public system.’

    That is another issue G but I agree. It’s like the issue of spanking children -we either spank them for their moral good or we don’t so they’re IQ won’t be damaged.

    • Gryphon says:

      I believe it is a concurrent issue. This country’s raw science skills fell so far behind the rest of the industrialized world that we pushed the pendulum swinging in the direction of emphasizing studies in the natural sciences and neglected to halt the swing before it got too far past the social sciences.

      The social sciences rely MUCH more strongly on language and writing skills than do the natural sciences. It is little wonder to me that we find writing and language skills falling off when we stress almost exclusively academics that mostly rely on the abstract writings and formulations of the natural sciences.

  4. Gryphon says:

    I remember during my high school days the school system going to a nine week grading system and offering english courses on a revolving elective system. At the end of each nine weeks the students got to choose what the theme of the next nine weeks would be. Grammar and writing became one of these nine week courses and once you completed that particular segment all other courses for the year were such that little or no emphasis was placed on writing and the skills necessary for it.

    I was a poor student back then. I was much more interested in smoking grass and being a star in the school drama club. I squeaked through public education with a C average and even had to take 9th grade lish over again in summer school. Fortunately, I had a talent for writing too, but did not begin to fully realize it until years later — I wrote a couple of pieces for the school literary magazine but it was just for a lark and I had no idea and no encouragement for my unrealized talent.

    I think I might disagree — slightly — with the notion that ALL students need to be taught to be excellent writers. So much depends on how “excellence” is defined. I DO believe that a bar has to be set that is much higher than it is today for this ability. I ALSO strongly believe that a higher bar and more requirements for the Social Sciences are needed. So much emphasis has been placed on the natural sciences in the past 30 years that it has almost completely eclipsed the social sciences–the result of which I believe can be seen and felt in the near destruction of healthy public and social behavior of children coming out of the public system.

    I didn’t mean this to be an essay. 😀 But there it is.

    I have posted my last post in the Aerie.

    M.

  5. pochp says:

    You’re really one lucky dude Dood. You’re advice on selecting
    the right environment is tops and wise. Do you know that there’s
    a city in California where even autism is clustered!?

  6. writerdood says:

    My kids are lerning Engrish pretty good at their skool. Actually, I’ve been impressed with their education so far. Math – not so much, but their writing is coming along nicely.

    There seems to be a lot of disparity between schools in the US. It really pays to shop around before you buy a house. Selecting a home in a good school district was a major factor for us.

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