Saturday, October 18, 2008

Grammar makes a comeback after over 30 years

THE thinking that underpins the new national English curriculum cuts through years of nonsense and puts the teaching of English back on a rational and compassionate basis.

For 40 years we have cruelly turned aside from the needs of children wanting to master our complex, subtle and wonderful language and refused to teach them the skills to understand how English works. Without this understanding, their use of English is condemned to remain far below their potential.

It is as if we taught mathematics without the tools of addition and subtraction, without times tables* and an explanation of fractions, but still expected to get good mathematical thinking, analysis and problem-solving from our young people.

The tool of phonics allows the child to understand that a squiggle on a page stands for a sound that relates to the way he or she has learned to hear and speak words.

The Australian October 18, 2008.

Letters on the subject in The Weekend Australian today.

*Just quietly, the times table was not drilled into my head in primary school when I was there and I think that's part of the reason that my mathematics skills are almost nonexistent.

Pix from Wand in comments. Maybe their pressure cleaner is really strong? It's cleaned off the 's. (I've done the apostrophisation, too. When I've been in a hurry.)


Skeeter said...

Only yesterday we had to correct our 46-year-old daughter's grammar. She used subjective case "I", instead of objective case "me" because it sounds classier (to her) after "and".
She took our correction in good spirit and promised to try harder to get it right next time.

Nilk said...

Oops! I was correcting my daughter's use of "me" and "I" just this morning, but she's 6. It did cross my mind that I might be starting on her a bit young, and then I thought, sod it.

The teachers are going to hate me as she goes through school. :)

Wand said...

At last some sanity may return to English teaching and children will be provided with useful language tools. As pointed out in the story in te Australian there will be a challenge to teach the teachers but I think it’s best to start now rather than leave it until teaching formal English has moved beyond living memory.

This story prompted me to take two photos that I have been meaning to take for some time now. So, as it’s a pleasant day here today, I took the MG and put the hood down for a short drive to a BP Service Station about ten minutes away. The photos are
Photo #1 and Photo #2.

The first photo shows the location with a car wash on the left hand side and the second photo is the sign outside the car wash. Enjoy! Now I think this sign is an absolute gem, in fact almost priceless and when I first saw it a year or so ago I commented about it to the Service Station operator. He just did not understand and greeted me with a blank look.

At the time I thought it would be worth returning to take a photo but it was only this afternoon that I have made the effort.

Now I trust readers will be pleased to know that the Service Station operator noticed my taking photos this afternoon and came out to enquire who I was and why I was taking photos. I declined to provide any information and in turn asked him why he had to know. He muttered something about the manager having told him to ask when he saw anyone taking photos. Now I did recognise that there would be many BP Service Station tourists taking photos of all BP Service Stations around Sydney and he would like details to be able to complete his tourist register but in this instance I left him disappointed. I provided no name and no reason for my actions and I was quite explicit in letting him know that I would provide no information whatsoever. I think he may have been frustrated though I did refer him to the number plate on my car.

Prior to the discussion with this fellow I was inclined to fill the car up at the same time. As it turned out I didn’t bother because I thought it would have more effect to calmly get in my car and drive away. Which I did.

Minicapt said...

You're right, he misspelled "gonne".


Anonymous said...

Completely OT!!!

Got the quinella, trifecta on the Caulfield Cup.

Not the first four but, bugger, I could have retired.

Analyse that!

My shout for all!

kae said...

Skeeter, Nilk, that's how they learn.

No Mini. It's 'gorn' in Aus.

Congrats, Mark. Do you have a system? Study the form guide? When I lived in Melbourne in 1990-2 I studied the form guides in all the papers and made selections according to the histories of the horses.
I chose 1st, 2nd and stone motherless last in one trifecta.
Then 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the other.

Grrr. If only. It paid about $3k!

Anonymous said...

Mad punter kae, form study (and LUCK)

Come Monday, the mortgage and the overdraft on the business will be payed off and still have about 6K to play with!

Ain't life grand sometimes?

Good luck with your puppy, (Floyd)?
We always say never again but, here we are, another little Aussie terrier, Started out with Lady, then Missy now we have a dilemma, what to name her?

kae said...

Mark, what a wonderful windfall! Great that it was large enough to pay off the biggies.
I keep spending the lottery I don't win (sometimes I have tickets, sometimes not), and the more I win the more I'll help friends and family - problem is that the biggest wins have been about $36, and it don't go far!

The pup's been named Horse. He's a funny little thing. Goes down the back, thru the fence to stay with the big dogs. When he's had enough he just squeezes through the fence again and sits outside sleeping, or he comes up to the house and howls for me... grr. Ignoring him. Ignoring him.

I'm sure he's being murdered.

But he goes back down with the big dogs after a few seconds and a couple of truly operatic quality WOooooooooooooooooooooooooooos and OWRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs,