The Daily Telegraph reports today that "Pupils will be penalised in exams for poor spelling, punctuation and grammar under a sweeping overhaul of the education system."
There only seems one problem with this proposal, where are the teachers who are going to implement this change? The whole ethos of education for the past 30 years or so has been that as long as children can express themselves, spelling and grammar are irrelevant. I remember the days, before taking my 11-plus, when we had a spelling test each morning. Our teacher would dictate about twenty words which would be collected and marked during the morning break; anyone getting less than ten correct was in trouble. I have a feeling most of today's teachers couldn't pass the test themselves.
And judging by the frequent misplaced apostrophes, would their punctuation and grammar be any better? Just how many of today's teachers would recognise a split infinitive? I have my doubts if many could identify a noun and a verb!
I hope the government presses ahead with their proposals, but as with mathematics, I suspect that English language teachers are in short supply. I'm waiting for the howls from the teachers' unions along with lots of high sounding reasons why this will be bad for the children, but in reality designed to conceal their own shortcomings.
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