Thursday, July 05, 2007

Government run education system

This disgraceful piece of rubbish was written by a local secondary school principle
After reading it, you can:
1: Vomit
2: Read my reply to him (below)
3: Write a letter to the Bay news and tell them what you thought of it

Can texting spur a revolution on spelling?
Young people have evolved a new script and a cost effective reason for using it. They are breaking free of spelling dogma and expanding the alphabet with emoticons
Texting is the shorthand of the computer age. It is concise, cutting through verbal jargon which professional classes use to exclude the less educated.
The texters A-Z, a dictionary compiled by Andrew Johns points out that a mobile texting literally puts a price on waffle, while ingenious abbreviations have been contrived to capture vaguely philosophical thought, a loving sentiment or a beautifully crafted obsenity.
The texting generation may yet realise George Bernard Shaws dream of liberating the English language for all of us.
The NZ Qualifications Authority has declared it WILL accept text messaging short forms in school exams.
When Noah Webster invented American Spelling it was applauded for its commonsense. For that reason the British treated it as foreign, vulgar and worse,of all, American.
While plain writing is considered a virtue, plain spelling is a vice though English spelling makes little sense. Not to spell properly is a sign of being common, as once was ignorance of Latin.
Across the globe, students of English are driven to distraction by its spelling. While English adapts its vocabulary to circumstance, it is very reluctant to adapt its spelling. Every time we write cough, bough, through and thorough (not to mention write), think of the teeming millions of students who ask their teachers why? English is perhaps a more sensible alternative.
In Shakespeares day, authors conveyed the clearest message with random spelling, even of Shakespeare's own name.
In 1992 a Gallup poll suggested that only one in six adults can spell accommodation, business height, necessary, separate and sincerely; 10 per cent got them all wrong. While we may be amazed by this result, in truth it could be a comment on the archaism of the spellings. Most English words are twice as long as they need to be, with unvoiced vowels and surplus consonants.
Scottish Qualifications Authority are adamant that they are not rewarding text spelling in allowing its use, as there are no marks for it, only for accuracy of meaning. Pupils will be credited for quoting 2b or not 2b but will get higher marks if they spell it correctly. That they should be penalised for an offence that Shakespeare himself committed is perhaps strange. Are they not saving paper and helping the examiners by their brevity. It is possible that the young will reform English spelling on their own. Already millions of fingers are tapping out a revolution.

Mount Maunganui College.
Acknowledgement: Simon Jenkins, The Guardian.

My reply to Mr Collett

I was horrified to read the views of principle Terry Collett in his column. No wonder our children are failing miserably if this is the outlook on education that principles of government run schools are taking!
They are obscene in their willingness to accommodate underachievement while in doing so penalise those who actually achieve.

To confirm this fact the NZ Qualifications Authority will now accept text messaging short forms in school exams. There truly is no hope of actually getting a valid government-run school education now.

Collett states that in 1992 only 1 in 6 could spell certain words, and goes on to blame it on the English language itself. I call this passing the buck. This is what I blame it on: The Government run school curriculum discarding the teaching of phonics and opting for the Marie Clay "Look and Guess" system, which has left several generations of Kiwis adrift in a world of words without any means by which to decode them.
The results can be seen in literacy surveys such as the 1996 world survey on adult literacy, which demonstrated all too clearly -- and it’s worth reminding ourselves of this fact frequently – that too many New Zealanders emerge from school without two of the basic skills that were once (pre-Clay) taught there: they can neither read nor write at a skill sufficient to function in the modern world.
The survey found that a staggering 66.4 percent of Mäori are below the minimum level of “ability to understand and use information from text,” and an equally tragic 41.6 percent of non-Mäori. 40 percent of employed New Zealanders and 75 percent of the unemployed are below the minimum level of literacy competence for everyday life and work. Blame THIS on the one-size-fits-all state-school curriculum.
The Labour Department estimates that up to 530,000 New Zealand adults have inadequate literacy and numeracy skills. 530,000 New Zealand adults! You’d have to think that levels of illiteracy that bad did not happen by accident, and you’d be right. They happened after Marie Clay’s “look and guess” method of reading was substituted for the teaching of phonics.

The problem of rampant illiteracy has for too long been denied, disguised and explained away by insiders such as in Colletts column, and in the training colleges and the elite clique of educationalists who have followed along behind Marie Clay.

After reading Terry Colletts column I had to stop and ask myself "why I get so upset about stuff like this" Why don't I just shut up and let him get away with it! Nobody else seems bothered to challenge what he says! But to do so would be to agree with him, to bow to the increasing stranglehold of mediocrity and underachievement, and the continuing downward slide in the quality of the compulsory government-run education system.

Does Collett suggest that in the future, journalists, newspaper and magazine editors, will not need to spell correctly? In my job as a graphic designer, in the last few years especially I have noticed how many of those wishing to make a career in the industry couldn't spell if their life depended on it! Who in their right mind would employ THEM? 25000 brochures with wrong spelling and the customer doesn't pay the bill!
Perhaps they could send their boss a text message saying "sory"


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