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How They Teach English In Our Schools

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Nov 18, 2002.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Besides learning that Ahmad received an A in English 101, I was also able to glean from his answers to my questions that Professor Benton, a passionate advocate of diversity in education, believed that to correct Ahmad's sentence structure or grammar would offend his cultural sensibility and obstruct the class's primary purpose to empower non-native students.

    A community college professor teaching English 102 summarizes examples <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/oped/chi-0211130149nov13.story?null">of his students' writing skills</a>, including lack of punctuation and formatting, and poor usage and spelling.

    The kicker is that these students had received excellent grades in English 101. What were their previous professors' excuses for this? They didn't want to cripple the student's creativity and enthusiasm with such petty criticisms.

    I'd like to consider myself as someone who not only uses English language, but adores it. But when I hear stories like this, where our future Americans will be writing and reading..... :mad:

    I remember when I was doing research on religion, and Jewish Cabala in specifics. There is one sacred rule in Orthodoxy and it's that you do not attempt to teach anyone anything--by yourself.

    Why, I asked? I thought that being a teacher is the highest thing you can do to someone. Not so, the great philosophers would say, teaching is a very dangerous entity. Even if you think you know something 100%, you need to have it checked by someone else (in these times we would call that backing it up with sources). The reason for this is that giving someone false information and lauding their results due to this misguidance, is one of the forms of breaking the sanctity of knowledge.

    Now, perhaps you disagree with that, perhaps you think they over-react or exaggerate.


    But what do you call a teacher who knowingly does something as described above? Where is the responsibility, the integrity, the honor of being a teacher if you are being subjective on your pupils?
  2. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    That's horse crap. This teacher did not only the student a disservice, but taxi cab passengers throughout the nation.

    Just kidding on that last part.

  3. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Yikes!! Sounds like more grist for the mill. The horseshit has finally escaped the public school system and the cancer has spread to the community college level.
  4. BigDeputyDog

    BigDeputyDog Straight Shootin Admin Staff Member

    Eye, four won, have know problem with this perfesser teeching the weigh he duz to the stewdents he is sposed to teech cause if he did try to currect them then he wood maybee hurt there feelings and they wood not halve the confadense to go out into the wurld to get a good job and be a producktive member of sosighety cause hes not their to insure that they get a good edjukation by making them do things write but to get them out into the wurld so that they feel good about theyselfs

    BDD... :{)
  5. -Ken

    -Ken Guest

    More grist for the mill.

    Ah, while I would have a tough time agreeing with this professor, I
    need to bring up one small point. While I am no master of my native
    tongue, I try to watch spelling (I'd be lying if I didn't tell you every post
    is C & P into Word for spell check). I will also use Google for anything else
    Word can't supply.

    I do this in an attempt to be more professional and not insult people here.
    I am however somewhat careless with grammar and I don't think I can
    remember the last time I used the word "whom" even though I knew
    it belonged in the sentence.

    Conversely, here on the net, I constantly see what would be considered
    glaring mistakes ranging the full gamut from improper spelling, incorrect
    grammar, lack of capitalization (including the word "I") and the misuse of
    words apparently for the sake of sounding intelligent.

    For some reason, we all agree to put that aside here. While never being
    officially mentioned, nobody corrects spelling mistakes or bad grammar.

    There are two issues I would like to bring up.

    First, what we are really dealing with here is the ability to communicate.
    As long as we can understand the other person, this is what's important.

    Second, could it be we are witnessing an evolution in language. Nobody
    here would argue that language has changed in the last two hundred
    years (of for that matter, in our lifetimes <i>Groovy, huh?</i>).

    I guess the question is, could it be we few who believe in the purity of
    our language are just old farts resisting the eventual change?

    WORD - <i>Whatever the hell that means!</i>

    I hope not. There is something of an art in the use of language. I think
    it was Martin who reawakened this inside of me.

    Ah well, I don't think I've gotten my minimum daily requirement of abuse
    yet, I guess I have to go to work.

    Ethics, real good stuff. Maybe a Post of the Week candidate? I think so.
  6. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    The English language is not taught in schools in The United States of America, The AMERICAN language is.

    The gulf between the two widens by the minute - in my opinion its not a pretty sight.

    One might say I am experessing my distaste for the dissonant sonority of the modern American lexicon.
  7. immortal one

    immortal one 501st Geronimo

    Yesterday at the mall, I overheard a conversation between three teenage girls. They were sitting at the table next to me at the food court. I listened to their conversation, heard every word, but could only understand between 60% and 70% of what they were trying to say. It was very sad.
    I've heard better language skills on children who were half their age.
  8. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    I believe a certain allowance for relaxed standards can be made in informal situations, such as a couple of girls gossiping, or for most of the less-scholarly posts we all make, here and elsewhere. I, for one, rarely hold my e-mail messages to the same standards as an essay on the decline of the American political system ;)

    Loose grammar, now and then, is not only acceptable but expected, in those informal situations.

    During the teaching of an English composition course, be it first year, second year, or later, students must be held to strict standards. Teachers who make allowances are intellectually lazy and, ultimately, are doing a serious disservice to their students.

    Before we can mis-use a language, we must first learn its proper use. Beyond the practical application of making oneself understood by others, failure to learn the proper use of a language will inevitably lead to reduced comprehension of written material.
  9. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

  10. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    Does anyone know what has happened with Ebonics? Is it taught anywhere or has it finally died? Personally, I think it was nothing more than an excuse to create something just for black people who are too lazy or too "black" to speak as white people do.

    Since the overwhelming majority in this country have no idea that the circumference of a circle is equal to twice the radius times pi, perhaps we should change it to make it easier for everyone? Maybe we should just replace pi with exactly 3 from now on since it's close enough?

    The more I think about it, it's just plain laziness. People don't like learning grammar, so people develop horrible writing and speaking skills. I know it's not always an accurate indicator of intelligence, but I very often stereotype people I meet by how well they use the English language. There is definitely a strong corellation between the two.

    Ken: FYI, I heard from a high school English teacher that the word "whom" may soon disappear from the English language since very few people use it. Even fewer use it correctly. I smirk everytime I hear someone use that word incorrectly because most people who use it are just trying to SOUND intelligent. It might work on stupid people, but it has the opposite effect on me! :)
  11. Sunriser13

    Sunriser13 Knee Deep in Paradise

    I'm sorry, but in an educational environment that is absolutely unacceptable. Creativity, shmeativity!! :mad:

    There is absolutely no excuse for the product being released from our public school system these days. How in the hell can somebody go through twelve years of "education" and remain unable to even read????? This kind of bullshit is how!!

    "Oh, dear, we simply <i>can't</i> fail that poor girl!! We might hurt her feelings!!!"

    "That kid's the only way we're going to beat Bumfuck, Iowa's team this season. You'd better make sure he remains eligible for the team!"

    This makes me sick! <small>(Where's that vomiting emoticon when I need it??)</small> I was damn lucky. I not only went to public schools that saw to it that you knew the material before being promoted to the next grade, but I had a mother that made sure my grammar remained correct right down to the "whos and whoms".

    "Ain't ain't no word," was the fond way she corrected a speech pattern I was in danger of adopting after we moved to the western NC area - not criticizing the ones who used it, but making sure I <i>knew</i> the correct way. The love of reading she instilled at a very early age has helped me immeasurably; by seeing and understanding the written word, I grew to embrace the beauty of it. "Mother, what does this word mean?" "Look it up." Later I took encyclopedia volumes home from the library as recreational reading... World Book was boring, give me Brittanica any day...

    Sorry for the rant, y'all, I ain't got quite enough coffee in me yet... ;)
  12. immortal one

    immortal one 501st Geronimo

    I have always been impressed by those who could say the most, and yet use the minimal amount of words.
  13. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Ken, Stevent's post echoes anything I would say on the way people post on this and other forums. English class, you are supposed to be encapsuled by a different drive.

    Sun, well said! ;)
  14. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Slightly OT, but I tend to agree with this. Not only are you keeping your reader fixated, even the most lazy reader will read your writing to the end if you possess such talent as keeping it short and saying a mouthful.
  15. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Well, that rules me out!

  16. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    My father moved us from Peoria, IL when I was 13. He never learned to accept southern speech until I was in my 20's and expressed the argument that conversational English did not have to match written English. He accepted my argument, the offending term was y'all, but stipulated that it was only because I demonstrated that I knew the language that he would accept my conversational abuse of it. Wise words. Teach it and learn it correctly before you allow idiomatic abuse. If you don't at least recognize you are abusing the language you are merely another person who does not know it.
  17. Sunriser13

    Sunriser13 Knee Deep in Paradise

    Precisely, Shiny! Your dad sounds a lot like my mother was - once she was satisfied that I knew the difference, she could accept the (rare) usage of some of the bastardization of the language.
  18. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    Theres no hyphen in 'misuse'.

    *evil cackle*

    Just busting your balls, amigo. We all bigtime guilty.

  19. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    mea culpa! :D
  20. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    mea culpa, you a culpa...

    wouldnt ya like to be a culpa too!?

    (ahhhh - dr. culpa!)


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