I have just heard a member of the teacher's union being very defensive about pupils' use of grammar and correct spelling - or should I say, lack of it. I know that I bang on about this and I am sorry to anyone who is fed up with me, but.... it just drives me nuts.
People seem to fall over themselves to make excuses as to why people don't or can't spell properly. I know that all of us make mistakes occasionally - just today I was unsure as to how I should spell 'weird', but I checked and reassured myself that I was spelling it correctly.Some people, however, seem almost proud of their inability.
So many children leave school with no qualifications. Focus is on celebrity and designer clothing and make up.Even as young children there is no sense of aspiration, no desire to read or take an interest in school or learn anything 'from a book'.They appear to expect everyone around them to 'sort them out' for money and cannot believe that nobody wishes to employ them.
There seems to be a trend amongst some families to avoid responsibility for their children's education.Yes, I know that education is the responsibility of schools, but not entirely.It is a partnership.As a parent it is our responsibility to read to our children - right from the beginning. We should read to them, read with them and let them see us reading. It does not have to be War and Peace.By reading and sharing books we learn so many things, among them... spelling and grammar.
I see so many children who never read at home, whose parents cannot find time to read with them or to them.Hello!!! It takes ten minutes.... Its supposed to be a pleasure.I cannot think of many things I enjoy more than snuggling up with my sons as either they read to me or I read to them.Is this a 'terribly middle class' affliction? Or is this the reason that so many middle class children go on to be more successful than so called working class children?I am not a snob... there are children from all classes who are neglected in the reading stakes, but it seems to me that ignorance is a torch passed from generation to generation.
A pleasure in reading, education... an interest in expanding one's mind is a recipe for success. We don't all have to be Einsteins, but it is devastating to see children start school with minds that are eager to learn and yet they get no support from home.Is it a coincidence that the brightest children are the ones who have input from home, who read every night, who are encouraged to ask questions, who are shown how to spell correctly?
There seems to be an acceptance that spelling doesn't matter.For me it is the thin end of the wedge.I am not saying 'punish those who spell incorrectly!!!' - I am saying that we should learn correct spellings and have incorrect spellings put right. I know that it is a difficult path - you don't want to discourage children from 'having a go'- but most children, most people, like to get things right.It makes them feel good to write something well and be praised for it.
Correct speech also helps. If you think it is right to say ''Ee don't wanna do vat do 'e ?' then how on earth can you write correctly? If you think that 'think' is pronounced 'fink' how can you begin to spell it? If you have no ambition, no aspiration, no belief that you can ever succeed in life, how can you have the energy to work and succeed?If the people around you show no sense of aspiration, no interest in books or knowledge... how will you know that those things will lead you to a life of inspiration?
If teachers say that spelling and grammar are unimportant where on earth do we stand? We need to inspire children and by inspiring them perhaps they will inspire their own children, lifting them out of the circle of apathy.I firmly believe that any child can achieve, but they need help, they need guidance. By telling them that spelling and grammar are not important, by telling them not to bother we are telling them that it is ok not to aspire to success.
Blimey O'Reilly!! I've really had a good old moan today... I have tried to be honest and I have tried not to make spelling or grammar mistakes. The honesty is indisputable and I aspire to have written a grammatically correct piece!!! Am I mad to think this way?? I am not saying that we all have to be academics - I just would like to see enthusiasm rather than apathy, inspiration rather than denigration.There.Nuff Sed...