Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Blame You!

For my hundredth post I will speak of something I am very passionate about. Writing.
Clearly, my passion for writing and grammar is fairly obvious, but my passion for others literacy comes in a close second.

Very recently I have stumbled across a grade nine students English homework. Congratulations to them, they received full marks.
The person I have a problem with is the teacher. Since when, in high school English, do you not grade upon spelling?
The assignment itself was a simple one, the usual defining of words from a class story, and answering a few questions about the structure of the story.

I don't want to burst this teenagers bubble, but to me, this assignment was done terribly. Not because the answers or definitions were wrong, but because there were 20 spelling errors.
The first was in the title. This one really irks me, being that it is plain laziness on the students part not to look at the title of the story to check the spelling.
The second spelling mistake was the first word defined. After reading the definition of the word, it was clear that the word being defined was missing a key letter or two.

I could go on and on about each mistake. Some are understandable, and one or two are borderline acceptable for this grade level. But when words are written twice, two different ways and both wrong, that should be a docked mark.
I'm not sure if teachers became lazy or if this is the way they are now supposed to teach, but I bet I would be hard-pressed to find a parent who thinks this a brilliant idea.

English class is where a child learns how to speak, write, and read in proper English. If a teacher is not correcting a student's mistakes the student is not learning. This would make the entire job of that teacher void.

Not only was spelling a major issue in this simple high school assignment, but so was grammar. There were very few periods and almost no commas.
There were contractions, but not a single apostrophe was to be found.
In the question and answer portion of the assignment not one answer started with a capital, some did not even start with a full word, and none had a period. I have no idea as to what questions were even being answered.
When I was in grade nine, I had to answer in full, using the question as the beginning part of the answer, so the sentence was complete. I see nothing wrong with that practice, and saw nothing wrong with it then.

I do remember hearing about this, maybe a year or so ago, of this occurrence of teachers no longer grading on spelling and such at this level. I believe one of the reasons was that it shouldn't be necessary to check a students spelling, they should know what they're doing by now.

Clearly, they don't.

At this point and time I'm not sure who the blame should be on: teachers, school boards, the provincial government, society, or parents, for letting teachers get away with this.

I may not be a parent, but if this was my child, I would be asking the teacher to personally take an extra minute and go through and dock marks for the spelling mistakes.

Like I stated earlier, I do not want to burst the bubble of this student, but I would not want my child to take pride in some half-wit work, that they don't even have to put any effort into, to receive full marks.

Peace & Love