to want my child's teacher to understand how apostrophes work!!!

(379 Posts)
intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 16:44:24

DD is writing things like 'She live's in a house' and has been taught that the plural of potato is potato's! I am getting really pissed off!

natwebb79 Sun 15-Dec-13 16:48:23

Has the teacher actually taught that or is it a mistake your DC has made? If the former then that's pretty poor!

HesterShaw Sun 15-Dec-13 16:49:33

<wince's>

You should ask the Literacy Co Ordinator to run some courses if it continues.

jamdonut Sun 15-Dec-13 16:50:40

Are you SURE she has been taught that? Might your DD possibly have got the wrong end of the stick of plurals and apostrophes?

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 16:51:46

she has only just started learning to write so I don't know where else she could have picked it up!

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 16:53:13

They have not had plurals and apostrophes yet, she just started school this year.

jamdonut Sun 15-Dec-13 16:53:25

We (the classs teacher and I went through them with our year 4's last week, who had a shocking grasp of them! We are doing everything we can to put it right!

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 16:53:58

So of course the teacher must be teaching it wrong, absolutely has to be her in the wrong .

Is it not more likely that she has been taught correctly but does not fully understand and therefore is putting apostrophes everywhere . From my experience this is quite normal .

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 16:56:32

But she isn't putting apostrophes everywhere, just places you would put them if you were the kind of person who thought the plural of potato is potato's.

My DD has seen the apostrophe and puts them everywhere! Sometimes it's right. I bet she's just seen them and is bunging them in grin. Friend's dc was an in keeper in the nativity (handwritten note from teacher). That's more of a worry.

jamdonut Sun 15-Dec-13 16:56:54

So...if they haven't had plurals and apostrophes,yet, what has your daughter said to make you think the teacher has "taught" them like that?

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 16:58:45

The writing in her writing book has been 'corrected' to show the plural of potato to be potatoes. As my DD's writing has developed she is putting apostrophes in other places that lead me to believe she is being taught that way.

Dawndonnaagain Sun 15-Dec-13 16:58:59

year 4's?

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 16:59:17

sorry, has been corrected to 'potato's'!

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 16:59:44

Dawn ;)

Nanny0gg Sun 15-Dec-13 17:00:37

<ahem>

Year 4s.

And if your daughter has just started school she hasn't been taught them yet, she's probably just seen them attached to an 's' and thinks they're necessary all the time.

I wish they weren't taught till Year 6! Might not be so many bad habits to break that way.

jamdonut Sun 15-Dec-13 17:00:50

well, unless you have been taught that the plural of potato is potatoes,then I think it shows a very good try at the plural.She has obviously seen apostrophe's in books and made the connection herself.

ShellyF Sun 15-Dec-13 17:01:58

If she has just started school she is writing very well.I am sure her teacher would not have introduced apostrophes just yet.If she is in YR she will be working with many children who are still mark making and experimenting with cvc words.

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 17:02:02

No. The teacher has corrected her writing and written 'potato's' in red pen. That is my issue.

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 17:02:28

that was @jamdonut

BabyMummy29 Sun 15-Dec-13 17:02:33

There are a lot of recently qualified teachers who don't know how to spell, use correct grammar etc.

I actually had to take a teacher aside last week to point out that it wasn't correct to say "I seen a rabbit" after she had "corrected" a child who had written "I saw a rabbit"

It makes me so angry that they can have qualified as teachers without the most basic knowledge.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 17:02:57

YANBU - assuming you know for certain that her teacher has definitely taught her this? Or, could it have been a well meaning (but not very capable) TA who has taught her this, in error?

However, I was most surprised to discover on Mumsnet that expecting your child's teacher to have excellent SPAG is unfair, and in fact rather spiteful and elitist hmm

When DD1 brought home letters from her Yr2 teacher, I had to wrestle DH to the floor to stop him correcting her (frankly poor) SPAG and returning the letter to school with DD1.

jamdonut Sun 15-Dec-13 17:03:26

oops blush

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 17:03:40

also, jam donut? the plural of apostrophe is apostrophes.

ShellyF Sun 15-Dec-13 17:04:41

When you saw her writing book you should have pointed it out there and then.Was it during a parent /teacher meeting?

jamdonut Sun 15-Dec-13 17:05:40

Just shows we can all make mistakes. Very embarrassed now.

BabyMummy29 Sun 15-Dec-13 17:06:04

I wanted to complain to my child's teacher that her spelling was poor but was told that, as I was also a teacher, it would be seen as unprofessional conduct.

So I was just supposed to sit back while my child learned incorrect spelling and grammar, was I?

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 17:07:20

I did point it out to DD when I looked at her writing book but I am reluctant to approach the teacher. If more evidence pops up that sh is actually be taught wrong I will, though.

jamdonut Sun 15-Dec-13 17:09:39

But I did put apostrophes???? confused

Oh bother ...I see it. Really, I'm not usually bad like that. Yes I'm a TA, but I don't usually make those sort of mistakes!! Blame it on typing skills instead!

It was Word's fault. Must be. Colleagues of mine who write about DVD's always blame Word so it must be the case.

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 17:10:44

LaQueen has someone said that expecting teachers to be able to spell and punctuate is spiteful and elitist ?

I think, like you, most people have asked if you can be sure that the error has come from the teachers.

I am amused by the way that my phone auto corrected punctuation to rustle pubs.

Scholes34 Sun 15-Dec-13 17:10:59

Might your DD have been reading signs in the local greengrocer's on the way to and from school?

YANBU to expect any teacher to be able to spell and use grammar correctly. I think that people, including teachers can make mistakes but it is wrong if they are "correcting" work to be wrong.

clarinetV2 Sun 15-Dec-13 17:17:07

There are a lot of recently qualified teachers who don't know how to spell, use correct grammar etc.

I thought there were literacy tests for teachers at the start of teacher training these days. Or have they been abolished?

Whenever I teach apostrophes, some children will always start inserting them before any "s". I have NOT taught this and I very much doubt your child's teacher has either.
If your child is just learning to write then this emergent writing will be encouraged as you just want kids to start putting things on paper at that age. You correct things later on. Children are learning. They don't do things correctly, first time, every time.
It makes me a little sad that you believe that the teacher will have taught this. confused

jamdonut Sun 15-Dec-13 17:20:47

If it's any help, we recently had a very young supply teacher, who made a shocking amount of spelling mistakes in the time she was there. One that stands out was "draws" as in "chest of". hmm

BabyMummy29 Sun 15-Dec-13 17:21:12

clarinet there may be tests for teacher trainees in England but I don't there's such a requirement in Scotland, where I am.

If there is, then they must be extremely easy to pass, judging by the standards I see on a daily basis!

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 17:23:36

drama I would not be making this assumption had she not specifically taught my child that the plural of potato is potato's!

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 17:24:15

"No. The teacher has corrected her writing and written 'potato's' in red pen. That is my issue."

into ah, in that case...kiiiiiiiiiiill them. Simply no excuse. None whatsoever.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 17:27:28

"LaQueen has someone said that expecting teachers to be able to spell and punctuate is spiteful and elitist ?"

Yes, certainly Philo in my umpteen years on MN I have witnessed dozens of threads almost identical to this one - and there's always posters saying that teacher can't be expected to be perfect at everything, and that having excellent SPAG isn't necessary, and that there are other qualities a teacher can have which are more important than excellent SPAG, and that casting aspersions on a teacher's poor SPAG is unfair and pretty judgemental...yadda...yadda...yadda...

Did you mean to end your thread title with '!!!', OP?

fwink

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 17:30:36

I don't think anyone has said that on this thread have they?

snowed Sun 15-Dec-13 17:31:34

YANBU

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 17:31:46

Yes, Johnny, technically my thread title is a question.

TwistedRib Sun 15-Dec-13 17:32:03

If they have a Higher English or even Standard Grade then teachers should be more than able to place apostrophes correctly. Teacher trainees shouldn't need literacy tests if the curriculum robust enough. But that's another story...
If I find mistakes in homework instructions then I correct them (but not with red pen). The one that gets my back up is practice/practise. I corrected a poster at the secondary school last year, which had the wrong your/you're.

BasicFish Sun 15-Dec-13 17:35:36

Personally I would have re-crossed out "potato's" (even writing that is making me twitch) and re-written it correctly in an even redder pen. I also would probably have glued in a photocopy showing correct use of apostrophes, and have greeted her with a slow, disappointed head-shake at every drop off.

grin

Rhianna1980 Sun 15-Dec-13 18:01:22

YANBU! Wrong use of apostrophes make me shockshockshock and English is not even my mother tongue language !

The appropriate use of apostrophes was taught to us from in English grammar lessons year 3 or 4 if I remember correctly up until year 9 (from when you are 8 years old till 14ish) .

Teachers should be role models. If she/he doesn't know the basics of English grammar I personally can't trust her with the rest of what she teaches.

Bue Sun 15-Dec-13 18:07:21

clarinet there are tests, DH is a secondary physics teacher and he had to take one (this was 4 years ago). I am literally aghast at teachers having this little grasp of grammar and spelling. potato's? I seen a dog?! What is next, "he could of done better?"

I have to say though, sometimes I snoop on my DH's work emails (because he always has them open on the computer) and the general quality of his colleagues' writing is exceptionally high. It is a very naice school though.

jam donut 'draws' is a surprisingly common error amongst the British, depending on accent. (I am Canadian and we do not have this problem as we pronounce our Rs very clearly.) I nearly broke up with DH when I realised early on in our relationship that he thought this was the correct spelling!!! Believe me, he will never live it down.

BabyMummy29 Sun 15-Dec-13 18:21:28

We have a fair amount of children from Eastern Europe at our school - mainly Latvian and Lithuanian - and their knowledge of English grammar is far superior to that of their native-speaking classmates.

snowed Sun 15-Dec-13 18:26:36

Grammar and spelling are things you can learn, not things you're born with. So it's fine to expect that all teachers should have learned them to a high standard.

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 18:28:17

Agreed, snowed. I just find it frustrating that they do not spend an afternoon going over the rudiments of grammar!

Technically though OP, those things at the end of your thread title aren't question marks, are they? Unless three !s now make a ? grin

'Potato's' is piss poor though - I'd mention it. The superfluous apostrophes your very, very young daughter is using, I really wouldn't worry about.

I make SPaG errors all the bloody time, mainly typos but sometimes just because I don't know it all.

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 18:39:20

I was agreeing with you, Johnny, technically it is a question and should have had question marks, not exclamation marks.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 18:41:56

"I don't think anyone has said that on this thread have they?"

No, to be absolutely pedantic about it Philo they haven't...however, I think you are actually allowed to draw on your past experiences on Mumsnet and reference them, and maybe allude to them from time to time.

You'll find that no thread ever exists in a vacuum.

TeamHank Sun 15-Dec-13 18:42:23

I really struggle with the idea of emergent writing - if you don't correct kids' mistakes then they think they're getting it right and spell words wrong for years - very hard to then unlearn their incorrect spellings and relearn new ones.

I know we have to strike a balance but given the woeful standards of literacy in this country we have to assume something has gone badly wrong with how we teach it.

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 18:44:19

I can't remember having seen any poster claim that expecting teachers to be able to spell and punctuate is elitist and spiteful .

I think there are ways of complaining that could possibly be seen as spiteful . But not the mere expectation that teachers are literate .

Phineyj Sun 15-Dec-13 18:44:32

YANBU. I am a teacher. I wasn't taught grammar, spelling and punctuation much at school (educated in 70s/80s), so I had to teach myself to the level that's necessary. I did this because I was writing a lot for publication at the time, however, it's come in very useful in teaching.

Given that a significant number teachers (representative of their generation), lack confidence in this area, I think there should be mandatory online training that you do every year - teachers could be referred for it if mistakes are picked up in lesson observations (literacy is included in the Teaching Standards).

One literacy test at the beginning of the training isn't enough.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 18:45:12

"We have a fair amount of children from Eastern Europe at our school - mainly Latvian and Lithuanian - and their knowledge of English grammar is far superior to that of their native-speaking classmates."

Interesting point Baby a relative of mine teaches at a secondary school with a high percentage of Eastern European pupils, and their SPAG is generally far superior because they were taught it the olde fashioned way, at their primary schools back home.

Phineyj Sun 15-Dec-13 18:45:43

Number of teachers grin

Phineyj Sun 15-Dec-13 18:46:15

In my experience SPAG of Indian-educated students is also excellent.

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 18:46:27

I think encouraging teachers to refresh is a good idea. Our English department run courses that some of our teachers attend, or provide materials that teachers find helpful.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 18:47:40

"I can't remember having seen any poster claim that expecting teachers to be able to spell and punctuate is elitist and spiteful ."

Well, hey Philo maybe you haven't. But I have been on here a looooong time, and yes I have seen those sentiments alluded to, implied, and downright stated openly, many a time.

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 18:48:48

Well that is a stupid sentiment then. I tend to pop up on most education threads and appear to have missed it.

Nanny0gg Sun 15-Dec-13 18:48:49

Emergent writing does not mean that work isn't corrected.

It just means that not everything is corrected.

And if infants spend their entire time worrying about SPAG they would never write anything.
It also means the teacher can see exactly what they do and don't understand.
Much better than the days when they told the teacher what they wanted to say, the teacher wrote it and they copied it.
What rules did they learn that way?

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 18:50:24

"I think encouraging teachers to refresh is a good idea."

But, it's not refreshing their knowledge is it? Unless, during their teaching career they somehow forgot how to use an apostrophe? Or, the correct way to conjugate a verb?

Sadly, a lot of teachers never really knew this information n the first place.

Nanny0gg Sun 15-Dec-13 18:51:07

Agreed, snowed. I just find it frustrating that they do not spend an afternoon going over the rudiments of grammar!

How would you expect that to work in a Reception class? (just curious)

Apostrophes are not part of the EYFS.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 18:51:46

Yes, it is a stupid sentiment. And, yes you appear to have missed many threads where those sentiments are expressed.

Euphemia Sun 15-Dec-13 18:54:36

We didn't get taught how to teach reading at university, far less grammar and punctuation. hmm

KittyVonCatsington Sun 15-Dec-13 18:55:35

Blame Thatcher. She removed the teaching of SPAG from the NC. It was only brought back recently.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 18:56:27

I am not so sure Nannyog. From when they were writing their very first words and simple sentences we have always insisted that our DDs always correct their spelling and punctuation.

It never stopped them writing - it just meant that what they did write was written correctly. And, so their ability and knowledge grew. DD1 has just passed the 11+, scoring very high on her VR papers, so it obviously never held her back when it came to literacy.

I don't believe that there will come a golden window of enlightenment, when suddenly SPAG magically makes sense to a child, and it all falls into place.

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 18:56:35

I don't think it is just teachers who don't know , as a previous poster said many of us educated in the 80s only learned grammar in our MFL lessons.

Whether it is refresher or learn from scratch, I think the sessions are useful.

We do have some older members of staff who attend who are in their 50s, I would have thought that they were taught grammar, so it is a refresher for them - maybe they just turn up for the refreshments. We also have quite a few privately educated staff, I would have thought that in the more traditional environment of a public school they may have learned grammar - but I could be wrong.

spiderlight Sun 15-Dec-13 18:58:20

That would give me the rage. I would definitely have corrected the correction in an even redder red pen. Our school has done similar though: I go in once a week to read with my son in class and every week I have to correct the signing-in sheet, which has columns headed 'Name, Date, Name of child your supporting' angry.

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 18:58:47

I was made to go to grammar lessons at university. Often I was singled out as an example of the poor product of state education . My essays might be shared for public humiliation and my speech was often corrected .

whereisshe Sun 15-Dec-13 18:59:04

Emergent writing does not mean that work isn't corrected.
It just means that not everything is corrected.
And if infants spend their entire time worrying about SPAG they would never write anything.

How do kids know what they've done wrong if it's not corrected? I thought it was better to know if something was wrong the first time the mistake was made? Or is it a process where mistakes are progressively corrected? (just preparing for when our DC starts school, I'm not being narky, honestly)

OP sorry to slightly derail. I'm rather worried by the possible implications of finding a teacher correction of "potato's" in my (or anyone's) DC's homework. I'd definitely ask the teacher about it.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 19:01:02

No, I agree with you Philo in that I think there was a 20 year session where SPAG was seen as unwieldy, and no fun, and not really necessary...and that it was better for pils to just pour out a stream of conciousness onto the paper, heedlessly hmm

I was privately educated, and I thought my SPAG was okay...until I met DH at university, and despite him being a scientist and me a Literature student, his SPAG was far better than mine...because he had been taught the olde fashioned way at his grammar school, and in every essay he wrote at school, a mark was deducted for every single SPAG error, no matter how glorious the prose.

PasswordProtected Sun 15-Dec-13 19:01:34

Some years ago I horrified my SIL by stating that it would not be too long before the "elite" would be those, who could read and write English correctly. It would appear that my prediction is more than in my imagination.
I would "question" these "corrections" in the strongest possible terms.

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 19:05:17

At secondary level teachers do correct spelling and grammar and we do teach spelling and grammar regardless of the subject.

I am pleased to see it return because I do think that poor literacy holds people back. That does not mean that we speak the Queen's English all the time and in informal situations everything has to be written perfectly. However an ability to "turn it on" when needed is necessary .

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 19:05:51

I agree password .

BabyMummy29 Sun 15-Dec-13 19:14:47

LaQueen I think you're right in your assumption that the "old-fashioned" methods of teaching in many others countries leads to a higher standard of SPAG.

We recently had a HT who would not allow the teaching of grammar as a separate entity and believed it should be taught as and when it emerged as a difficulty during writing.

What a load of tosh - thankfully he has now gone and the standards have improved since his departure

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 19:30:17

And if infants spend their entire time worrying about SPAG they would never write anything..
I'm sorry but that is crap. My daughter writes at home a lot and I say 'this bit is great, that needs a capital letter, that word has an 'e' on the end. And trust me, she writes screeds.

Madlizzy Sun 15-Dec-13 19:55:29

I absolutely think that teachers should have an excellent standard of spelling and grammar. A teacher should know how to place an apostrophe. Teaching a child the correct punctuation right from the start is a no brainer, as it becomes second nature to them.

Pixel Sun 15-Dec-13 19:56:09

Agree, my daughter was always corrected, how else are they supposed to learn anything? She's now doing creative writing for one of her A levels so it can't have put her off too much.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 20:05:20

"I am pleased to see it return because I do think that poor literacy holds people back. That does not mean that we speak the Queen's English all the time and in informal situations everything has to be written perfectly. However an ability to "turn it on" when needed is necessary ."

Totally agree with you again Philo. When buggering about on t'Internet, I'm more relaxed about my SPAG, as I'm sure a lot of MN-etters are, than I would be in a work/business setting.

However, when required I can quickly lapse into perfectly formal SPAG, and if pressed I know my plu perfects from my indicatives (well, sort of).

And, I acknowledge that I am very privileged to have that choice - millions of adults in the UK don't have that choice, and they never will, and it will always hold them back.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 20:12:06

"And if infants spend their entire time worrying about SPAG they would never write anything.."

Sorry, really, really dodn't agree with this concept. Why should a 4/5/6 year old worry about correct SPAG? If SPAG is correctly taught from Reception onwards, then the young child will just accept it as part of the whole concept of learning to read & write, surely? No need to worry about...just correct them, they write it correctly out again, and they write on...

Just the same as they learn to read, they mispronounce, you correct them, they say it correctly and they read on.

If a child has been allowed to incorrectly use apostrophes for years, or to not use a comma correctly for years, or to not always start a sentence with a capital letter for years - then is there supposedly a magical sparkle moment where a lightbulb pops up and they think 'Oh, oh, oh all these years I've been getting it so wrong, I see that now'

Because if that magical sparkle moment does happen, how come as a country, the UK is so very crap at literacy?

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 15-Dec-13 20:15:25

Baby a few of our DD's teachers were like that...so we just put our DDs through SPAG Boot Camp, over a period of months, and just by-passed their teacher completely.

We made damned sure they knew their semi colons from their apostrophes from when they were about 7, or so?

Now, in Yr 5 & 6, their HT teaches formal SPAG lessons every week, but it's like teaching our DDs to suck eggs.

Nanny0gg Sun 15-Dec-13 20:17:23

I don't believe that there will come a golden window of enlightenment, when suddenly SPAG magically makes sense to a child, and it all falls into place.

Of course not. Grammar is now explicitly taught, which is as it should be. (Trust me, I was the Grammar Police at my school and that was also with the staff!).

But I have seen how English is taught now. I was taught one way, my children another and my grandchildren are being taught a mixture of the two. And I think they are now getting it right.

Nanny0gg Sun 15-Dec-13 20:21:55

Also, another misconception. Emergent writing is about content (mostly). As grammar is gradually introduced - capital letters, full stops, commas, question marks and so on - they would be expected to be used correctly.

If a child. started using full. stops in the middle of Sentences with random capitalisation it would be corrected.

But emergent writing is what they start with (well, after mark-making on paper), it isn't 'taught' alongside semi-colons and the Oxford comma. They come once the child is writing 'properly'.

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 20:34:33

Well I totally disagree with that, Nanny. I would expect all my child's mistakes to be corrected from day 1.

BrickorCleat Sun 15-Dec-13 20:35:13

because I do think that poor literacy holds people back

Yes, absolutely it does. It also detracts from the content of what you are saying because incorrect grammar and spelling can radically change the meaning of statements.

Like LaQueen, I've seen some really sad vitriol here aimed at those who criticise teachers for incorrect and frankly ignorant SPAG.

Read, read, read, to and with your children. They absorb good SPAG by osmosis.

Nanny0gg Sun 15-Dec-13 20:43:38

Well I totally disagree with that, Nanny. I would expect all my child's mistakes to be corrected from day 1.

Which means that some children's work will be absolutely smothered in red green ink.

Which means a) it thoroughly demoralises them and b) they can't see where on earth they have to start to correct it.

Look at how your children's work is marked now. I highly doubt every error is picked up on. I bet they have clear areas to work on and specific targets where they need them (be it apostrophes or the use of the subjunctive).
The marking and targets will be set individually to clearly set out what your child needs to work on and towards.

But please note, grammar is now (or should be, it's in the Nat Curriculum) explicitly taught. In an age appropriate way. And tested in the SATs

I think it now works very well.

Nanny0gg Sun 15-Dec-13 20:44:45

Read, read, read, to and with your children. They absorb good SPAG by osmosis.

For most (some) children, yes, I did. Doesn't work for all, unfortunately.

snowed Sun 15-Dec-13 20:48:17

> Like LaQueen, I've seen some really sad vitriol here aimed at those who criticise teachers for incorrect and frankly ignorant SPAG.

So have I.

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 20:49:34

Well they don't add semi-colons or anything but if DD writes something like

I wnt to a pty i like cak i do not like gams

then it would be corrected to

I went to a party. I like cake. I do not like games

with a quick explanation. I don't see that that is so terrible? DD has been at school about 7 months; she now understands that sentences begin with a capital letter as do proper nouns. She certainly hasn't become demoralised, on the contrary she writes every spare minute!

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 20:50:27

PS she is bright but not exceptionally so, prob in the top third of her class.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sun 15-Dec-13 21:01:19

On the issue of correcting teachers, I think there's a world of difference between what I've sometimes seen suggested on here, where parents want to mark a newsletter up in red or whatever, and send it back (and quite often, amusingly, they're wrong anyway!), which I do think is petty and spiteful, actually... And pulling a teacher up if he or she is 'correcting' a child's work wrongly, which this one does seem to be.

Being a coward like that, I would probably have just told my dds what the right way is and rolled my eyes... But really, the 'potato's' thing needs to be addressed.

That said, dd2 just read the OP over my shoulder and said 'that won't have happened: the mum will have told her it's wrong and she just will have said 'that's what the teacher told me to do'. I know that's turned out not to be what happened, but at least it suggests that today's children aren't routinely taught 'potato's'.

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Sun 15-Dec-13 21:10:22

I actually had to take a teacher aside last week to point out that it wasn't correct to say "I seen a rabbit" after she had "corrected" a child who had written "I saw a rabbit"

??

Potato's??

All teachers can make mistakes - they're human. Of course when we are in a hurry we do 'daft' things, things we wouldn't do if we were only doing one thing at a time.

But for god sake - both of those are terrible mistakes.

Potato's - You have to go and see the HT.

BabyMummy29 Sun 15-Dec-13 21:24:13

The examples I've seen are, sadly, not teachers making daft mistakes, they honestly don't know the correct forms.

A few choice examples I've seen/heard recently -

I've already did their reading

I've wrote that on the board

Well done Jenna, you catched the ball

All genuine quotes from teachers sad

OrlandoWoolf Sun 15-Dec-13 21:38:25

I went to an interview recently. There was a spontaneous task which was to teach possessive apostrophes to year 5 children. Only a small group. The head seemed quite pleased that I knew what they were confused

I know too many teachers who can't punctuate. Nor can they do "hard" maths. They also lack general knowledge.

You do see random apostrophes in children's writing. Even if they've been taught about apostrophes. But you should not see potato's.

I did complain about a teacher to the Head. Because I'd just seen too many mistakes.

OrlandoWoolf Sun 15-Dec-13 21:41:21

But I don't think all mistakes should be corrected. Especially with emergent writing.

i sw mn

You might ask the child what they meant. You might write "I saw a man" - but the child would probably not read it.

Corrections work if the child understands them and responds to them.

OrlandoWoolf Sun 15-Dec-13 21:42:44

And - are you marking the objective (e.g. to use adverbs in a sentence) or marking the punctuation, spellings etc?

It's hard to know what degree of marking and correcting to do.

Pixel Sun 15-Dec-13 21:49:04

Corrections work if the child understands them and responds to them.
Surely if a child is consistently making the same mistake and the teacher is not sure if they will understand the corrections, the answer is to write "see me" and then explain it to them?

nennypops Sun 15-Dec-13 21:51:05

I was reduced to silent fury after sitting outside ds's classroom looking at an inspirational poster with a banner saying "Standing on the shoulder's of giant's". I felt I had to say something because I thought it appalling that pupils would be walking past that every day thinking it must be correct, so I mentioned it to the teacher when we went in. She pretended it was nothing to do with her, and I pretended to believe her. As it happened, it worked out quite well because she obviously then felt she couldn't make too much of an issue about ds's preference for being cold rather than wear his scratchy school jumper. And the poster apparently got corrected

OrlandoWoolf Sun 15-Dec-13 21:56:00

Imagine 30 year 4 children all writing a story.
How much correcting would you expect?
What would you expect to be corrected?

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 22:01:51

I would expect anything to be corrected that was wrong.

EvilTwins Sun 15-Dec-13 22:02:32

Writing "see me" is not acceptable these days. In an SLT book scrutiny, or an OFSTED inspection, it is expected that an inspector can pick up any child's book, see formative, comment-based marking, the child's response to that marking, and then progress, based on the marking, in the next piece of work.

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 22:03:42

Sorry Orlando but I am quite mystified by your argument.

If my daughter wrote 'I sw mn' and the teacher did not correct it I would find that utterly bizarre.

OrlandoWoolf Sun 15-Dec-13 22:04:24

intothenever

So you would expect every punctuation error, spelling and grammar error to be corrected in a 2 page story?

That's a lot of corrections for some people.

intothenever Sun 15-Dec-13 22:05:19

At what point is a piece of writing too long to reasonably expect a teacher to correct the errors?

EvilTwins Sun 15-Dec-13 22:05:30

intothenever - doesn't often happen. I teach secondary. Some of the literacy levels of the children I have in Yr 11 are dreadfully low. If they write an evaluation of their practical work (I teach Performing Arts) and I corrected anything that was wrong, it would take a very long time, would render their work unreadable and would be no guarantee that they would do it correctly next time. I correct subject-specific and recurring spelling mistakes, and mark against our literacy policy (for example, I would indicate that there was an error in grammar or syntax, that a new paragraph was needed or a word or letter was missing, using the codes that the students are familiar with, but wouldn't correct everything)

herethereandeverywhere Sun 15-Dec-13 22:06:03

I recently went to view a school for DD1. On the wall in the room they'd set up to host the event was a display with a luminous orange sign carrying a spelling mistake. For the whole of the head teacher's briefing, which included wonderful comforting sentiment about high standards and attention to detail, the only thing I could see was a giant day-glow error. I had to conclude that the head either a) doesn't notice the information displayed on the walls of her school or b) can't spell.

The last time I was in DD1's current school there were two errors written up on the white board (both spelling mistakes).

Is it really so difficult? I despair at such low standards and the apparent indifference to such mistakes.

EvilTwins Sun 15-Dec-13 22:06:55

intothenever - in some cases, the teacher would end up writing the whole piece out again. It's not practical and is not an effective way for the student to learn.

OrlandoWoolf Sun 15-Dec-13 22:07:11

Thing is - she might not even be able to read the correction. She has heard the initial sounds and will progress to getting the middle sounds. I'd probably write down underneath what it said - but I would probably not have the time to speak to 30 children and show them the correction and ask them to read it.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sun 15-Dec-13 22:08:36

Marking work shouldn't mean editing it until it is correct: that isn't useful.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Sun 15-Dec-13 22:09:48

It would bother me if my child's writing was corrected incorrectly and I would expect mistakes to be corrected where possible.

I don't think it would worry me about incorrect use of apostrophes at that age as it is a descriptor for L4 writing 'correct use of apostrophes for possession and contraction' so plenty of time to get it right but teaching it incorrectly is awful IMO.

Teachers should have a high quality knowledge of SPAG if teaching English but mistakes in quickly done hand written notes (or on internet forums) is not a massive issue.

phantomnamechanger Sun 15-Dec-13 22:10:04

I'm an ex-teacher and now volunteer in school.
Some of the TAs are shocking for confusing your/you're.
I do agree that young children's work should not be over corrected though, as it's demoralising for them to see their efforts "ruined" by the teacher's writing - and overwhelming in expecting them to take on board many corrections/rules (especially if they cannot read the corrections correctly!)

If a child wrote

"I whent to a partee and ayt sum cack", then I would probably only correct the went and some, as these are common words. I might also write something like "I like cake too" which shows the correct spelling of cake, but in a friendly encouraging way - not an off putting one.

bigbuttons Sun 15-Dec-13 22:10:24

It's very very common for children to put apostrophes wherever the see an s at the end of a word. This doesn't mean they are not being taught the correct way to use them. For some reason kids get really confused about them.
I would not correct every mistake when marking for younger children. It can be very discouraging for them. By the time they hit year 5 and 6, yes I would pull them up on every basic misuse.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Sun 15-Dec-13 22:10:43

Sorry I meant mistakes corrected where appropriate not possible.

OrlandoWoolf Sun 15-Dec-13 22:10:44

intothennever

For some pieces of writing, we use detailed editing. Pupils read their work - or a friend reads it. They check for punctuation - like capitals and full stops. Words they are are unsure about are highlighted and checked in a dictionary. They highlight errors they think they've made, check and then redraft.

CalamitouslyWrong Sun 15-Dec-13 22:11:42

No one corrects everything in anything they mark.

You don't even comment on all the issues on stuff you come across in work you mark at university. It's about seeing where the student is and giving them support and advice to improve. So you'll ignore a lot of stuff in something getting a 35 and concentrate on the really fundamental problems. If you pointed out all the issues, the student would be utterly overwhelmed. I'm not going to worry too much about apostrophes in an essay where the student clearly doesn't understand what paragraphs are for, for example.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sun 15-Dec-13 22:23:22

'revise apostrophe use, here and throughout' is one of my most often used marking comments.

CalamitouslyWrong Sun 15-Dec-13 22:29:55

Well, I write similar things a lot too. But when faced with students who don't seem to be acquainted with the concept of an argument and write without any paragraphs or entirely in single sentence paragraphs and various other dreadful problems, commenting on the apostrophes would simply become white noise and detract for what I need to student to concentrate on.

They can pass with crap grammar and spelling; they will find it harder without any idea what the essay topic is. The threshold for passing is incredibly low. We're supposed to ask ourselves, 'is there any evidence that this students has learned anything whatsoever, however minimal, from the course?'. If we answer is 'yes', we must award a 40. It's a wonder any of them manage to fail. Yet, they do.

But this is a long way from 4 year olds and emergent writing. Even if it doesn't always feel as far as it should. The point is, that it's almost always best to prioritise feedback so it can be most useful, whether you're working with small children or adults.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sun 15-Dec-13 22:33:46

Oh yes, sorry, I was actually agreeing with you really, in that it makes more sense to comment briefly on a repeated issue and focus more on more significant issues with structure, referencing, argument etc than it does to waste my time basically re-writing an essay until it looks the way it would if I'd written it!

OrlandoWoolf Sun 15-Dec-13 22:34:25

I always remember a story I heard. A student had written a lovely description about his dead Dad. The objective was to use descriptive words to paint a picture of someone.

The only comments were - remember to use capitals and full stops. Plus some spellings corrected.

Pixel Sun 15-Dec-13 22:48:24

I teach secondary. Some of the literacy levels of the children I have in Yr 11 are dreadfully low. If they write an evaluation of their practical work (I teach Performing Arts) and I corrected anything that was wrong, it would take a very long time

Don't you think that is because they weren't taught properly in primary school?

Writing "see me" is not acceptable these days.

Seems to me we've found one of the reasons why literacy levels have plummeted right there. I would have thought that having a brief opportunity to engage with a pupil 1:1 and check that they've actually understood something that has been taught would be invaluable.

TeamHank Sun 15-Dec-13 22:51:19

I understand the theory behind emergent writing (I'm a teacher) but I disagree with you nanny, I don't think we are getting it right or otherwise we wouldn't be so very far behind in literacy standards.

Before teaching I worked in HR and the standard of English in the CVs and application forms we received was truly shocking.

I'm not sure what the answer is but it's not what we're doing now.

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 22:54:46

Orlando I agree that is sad , however most of the time students are not writing about parents who have passed away and therefore it is acceptable to correct their spelling and grammar

HesterShaw Sun 15-Dec-13 22:54:59

Ok, but think of the spelling and grammar teaching we had in the 80s and the constructive and informative feedback we received. There was NONE.

Children aren't reading fir pleasure as much nowadsys - there are too many other distractions for them. Primary teachers teach far more punctuation and grammar than they did then. Who remembers being taught main and subordinate clauses back in the 80s? No one, I'll bet.

OrlandoWoolf Sun 15-Dec-13 22:57:20

hestershaw

I had the benefit of a Grammar school education which included Latin. This was in the 80s. I can tell you a lot about clauses. grin

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 22:59:12

I have a see me stamp that I use in books. They will then have an exercise to do in their book so that it is clear what the See Me was about .

Nanny0gg Sun 15-Dec-13 23:05:42

TeamHank But the improvements (yes, I think they are) are very recent. The grammar test in the SATs was introduced last year (I think, I'm 'retired'). So you won't have seen much improvement through to secondary yet.
I absolutely agree that relatively recent standards have been poor.

'Writing "see me" is not acceptable these days.' Seems to me we've found one of the reasons why literacy levels have plummeted right there. I would have thought that having a brief opportunity to engage with a pupil 1:1 and check that they've actually understood something that has been taught would be invaluable.

That's why marking is individually targeted now. Each child knows what they should have done and if they haven't, what they need to do to get there. And if they really don't 'get it', the teaching will be focused there.

'See me' would mean queues of children in primary class. Doesn't work like that, thank goodness.

HesterShaw Sun 15-Dec-13 23:08:12

Ok. Ok. grin

Who apart from the grammar school kids were taught about clauses? Because I wasn't until I learned German in comprehensive.

storynanny Sun 15-Dec-13 23:12:03

Intothenever. Old teacher here, it is totally unacceptable, you must follow it up.

Pixel Sun 15-Dec-13 23:16:12

Queues? Really? hmm
In that case maybe the whole class could do with going over the lesson.

steppemum Sun 15-Dec-13 23:20:34

I couldn't let this go. I don't mind the odd mistake, and when I listen to the teachers talk there are a lot of phrases that make me cringe which are actually local accent. (not very obvious or strong, so has taken me a while to realise that is what it is) Can't think of an example of the top of my head

But when she has corrected your dd to something to very wrong, I would comment - probably in a friendly way.

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 23:20:54

I know I teach secondary so it may be different, but if I had queues of children at my desk each week I would seriously question my teaching.

Nanny0gg Sun 15-Dec-13 23:22:12

Pixel

Only if they haven't grasped the same concept.

Some children may not have 'got' paragraphs. Some semi-colons. Some specific spelling conventions. Some how to efficiently plan a piece of writing.

They all have their own targets. Yes, some may have the same as others, but there will always be 'individuals'!

Philoslothy Sun 15-Dec-13 23:22:25

All children will have a comment in their book from me that is individual. They usually have some kind of task to do as a result of my marking. Sometimes I put a See Me Stamp, never more than two in a class.

Nanny0gg Sun 15-Dec-13 23:23:21

Philoslothy

Quite. When my youngest was at primary in the early 90s, I remember lots of queues in KS1 for marking.

Doesn't happen now.

Nanny0gg Sun 15-Dec-13 23:28:42

But to get back to the OP -

Yes, the teacher ought to know how apostrophes should be used!

TwistedRib Sun 15-Dec-13 23:41:25

In Scotland under the new Curriculum for Mediocrity , teachers, according to COSLA , should not be educators but facilitators . Therefore it doesn't matter that children don't know the rules of grammar, as long as they know where to find them.

OrlandoWoolf Mon 16-Dec-13 07:06:01

2 stars and a wish

Well done for using full stops.
Well done for using capitals at the start.
I wish you would not write a whole story with just one full stop. a capital and lots of ands grin

SB - looking at you.

Jaynebxl Mon 16-Dec-13 07:11:17

She has just started writing? So she is presumably in reception? And you are thinking her teacher is teaching her apostrophes! it seems what you actually mean is her teacher made a spelling mistake herself. String her up!

My dc in reception / year 1 stuck apostrophes in randomly before the letter s. It was because they had seen apostrophes before an s in various books and didn't get the rule. I wouldn't think the teacher had mistaught them!

Euphemia Mon 16-Dec-13 07:11:33

Twisted We all had a good scoff at that in the staff room, chucked the newsletter in the bin and carried on regardless! grin

Euphemia Mon 16-Dec-13 07:15:07

I have noticed that when you teach apostrophes (~P3), they start appearing everywhere in children's writing when there's an s on the end of a word.

Teaching and re-teaching are required until they get it! And the teacher should certainly be secure in his/her knowledge!

YouTheCat Mon 16-Dec-13 07:30:39

My grammar is far from perfect but I can string a sentence together just about . I learned this by writing endless stories in primary school in the 70s.

These days they spend way too much time learning how to design leaflets and write short articles. They have taken all the joy out of creative writing.

BabyMummy29 Mon 16-Dec-13 08:03:38

I find a lot of people, adults as well as children, stick apostrophes in any plural so we get photo's, cat's etc.

I say to them that they wouldn't write photo' or cat' in the singular form, so why stick an apostrophe in when you add an s.

They usually look totally mystified, so I just give up trying and leave them in their ignorance.

I feel sorry for teachers from my generation. The lost generation when it comes to grammar. I know we weren't taught much, the one thing I do remember is being told to use commas where we would take a breathe. I don't think we covered commas again.

Rather than a test to see a potential teacher's levels. Wouldn't it be better just to have a session of intensive spag teaching?

BabyMummy29 Mon 16-Dec-13 08:17:59

Unfortunately the teaching of grammar seems to have been abandoned during some trendy reforms in teaching.

I've been teaching for so long now that I have seen so many of these fads come and go, have realised they're a heap of poo and have still been around to see the results.

*breath damnit

Nanny0gg Mon 16-Dec-13 08:54:10

Have a look here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/260491/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_English_RS2.pdf

Scroll down to page 64.

Rigorous enough? Or has anything been missed?

<hoping the link works>

Oh, and it is what is being taught in primary now, btw, even though this is for 2014.

JapaneseMargaret Mon 16-Dec-13 09:13:00

What is it about apostrophes that sends people a-dither?

Why do people think the plural form requires an apostrophe? Actually, reading that sentence back, you never see people add an s into 'requires'. grin

Why? Why do people grasp it with certain words, but not others?

You see it on Baby Name threads here all the time, when people are talking about the number of Evies, Millys and Jacks. Throwing erroneous apostrophes in before the s.

It's as if it's actual rocket science. It's not rocket science though. It's logical and straight-forward, and unlike many aspects of the English language, the rule does not change.

I do have to say, auto-correct has an awful lot to answer for. It often insists on throwing in incorrect apostrophes. The Apple grammar 'guru' is a dunce.

friday16 Mon 16-Dec-13 09:23:13

The lost generation when it comes to grammar. I know we weren't taught much, the one thing I do remember is being told to use commas where we would take a breathe. I don't think we covered commas again.

But, fortunately, there is education subsequent to primary school, and any teacher who is not at or about retirement age has done either a three year BEd or a four year first degree plus PGCE as a minimum prior to being unleashed on the classroom. They could at some point during that education have taken it upon themselves to learn some grammar. If you arrive at 21 or 22 in your first teaching job and don't have sufficient grasp of English to teach the current primary curriculum, you need to go and read a book on grammar. It's not difficult.

storynanny Mon 16-Dec-13 11:46:17

Youthecat, absolutely right, that is what is going on in schools today. Like another poster, I have been teaching so long that Ive seen all the nonsense come and go, interspersed with the sensible stuff. How terrible that children/ adults have suffered depending on which decade they were schooled in.
However, I also agree with the poster who said teachers should just get on and learn it, it is not difficult. If you want to be a teacher and be responsible for teaching others, you need to get it right!
My OH has English as a second language, was taught English as a child in a third world country in the 1960s and 70's. His written English, spelling, punctuation and sentence construction is perfect and puts some English born adults to shame. If he can do it then so should teachers!

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 16-Dec-13 13:47:06

Agree with you story if, as a teacher, you are uncertain about some of the finer points of SPAG - or let's face it, if this thread is anything to go by, just the basic points of SPAG...then damned well learn and fast.

The necessary information is available in 101 places, at the click of a button. Just feckin learn it. There is simply no excuse.

Every job I have ever had, has required me to learn new stuff, and learn on the job, and improve my abilities and understanding of the job.

Teachers should not be allowed to sit back and shrug it off, just because 'Well, we weren't taught proper SPAG back in the 80s/90s, so it's not our fault.'

Oh, well boo bloody hoo hmm

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 16-Dec-13 13:54:13

And, neither do I subscribe that you shouldn't comprehensively correct a young child's piece of writing, in case it demoralises them hmm

At 4/5/6 exactly how much are they going to be writing. Not pages and pages, certainly. Probably just a few sentences, at most. So, it only takes seconds to correct. And, yes if that means that every other word needs correcting, then you correct every other word so the child knows it's wrong, and they write it correctly. And, again and again, and yet again.

Being slightly demoralised at the age of 6, just because the three sentences you wrote about Christmas have been heavily corrected is presumably just a drop in the ocean...compared to how bleddy demoralise you will feel at 26, when every CV/application you send out is self-selected straight into the nearest bin, because your SPAG is so poor hmm

Ooooh, don't correct them very much...it's not fair on them...it doesn't actually make their SPAG any better...let them feel their own way into writing...bless them.

Yes, and that is why the UK is so shockingly, distressingly shit at literacy.

DorothyParker1 Mon 16-Dec-13 13:58:10

I'm not one for teacher bashing, but some of my colleagues really do need to sort this out. Have been getting really irate at the number of student teachers whining about not being able to resit their literacy/numeracy skills tests until they pass, but instead only having 3 chances. Come on. Basic literacy and numeracy shouldn't be too much to expect from a teacher at any level.

Daddypigsgusset Mon 16-Dec-13 14:03:15

Do teachers correct writing at that age? Not meant to be sarky or anything. Ours don't (dc in y1) and we have been told to not do it when they write at home either as it might dent their confidence. Is this just how our particular teacher does it?

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 16-Dec-13 14:04:43

YANBU. At all.

Apostrophe of omission, apostrophe of possession - what's so difficult about that?

I'd agree with PPs that it tends to be MFL students who have a better grasp of grammar than their monolingual counterparts. I'd even go so far as to wager that British students would find learning second and third languages much easier, were they only taught English grammar correctly initially.

DorothyParker1 Mon 16-Dec-13 14:06:40

Do teachers correct writing at that age? Not meant to be sarky or anything. Ours don't (dc in y1) and we have been told to not do it when they write at home either as it might dent their confidence. Is this just how our particular teacher does it?

FFS this pisses me off. Positively framed formative feedback is not going to put somebody off writing.

CalamityKate Mon 16-Dec-13 14:09:54

I really really don't get the "Mistakes happen/teachers are only human" argument.

How many people misspell their own name? My maiden name was quite awkward to spell. However tired or rushed I was I never got it wrong.

If you aren't as familiar with SPAG as you are with your own name you shouldn't be teaching it. It should come automatically.

Recently we were looking round schools for DS1. Loads of kids' work on display including one essay where the child had correctly written "who's" and the teacher had red penned it to read "whose". hmm

Years ago I wrote a horror story and my teacher red penned my "grisly" to read "grizzly". It still rankles angry

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Mon 16-Dec-13 14:14:07

I think teachers work incredibly hard, and they are generally lovely and well meaning.

However, there is absolutely no excuse for our children being taught by people who do not have a grasp of spelling and grammar. Apostrophes and their correct usage is absolutely basic.

Call me an elitist and interfering old bag, but I have been known to correct school letters in red pen and return to the head teacher. Some of the spellings and grammar coming from our DCs primary school were shocking. The day I got a note telling me that DC2 would be making cooky's the next day and would I send in flower as my contribution I marched straight into the office shock

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 16-Dec-13 14:22:07

Middle - that is appalling!

CalamityKate Mon 16-Dec-13 14:23:48

WTF is elitist about insisting on proper SPAG?

I'm as common as muck and went to a roughish comprehensive on an estate. I couldn't give a lecture on the finer points of grammar or sentence construction but we're talking about basics here. The rules we are talking about are simple!

friday16 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:10:41

WTF is elitist about insisting on proper SPAG?

The people who think it's elitist have a tendency to have perfect knowledge themselves. The reason they don't want to taught is precisely because it might even the playing field a bit, and that would never do.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 16-Dec-13 16:11:27

Have you ever seen the difference in writing from Early Years to Year 2, say? I was bemused when dd1 started writing at school and things like 'theis is my haws it hs a greeyn dor' got 'well done dd, I like the sound of your green door', and we got the comment that her writing was 'phonetically plausible' etc.

But it works - you don't make a child a good writer by making them mindlessly copy out corrections. Looking through dd2's Leaving Book from primary, I see:

i has enjyd beeyin in ulyees I lik plaeeyin in the riterin ereey
With the teacher's comment: I have enjoyed being in Early Years. I like playing in the writing area. Great writing A Which I imagine is making plenty of people turn puce as they read it.

I see in year 2:
Dear Santa, Please may I have a pot of new hamabeads, a new stocking and a box of sweets. Please may you bring one of these presnes. Thank you and have a very happy Christmas.
Good. You have used commas very well! Which she had.

Yes, insist on good spelling and grammar - but you don't hit them over the head with it all at once, at 6.

Rhianna1980 Mon 16-Dec-13 16:36:14

OMG Middle! Cooky's?!!
Never mind the spelling !

I understand that the correct use apostrophes can be tricky sometimes especially when it comes to the plural form of possessive nouns and with a noun that finishes with S etc.

There is a big difference between being confused on where to place the apostrophe if a word needs one (to make sense ie before or after the S) and between not knowing the plain plural form of a noun that never needs an apostrophe. EVER!

The later is a FAIL. I would not want this teacher to teach my child.

Can someone clarify ? So if I understand correctly, there are currently no English grammar lessons as part of the curriculum in this country? ( I was not brought up here) hence the bewilderment hmm

DorothyParker1 Mon 16-Dec-13 16:38:15

Gramar is taught, but often badly. I recently observed a lesson where an English teacher (secondary school) was teaching the class what nouns were. Sadly she, errr, clearly didn't know what a noun was herself...

DorothyParker1 Mon 16-Dec-13 16:38:33

Grammar! Typo, honest smile.

friday16 Mon 16-Dec-13 16:57:19

clearly didn't know what a noun was herself.

What? What? How hard can that be?

snowed Mon 16-Dec-13 17:14:14

> The people who think it's elitist have a tendency to have perfect knowledge themselves. The reason they don't want to taught is precisely because it might even the playing field a bit, and that would never do.

I think the opposite can be true. People who've learned good spelling and grammar wonder why others haven't 1) been given the same opportunities or 2) bothered to learn, especially if this knowledge is required for their job.

hackmum Mon 16-Dec-13 17:16:15

I once taught English to adults, and though I know quite well what a noun is, explaining it is surprisingly hard.

It worries me that teachers can teach at primary level without a basic grasp of spelling and punctuation. Couldn't they at the very least devote some INSET days to the subject?

Nanny0gg Mon 16-Dec-13 17:27:36

Can I quietly point out that it is a minority we are speaking about? That it isn't only some primary teachers that can have an issue with SPAG, it has been known for the occasional secondary teacher to get it wrong too. If you go in and talk to the teachers and see how the current marking system operates you will see why the way writing is taught now does work - if only because the children are so involved in the process that they see the point that the teacher is making.

(Read TheOriginalSteamingNit's post above)

JamNan Mon 16-Dec-13 17:28:17

YANBU

In the early years, surely it's best to let little ones express themselves without them being censored for poor punctuation and grammar. However, I agree that it's such a shame that your DD's work has been corrected so badly.

In my line of work I see graduates come out of university unable to string a sentence together or use apostrophes correctly. I regularly come across journalists and editors who do not understand how to use apostrophes.

Its and it's being a common blunder. It's shocking!

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 16-Dec-13 17:37:23

Phew...highly relieved that other MN-etters have also been on many a thread, where it's heavily implied that expecting teachers to have excellent SPAG is both unfair, and elitist...I thought I'd hallucinated all 137 of them...

If you're a teacher, then excellent SPAG should just be a given FFS hmm

I do know they get 3 chances to sit a (pretty basic) literacy skills test... 3 chances FFS. It shouldn't be necessary, in the first place.

And, I personally know of a NQT who failed the literacy test twice ...and, guess what they were going to teach? Yep, you guessed it...secondary school English FFS hmm

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 16-Dec-13 17:45:49

I can see it both ways: I do get infuriated by comma splices in some letters home, but a) I don't suppose they were written by a teacher and b) even if they were, whilst it would annoy me, I wouldn't want to storm in about it. Plenty of people don't seem to have a ghost of an idea where to put a comma, after all.

Anyway, I do think it is precisely spiteful and unpleasant to do things like sending letters back 'corrected', but I don't think this teacher should be allowed to correct to 'potato's', if that's what she's done. And I also think that over-correcting of very small children's work isn't the way you teach them to write properly. You can't do everything all at once, and a child in early years should be encouraged first to be fluent and happy in writing: then you have six more years to do the tweaks.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 16-Dec-13 17:47:29

It's also worth bearing in mind that one person's 'heavily implied' is another person's 'wilfully miscontrued', of course.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 16-Dec-13 17:50:00

It's also worth bearing in mind that one person's 'heavily implied' is another person's 'wilfully miscontrued', of course."

Of course Nit - but not in my case smile

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 16-Dec-13 17:52:38

Natch smile.

<whispers>

What's a comma splice?

OK I Googled. I think I comma splice all the time - but it doesn't seem wrong!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 16-Dec-13 17:59:48

I think most people do! It's one of my most common comments on student work!

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Mon 16-Dec-13 18:01:29

A comma splice is something like

"I saw a poster called JohnnyBarthes on Mumsnet, she sounded really nice."

It should be

"I saw a poster called JohnnyBarthes on Mumsnet. She sounded really nice."

or

"I saw a poster called JohnnyBarthes on Mumsnet; she sounded really nice."

CalamityKate Mon 16-Dec-13 18:03:00

Is that the same as a run on sentence?

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Mon 16-Dec-13 18:04:41

At the end of Reception DD1's description of the moral of a story was "You's you'r brane all time evene wen you'r awaye from shcoll."

In Y1 she still has a tendency to sprinkle apostrophes liberally over her writing; I'm reasonably certain that this isn't being encouraged by the teachers in her case, though.

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Mon 16-Dec-13 18:05:58

I think a comma splice can be considered a subset of a run-on sentence, Kate. Your classic run-on sentence would be "I saw a poster called JohnnyBarthes on Mumsnet she sounded really nice."

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 16-Dec-13 18:06:33

I seem to remember a teacher once saying that at a certain stage some children do go a bit mad on the apostrophes and bung them in anywhere there's an s, but they get over it!

DorothyParker1 Mon 16-Dec-13 18:15:46

I understand re. the poster who said it can actually be harder than you think to explain terms like "noun". But in this lesson that wasn't the problem. Really was a clear and complete lack of understanding on the part of the teacher.

As to the literacy tests, it really is absurd. People literally complaining that their vocation has been heartlessly snatched from them because they aren't allowed to do endless retakes of a test hat requires you to put full stops in the right place...

Hmm. Maybe I don't do it as often as I thought. I don't ever remember being taught about comma splicing though; I must have just picked it up.

I do think I overuse semicolons though.

YouTheCat Mon 16-Dec-13 18:23:44

I think anyone who has failed to achieve a basic level of literacy and numeracy shouldn't be given a place on a teaching course at all.

There is plenty of competition for places as it is.

DorothyParker1 Mon 16-Dec-13 18:34:06

Yeah fully agree, youthecat. Problem is, there actually aren't enough teachers in a number of subjects at secondary school level. It needs to be made more attractive as a job in order to attract enough, better calibre applicants.

DorothyParker1 Mon 16-Dec-13 18:34:27

Fully agree with the first bit that is.

phantomnamechanger Mon 16-Dec-13 18:35:01

I could sort of sympathise with an inexperienced teacher not knowing how to explain at an appropriate level what an adverb or something was, or getting mixed up about what was the subject /object in a sentence - but surely a noun is easy enough to describe ie "it's a word that is the name of an object like a table or ball, or a proper noun is a name of a place or person, eg Sam or London, and has a capital letter".

OP - have you told us yet what the actual sentence was in which potatoes was incorrectly corrected. I can think of sentences which might be ambiguous, ie not be clear to the reader whether the writer meant potatoes, potatoes' or potato's. May it be a genuine misunderstanding???

storynanny Mon 16-Dec-13 18:38:06

Youthecat, absolutely. I believe that from this year prospective new teachers have to pass the tests before they commence their teacher training. Up to last year they could take them up to 3 times during the PGCE year I believe.
However, just as an aside, online quick fire questions may make some perfectly literate and numerate candidates panic and may not be a true reflection of their ability.
I am definitely not making excuses for them though.
It is quite simple, if an adult is not able to use basic literacy and numeracy correctly, they should not be responsible for teaching our children.
Sadly, I see quite a few basic errors on my supply teaching journeys.

storynanny Mon 16-Dec-13 18:40:09

.. Hoping I haven't made any errors in my posts! iPad to blame if so.......haha

There are some brilliant teachers who are dyslexic or just not terribly good at grammar. That's ok surely for secondary science or maths - I'd rather we kept them than drive them away from the profession.

SantasSisterdoesallthepresents Mon 16-Dec-13 19:01:28

I think if you choose to post on an internet site, writing about your problems, you are probably highly literate. Your children, too, are destined to be highly literate. However, there are huge swathes of people who are unlikely to become this impressive on paper. Yes, partly, it is down to poor teaching, partly ability, often poor home support for literacy. Some houses really don't have books, or papers. Some children really do play computer games for hours every night.

Teachers should not have poor punctuation and grammar. However, you can't correct every mistake because, in some cases, you will stop them from writing fluently and with enthusiasm. It is better (Secondary) for them to write, say, 800 words and make a dozen mistakes rather than feel terrible and write 100 so as to make none. I have seen the results of over zealous correcting by primary colleagues, often with the best intentions and, believe me, it is children (often boys) who just won't write - meaning they cannot really pass any exams.

Yes, correct the teacher. Yes, moan about her / his poor skills. But marking should be specific and targeted to bring about improvement - it is not about the teacher showing off superior SPAG skills.

YouTheCat Mon 16-Dec-13 19:03:58

I'm mildly dyslexic and I manage. Most of the dyslexic children that I teach also manage well enough and would know that 'potatoes' doesn't require an apostrophe.

In science and maths teachers need to be able to explain clearly and so a basic level of skill is very important.

YouTheCat Mon 16-Dec-13 19:05:33

But, Santa, the teacher corrected something that wasn't incorrect. The teacher was utterly wrong about a very basic point of grammar.

ILoveRacnoss Mon 16-Dec-13 19:12:43

Some children in my class like to scatter apostrophes like confetti, despite my best efforts. Present tense verbs seem to attract them. The teacher scream's in frustration.

My favourite at the moment is the child who has suddenly decided that they must put a comma at the end of every line on their page.

SantasSisterdoesallthepresents Mon 16-Dec-13 19:14:05

Agreed, Youthecat, and the teacher should be shot, or humiliated. That is unforgivable. But, up the thread, people were arguing teachers should correct every single mistake, and I was disputing that.

Hulababy Mon 16-Dec-13 19:15:02

Why do people always want to blame the poor TAs for grammar and spelling mistakes?!?!

My spelling and grammar, including my use of the apostrophe, is often far better than the younger teachers I work alongside. That is because I was taught grammar at school in some detail, whereas many of the younger teachers went through the system when it was not taught so well.

Hulababy Mon 16-Dec-13 19:17:57

And yes. When children are first taught about apostophes they do usually start to go a bit mad with them, sprinkling them all over their work whenever they sport a word ending in s. Most learn not to fairly quickly, some take a little longer.

Of course, if a teacher has corrected a SPAG in a child's work incorrectly then this is not good. If t is a one off it may just be a slip. If regularly it is more of a concern.

jamdonut Mon 16-Dec-13 19:36:51

I agree Hulababy!

(Despite my embarrassing mistakes at the beginning of this thread!)

I know how grammar and punctuation work, and can spot it in children's work, but it is easy to make the odd mistake yourself! (especially when typing quickly in response to someone's post!)

jamdonut Mon 16-Dec-13 19:40:19

...And now I am terrified of making further mistakes in my posts...I keep re-reading to make sure...but now I'm not confident!

Pixel Mon 16-Dec-13 19:56:44

What gets me is the constant assertion that teaching methods are better now when they clearly aren't. Years ago we didn't have swathes of youngsters leaving school without this basic knowledge as we do nowadays. When I see the standard of work displayed on walls (we assume because it was thought to be exceptionally good) it makes me very sad. What a cruel waste of all those years of education when we have teenagers and young adults who can barely string a sentence together. And it goes right through the system. How on earth can someone get as far as university and teacher training without someone pointing out that they haven't got a clue?

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Mon 16-Dec-13 20:11:14

Er, the UK doesn't have appalling standards of literacy.

It's bang-on the OECD average.

While it's true that Ireland, for example, has a higher standard of literacy, it's also not a very fair comparison. The UK has a much higher proportion of ESL students, and students whose parents may not speak much or any English.

There was never a golden age of widespread knowledge of the written rules of the prestige dialect of British English (or any other dialect). Ever since spelling and grammar began to be standardised, people have struggled with the rules and bemoaned others' ignorance.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Mon 16-Dec-13 20:17:06

What gets me is the constant assertion that teaching methods are better now when they clearly aren't. Years ago we didn't have swathes of youngsters leaving school without this basic knowledge as we do nowadays.

What? That is exactly what we had.

The older the generation, the higher the rate of illiteracy.

Those swathes of youngsters didn't leave school misusing apostrophes. They left school much younger than they do now, unable to read and write at all.

OrlandoWoolf Mon 16-Dec-13 20:21:24

Interestingly, about 75% of year 6 children achieved Level 4 in the SPAG test last year.

Of course, it was the first one.

Hulababy Mon 16-Dec-13 20:26:38

Pixel - work on the board is not usually chosen because it is exceptional good - not in my experience anyway. We place work on the classroom and hall ways from a wide range of pupils, with a wide range of abilities. We do not exclude any child, and definitely don't only chose the best - that would not be very inclusive.

General education standards ARE better than in the past. That is for the majority of children. In the past we may have had those at grammars achieving very high - but what about those who were not staying on for exams at all, leaving before them to go into work, or those who simply didn't go. For the masses, schools are doing a better job overall in a far wider range of subject areas. But teaching methods and curriculums changes all the time - the whole strict grammar teaching has been in and out of fashion on and off over the years. this is why many older people have far better SPAG skills than those in their 20-30s. And now we have returned to more detailed grammar - so it will change again.

Philoslothy Mon 16-Dec-13 21:01:09

I cannot see any teachers in this thread claiming that it is elitist to encourage correct SPAG. I still cannot remember a thread where a teacher claims this, although accept that others have been in here for longer than me or spend more time than me so know better.

I also have not seen any teachers saying that they should not learn or refresh their grammar.

phantomnamechanger Mon 16-Dec-13 21:09:53

It's a serious mistake to assume that work on a school noticeboard is there because its exceptionally good! So only the top 10% would ever get their work on the board? Always the same, predictable ones? How demoralising would that be for little Kyle who sees 2 sides of neat A4 from his peers time and time again when he can only manage 3 or 4 lines and that's a real struggle? Valuing each child and each child's individual progress is very important, which takes us back to the idea of NOT over correcting their work so they think "why did I bother?" when something they were proud of ends up absolutely covered in red ink!

friday16 Mon 16-Dec-13 22:01:07

Those swathes of youngsters didn't leave school misusing apostrophes. They left school much younger than they do now, unable to read and write at all.

That's absolutely true.

But I bet you that fifty years ago, people with first degrees from Redbrick universities could write accurate English. A lot of people with first degrees from Redbrick universities now can't. It would be unlikely that someone with a two year Cert Ed would have been unable to use a comma or a semi-colon accurately, now it's apparently perfectly acceptable for people with three year B Eds to be unable to spell.

Your point about rates of literacy in society in general is accurate: illiteracy was invisible, marginal literacy is today visible. But the standards of education amongst school teachers themselves are shockingly low, and the excuses trotted out as to why allegedly educated people are incapable of buying, reading and taking in a basic grammar are pretty thin.

persimmon Mon 16-Dec-13 22:12:01

I teach a humanities subject and have been struck when checking reports how noticeably weaker the SPAG of maths/science/games teachers is. Nothing, I'm sure, to do with intelligence, just day-to-day use and practice.

steppemum Mon 16-Dec-13 22:18:01

I was just wondering - what is that literacy test like that student teachers have to do?

Any samples on-line?

I would love to know how easy/difficult it is.

DorothyParker1 Mon 16-Dec-13 22:23:26

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/careers/traininganddevelopment/professional/b00211208/literacy/practice-literacy

phantomnamechanger Mon 16-Dec-13 22:39:56
friday16 Mon 16-Dec-13 22:49:34

I've just taken the literacy test. I took 18 minutes and passed. The punctuation test is shit, because it capitalises vast numbers of nouns that shouldn't be capitalised (Accident Report Form, Headteacher's Secretary) and you get bogged down in worrying about that.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 16-Dec-13 23:11:57

I posted earlier upthread. My A'level English teacher, probably about ten years older than we were at the time, made a point of telling us she'd scraped an E in her own English A'level... I have no idea how she got the job. WTF was that about?! She was appalling, couldn't spell, had no idea about grammar and my A'level German teacher encouraged me not to bother attending her lessons...

Pixel Mon 16-Dec-13 23:36:04

General education standards ARE better than in the past. That is for the majority of children. In the past we may have had those at grammars achieving very high - but what about those who were not staying on for exams at all

My mum left school at 15 and she has a very good grasp of SPAG. It definitely wasn't a grammar, she lived in what is now seen as a very deprived area where the bus drivers sometimes refuse to go at night. The family lived on what my grandad could grow/raise on his smallholding and money from casual labour, they were not privileged at all. Thanks to her I could read before I started school. And my dh, he left school at 14 having grown up in the care system. There is nothing wrong with his SPAG either and his maths certainly puts me to shame, though he had never taken an exam in his life until recently.

Shallistopnow Mon 16-Dec-13 23:41:05

My DD aged 7 wrote "I like to sing hims " & the TA corrected it to "hyms"!

steppemum Mon 16-Dec-13 23:42:17

I passed the test (phew)
But I only got 10/15 on the punctuation, and I couldn't return to see what the right answers were. It was a poor test, because, for example, when the letter should have been a capital, I changed the a to and A and I think you were supposed to write the A next to it? Instructions were poor. Didn't approve of the random capital letters either.

steppemum Tue 17-Dec-13 00:19:57

I was a bit shocked by the grammar section. If you can't work out most of those, then you can't speak properly, and given that the section is multiple choice, all you have to do is read the options and the right one really should be obvious.

ILoveRacnoss Tue 17-Dec-13 00:44:31

I passed and I didn't bother reading the comprehension articles (because it's late and I should be in bed!). I just went on gut feel for those sections.

I'm a primary teacher.

intothenever Tue 17-Dec-13 00:52:09

If I were told not to correct my child's home writing lest it dent her confidence I would NOT be happy!! I cannot believe someone would say that!

That is possibly because your child is doing very well with her writing. Very few 4 and 5 yos can write much at all, and there are children quite a bit older (some of whom go on to do perfectly well at 16, 18, 21...) who won't write much more than a couple of sentences.

If correcting every minor mistake (because at 5 a misplaced comma is as minor as it gets) works for your child then fine; just be aware that it doesn't work for most people (of any age).

brettgirl2 Tue 17-Dec-13 06:51:49

No one can tell you what to do in your own home so relax. My understanding is that at reception age they start by writing phonetically and that is fine by me. It seems logical to me as that way they are learning one step at a time and gaining confidence. But there is more than one way to do everything. I didn't want dd to learn writing before she started school so she is probably currently at more of an average level right now, meaning the way it is taught is working for her.

OrlandoWoolf Tue 17-Dec-13 07:37:59

intothenever

Imagine you do a piece of work for your boss. You're very proud of it as you're just learning about this area. Your boss then goes through it and says - well you shouldn't use an apostrophe here, full stop there, that's misspelt, so' s that, and that....oh and you need a connective here. You're missing middle sound there etc etc. For every single mistake.

How would you feel?

friday16 Tue 17-Dec-13 08:35:18

Your boss then goes through it and says - well you shouldn't use an apostrophe here, full stop there, that's misspelt

A scenario that is less likely to arise if, of course, you can spell and punctuate. Don't want to be humiliated by your boss complaining about your writing? Learn to write. Books are available in bookshops.

If it was a good effort and was going out for publication I'd say "let's check for any typos" and give deserved, positive feedback about the actual meat of the work. This is exactly what I do on a regular basis, in fact.

What I wouldn't do is rip it to shreds for minor SPaG issues - which is what some people seem to want to happen to their children's work.

Summergarden Tue 17-Dec-13 09:00:03

This is such a common mistake that children make, wider readers see apostrophes used for possession in books (near the letter 's') and generalise its use to plural words. Very unlikely that the teacher taught it ( haven't read the whole thread though).

When I mark work as a teacher, I rarely correct every single error in red pen, unless it is a very able child who has made very few mistakes. Just because it can be very disheartening for a child who has made a real effort to get their book back scribbled with red pen everywhere, seeming as if they have got more 'wrong' than 'right' and they are more likely to take on board marking feedback and corrections if they are a fair rather than excessive amount. Just MHO.

Ladyflip Tue 17-Dec-13 09:47:47

I had to endure four nativity productions last week whilst on the blackboard was written "Today's music: Somerset Raphsody". If I could have elbowed my way to it, I would have rubbed it off. Perhaps wrongly, I just fumed in silence.

friday16 Tue 17-Dec-13 09:53:14

Just because it can be very disheartening for a child who has made a real effort to get their book back scribbled with red pen everywhere

But if by secondary school children are still writing with extensive SPaG problems, wouldn't it be a good idea for school leadership to take a step back and consider what might be done about it? Accepting, arguendo, that it's demoralising to correct it all, is leaving it all uncorrected helping the child in the long-term? Perhaps a school might consider, I don't know, holding some classes which they might call, perhaps, "English classes" in which they teach people to write correctly? Rather than whining that either the children's primary teachers or the teacher's own primary teachers didn't do it right, secondaries could do it themselves. I know, crazy mad stuff.

CalamitouslyWrong Tue 17-Dec-13 10:10:56

Why on earth would anyone imagine that spelling and grammar are the barometer of education. One can be highly educated, able to think critically, analyse complex ideas, possess an enormous amount of specialised knowledge, know how to find out information and evaluate it, communicate their ideas in various ways and still struggle to spell 'definitely' or be a bit confused about semi-colons. I know brilliant university professors who can't spell for shit; it doesn't make them poorly educated.

It is usually people who can't do several of the above e.g. that fool gove who get all het up about spelling and grammar and see it as the be all and end all.

OrlandoWoolf Tue 17-Dec-13 10:22:59

friday16

I was thinking more of a situation that work you were really proud of was criticised by someone else - yet you hadn't been taught it and were in the early stages.

Say you were learning to paint and your first efforts were "corrected".

friday16 Tue 17-Dec-13 10:28:38

Say you were learning to paint and your first efforts were "corrected".

You mean, someone who knows what they're doing comes in and tells me how to do it better? That sounds good.

I'm also not sure what the scare quotes around "corrected" are for. Someone pointing out that "there dog eight from it's bowel" is wrong isn't "correcting" in, they're correcting it. It's wrong.

friday16 Tue 17-Dec-13 10:29:32

There's a typo in that. Which you're welcome to point out. I suspect my self-esteem will survive it.

HamletsSister Tue 17-Dec-13 12:56:02

Friday16 - you are coming at it from a position of strength, where you are highly articulate and, no doubt, your daughter will be too. However, the reality is that many children will struggle. For example, in my mixed ability S1 class, some children are working on being able to write sentences, others are improving their use of the comma, others are writing like seasoned journalists. Each of them has their own target and area to work on. All of them have something to improve on. However, what I don't do is go through the work of a very, very dyslexic child who has just arrived from another school (Primary / Another Secondary) and put red pen over every single error. I can do that with some - because they only make a few errors and can cope with pen in a few places. For others, I will "target mark" those things that they are working on at the moment.

If you were learning to paint and your efforts were corrected - good. If your efforts were totally trashed with every single tiny error being held up to ridicule (and many children have very low self-esteem so can't cope with overt criticism) then you might think twice about becoming an Artist. There is no choice with literacy - we need it to access the world. Schools do run catch up classes. We do help the most insecure and those with areas of weakness. No sure who we can blame in Secondary schools. If they have just arrived we do the best we can with what we are given.

Also, the poster above talking about poor writing at University level is correct. However, since "my day" Universities have massively expanded, taking a far greater proportion of the population, hence a greater spread of abilities in all areas.

I hope for your daugher's sake, Friday16, she is not constantly cricitised at school for every tiny mistake in every subject as even good self-esteem can easily be damaged. We should correct only to improve, not to feel smug or make children feel bad about themselves.

HamletsSister Tue 17-Dec-13 12:57:16

Oh and back to the OP. You should definitely highlight this to the HT as it is making a difference to your child. Criticism should be used to make a difference - to bring about change. In this case, it should make a difference to your child and to other children. It is not just you being superior! wink

HamletsSister Tue 17-Dec-13 12:59:08

Sorry, not a sockpuppet but had name changed for Christmas - and then back again - the new name just took too long to type!

Pixel Tue 17-Dec-13 14:16:16

What I wouldn't do is rip it to shreds for minor SPaG issues - which is what some people seem to want to happen to their children's work.

I never said that. As you've already said there are ways of drawing attention to areas in need of improvement without belittling the overall effort. What's wrong with saying "marvellous story, you've done really well. Now if you just correct that and that, it will be perfect and we can put it on the wall"?

DorothyParker1 Tue 17-Dec-13 14:19:55

We should correct only to improve, not to feel smug or make children feel bad about themselves

Am I missing the bit where somebody suggested we should correct in order to feel smug? What a bizarre idea.

YouTheCat Tue 17-Dec-13 14:29:41

I tried that test. It was horribly confusing in its layout.

I got 10/10 for my spellings though. grin

CalamitouslyWrong Tue 17-Dec-13 14:50:09

The letter you're supposed to correct in practice paper 3 is abysmal. Not because the punctuation is a bit dodgy, but because it's crap. The lack of overall narrative and linkage between the paragraphs is awful. The paragraph beginning 'fortunately' is particularly bad, but apparently all that's wrong is the missing apostrophe, not that it should be re-written from scratch.

HamletsSister Tue 17-Dec-13 15:01:35

I believe that some of the people who want to point out errors in writing do so to reinforce their own sense of how good they are and how weak others are, rather than to bring about change. Thus, posters are criticising teachers for not picking up pupils on every single error.

friday16 Tue 17-Dec-13 15:01:54

where you are highly articulate and, no doubt, your daughter will be too.

The problem with debates about grammar, spelling and (implicitly) register is that most of the actors are made of the purest and driest straw. On the one hand we have "correct nothing for it will impede their creativity" hippies from Melanie Phillips columns (who don't exist) and on the other we have Gradgrindian "beat them until they don't split infinitives" from Michael Rosen columns (who also don't exist). It's worth noting that both Mad Mel and, er, Mild Mike write like angels, and therein lies the problem.

Articulate (by implication, articulate in standard English) parents have children who are in general skilled in the use of standard English because it's the working language of the household. When in the 1970s and 1980s it became fashionable for some schools to pretend that there was no such thing as standard English, and that you could speak and write nothing but Lancashire dialect without any economic impact on your life (again, obviously, I have some straw available to build this caricature), the middle classes were perfectly safe: their children spoke and wrote standard English anyway.

The risk is that people who have access to standard English, and whose children have access to standard English, deny knowledge of that register to the children they teach. And those children arrive at interviews unaware of the fact that the language they write and speak is condemning them to being ignored. You can argue that that shouldn't be the case, and that universities and employers should interview people who speak heavy dialect, deep patois or simply ungrammatical English with no prejudice at all, but they will. And for people who have access to that standard register to deny knowledge of it to people whose parents don't have access to it strikes me as entrenching disadvantage.

So it's a fine line between building self-esteem and trying to reduce intergenerational disadvantage. Ironically, children whose parents don't speak English (either at all, or very well) and fall into the category of EAL/ESL/EFL get better support, because they're assumed to need language instruction, while there's a tentativeness about the same instruction for native speakers. It's complex, and caricatures like correction being about "feel(ing) smug or mak(ing) children feel bad about themselves" don't help.

friday16 Tue 17-Dec-13 15:03:03

I believe that some of the people who want to point out errors in writing do so to reinforce their own sense of how good they are and how weak others are, rather than to bring about change. Thus, posters are criticising teachers for not picking up pupils on every single error.

My cross-post mentioned arguments built of straw. Rightly, it would appear.

HamletsSister Tue 17-Dec-13 15:17:19

I am being a bit stupid today (knackered - end of term) but I don't really see that we are arguing about anything. I agree, pupils need literacy skills. Believe me, I spend most of my days correcting errors far more horrendous than the odd extra apostrophe, and my youngest pupils are 11. I have children who can't write sentences. I have pupils who can't read at all, or do so at such a low level that they can't really access the books suitable for their age. They need these skills: they need them to get jobs; they need them to do the simplest of tasks like choosing what to watch on television.

However, I read above various posters who were asking that everything be marked: Op said, " And if infants spend their entire time worrying about SPAG they would never write anything.. I'm sorry but that is crap." and others agreed.

There is a particularly smug type of poster (and they exist in real life too) who wants to see children "told" if they make mistakes. English is a battleground that is fought over, as aptly summarised by Friday above. I was responding to those posters (including the OP) who were demanding that teachers correct every mistake and who don't have the first idea about the children we teach - only their own.

HamletsSister Tue 17-Dec-13 15:21:21

Also, often the children who come from overseas are the most motivated to get it "right" and who want Standard English as they see this as the way to get jobs and make progress. Often the hardest nuts to crack are those who come from families with low levels of literacy but where they are native speakers. The whole thing is further complicated by dyslexia, adhd and any number of other issues that prevent pupils from accessing the curriculum and can make literacy more challenging. Often these are found in families and, thus, children come from families with poor performance and low expectations. In these cases, the only motivator is the teacher and we only see them for about 3 hours a week!

cory Tue 17-Dec-13 15:29:38

Surely nobody is saying "don't correct at all", but rather "correct in moderation and with a clear target in mind so that the whole work is not smothered under red ink".

If the teacher had corrected every single error in ds' work in the early years he would not have been able to see his own writing underneath, which would have made it difficult for him to take the criticism on board.

Instead, she concentrated on one or two targets at the time, systematically and thoughtfully; then, when he had mastered those, moved on to the next. With the result that gradually and over a period of many months his writing improved.

morefalafel Tue 17-Dec-13 15:36:55

Correct the teachers spelling, in an even BIGGER red pen!

EvilTwins Tue 17-Dec-13 17:57:36

We had a literacy session as part of a staff meeting recently, as we're evaluating our whole-school literacy marking policy. Our SENCO had done a focus group with students from across the school and one of the most interesting things they said was that they hate it when teachers write all over their work. It makes it difficult for them to see the wood for the trees, and would prefer it if we wrote on post-it notes and stuck them on. Unfortunately, this isn't really practical - post-its can fall off, and some depts. would end up spending half their budget on them. It was useful for us, as teachers, to know, though, that students don't like it when we scrawl all over their essays.

Pixel Tue 17-Dec-13 18:40:46

Well then take a photocopy and do the marking on that. Simple.

cory Tue 17-Dec-13 19:19:26

CalamitouslyWrong Tue 17-Dec-13 10:10:56
"Why on earth would anyone imagine that spelling and grammar are the barometer of education. One can be highly educated, able to think critically, analyse complex ideas, possess an enormous amount of specialised knowledge, know how to find out information and evaluate it, communicate their ideas in various ways and still struggle to spell 'definitely' or be a bit confused about semi-colons. I know brilliant university professors who can't spell for shit; it doesn't make them poorly educated.

It is usually people who can't do several of the above e.g. that fool gove who get all het up about spelling and grammar and see it as the be all and end all."

Speaking as somebody who has to mark/proof-read/review/critique and teach some of these complex ideas, I do prefer it if the grammar is clear so that I can actually see the brilliance that underlies it. I do not appreciate it when I have to sit pen in hand and rewrite the text before I can understand it. Or when I am slowed down by poor spelling and punctutation and have to reread a word several times to see what it says.

Writing well and proof-reading carefully is a courtesy you show to the reader. These days academics are required to do their own proof-reading as we no longer have the supporting staff to help us. Asking the reader to become an unpaid secretary is simply not on imho.

friday16 Tue 17-Dec-13 19:33:49

Asking the reader to become an unpaid secretary is simply not on imho.

This. (a) If you can't write about it clearly, you probably can't think about it clearly and (b) if you can't be bothered to write about it accurately, I can't be bothered to read about it, and my time matters to me more than your time matters to me.

There will be exceptions. But I'm not sure there are enough exceptions to spend time reading shoddy writing on the offchance that it's a diamond in the rough.

EvilTwins Tue 17-Dec-13 19:46:31

I think you're missing their point, pixel hmm

cory Tue 17-Dec-13 20:14:28

I do apologise for the typo. I can spell "punctuation".

steppemum Tue 17-Dec-13 20:20:22

so, back to OP

Did you tell the teacher intothe never?

and to the poster who was watching the spelling mistake on the blackboard during the nativity, I would have made an ironic comment to the head pointing it out.

mrspremise Tue 17-Dec-13 20:44:33

Send things back corrected in red pen, I would

Philoslothy Tue 17-Dec-13 20:57:54

Pixel do you seriously want me to photocopy everything that I am marking. Where in earth am I going to find the time and money to photocopy everything? Never mind the environmental impact of students writing on paper and then photocopying that work onto more paper.

soverylucky Tue 17-Dec-13 21:02:48

Teachers should be able to spell properly and know the rules of grammar. It is perfectly acceptable for a teacher not to correct every single bit of a child's work. Our school has a policy where everything has to be corrected and for some children that sadly means that the whole page is covered in red ink.

There are clearly some bad teachers out there but until you start paying teachers more money and stop blaming them for all the problems of the world you are not going to get 100% excellence all the time

ILoveRacnoss Tue 17-Dec-13 21:22:06

Regarding corrections - my school has a policy of us picking out up to three spelling errors in a piece of writing. These are underlined, then written below the piece for the pupil to copy three times.

I push my luck by correcting homophones within the work too. I figure it's not a 'spelling' error if they still struggle with there/their.

Other errors may be highlighted depending on the focus of the lesson. We were working on inverted commas last week, so all speech punctuation errors were circled ruthlessly.

HopeClearwater Tue 17-Dec-13 21:26:56

An ex-employer of mine (headteacher of a large primary in a deprived area in the UK) announced in a staff meeting that 'Spelling doesn't matter these days'. He also has appalling grammar, both spoken and written. Add to that his statement, 'No one reads books any more; they watch the film' (used to justify his teaching a book from a film excerpt and not the book itself) and you have a recipe for appalling standards of literacy.
Oh and no one higher up than him cares, because none of the parents (many of whom are new to speaking English themselves) complain.

alemci Tue 17-Dec-13 22:29:52

going slightly off topic but I was taught to use an apostrophe when writing about time.

e.g. In three years' time

the time of three years

is this old hat?

friday16 Tue 17-Dec-13 22:33:51

I was taught to use an apostrophe when writing about time.

Correct. Even Guardian headline writers know this.

alemci Tue 17-Dec-13 22:37:53

yes thanks but working in education I notice that it isn't in texts when it should be. Almost the attitude that no one would be able to grasp it and dumbing down.

steppemum Tue 17-Dec-13 23:28:10

I have never realised that that apostrophe rule existed alemci, and it feels like a piece of jigsaw just slotted into place.

mn - you learn something new every day!

Nanny0gg Tue 17-Dec-13 23:33:07

is this old hat?

No.

WHAT KIND OF WORLD DO WE LIVE IN WHERE, FIVE YEARS AFTER THEIR BIRTH, CHILDREN STILL MISUSE APOSTROPHES!!!!!!!!!

<weeps>

intothenever Wed 18-Dec-13 00:08:42

There is a particularly smug type of poster (and they exist in real life too) who wants to see children "told" if they make mistakes.

Er...guilty as charged. If that makes me smug, fair enough.

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 07:05:00

I have never realised that that apostrophe rule existed alemci

If you want to add to your apostrophe knowledge, you know all that stuff about there being two sorts of apostrophe, the ones use for omission (don't, isn't) and the one used for possession (Dave's dog's basket)?

There's really only one sort, omission.

Shakespeare et al only use it for omission and for vowels that aren't sounded. So what's now rendered (Tempest, I.1) "Take in the topsail. Tend to the master's whistle. Blow, till thou burst thy wind,if room enough!" is "Take in the toppe-sale: Tend to th' Masters whistle: Blow till thou burst thy winde, if roome enough." in the first folio (and subsequent editions of the 17th century).

Printers had started to use the apostrophe to mark vowels that weren't pronounced any more (for example, it's quite common to see modern "loved" spelt "lov'd"). Old English had a genitive case ("godes lof" = "God's love"), which had disappeared over time (Comedy of Errors, I.2, "For Gods sake send some other messenger"). Sometimes this was printed as "God's" because of a vestigial awareness of the "missing" e. Eventually, in the 18th century it was standardised for possession, including for cases where there actually wasn't a missing e ("the gate's hinges"). The pronouns were already irregular in OE and hadn't changed other than the spelling being regularised ("Cnut cyning gret his arcebiscopas" = "Cnut King greets his archbishops") so they didn't acquire apostrophes (hence all the confusion over its).

The plural possessive case ("my three dogs' bowls") didn't get standardised until the 19th century. OE had the ending -as for this case, but I think the convention of putting an apostrophe after the s was pretty much invented from whole cloth. Someone who actually understands this stuff might comment.

steppemum Wed 18-Dec-13 09:34:12

that is fascinating friday, thank you!

exhaustedandannoyed Wed 18-Dec-13 10:38:45

There are quite a few people suggesting that 'young' or 'recently qualified' teachers make mistakes with spelling and grammar, but I have seen plenty of older and more experienced teachers make frequent mistakes too. As a primary school teacher you teach all the subjects, most people are stronger in either literacy or numeracy. Not every teacher is great at both. I would imagine if a teacher who is not that great at grammar was going to be teaching apostrophes they would revise the subject themselves first to make sure they don't actually teach it wrong. If they are just correcting some writing they may just slip up.

HesterShaw Wed 18-Dec-13 10:54:43

Friday, I love your posts.

<slightly stalkerish grin>

YouTheCat Wed 18-Dec-13 12:16:06

I had to type out a passage from the Letters and Sounds booklet today, for my phonics group, and it is littered with basic grammatical errors as well as being bloody awful .

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Wed 18-Dec-13 16:25:56

"As a primary school teacher you teach all the subjects, most people are stronger in either literacy or numeracy.

But exhausted I really don't think that knowing how to correctly use an apostrophe, or knowing what a clause is, or an adverb, qualifies you as being strong at literacy hmm

This is basic stuff, here...basic stuff that my DDs knew when they were 8/9. So, I damn well expect any primary school teacher, no matter what their strengths are, to know this...it should be a 'given'.

And, having worked as a TA in quite a few primary/secondary schools I have sometimes been shock at some of the literacy clangers that teachers come out with.

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 16:40:38

most people are stronger in either literacy or numeracy.

One is reminded of poor old Napoleon, who could only learn DEF at the expense of forgetting ABC.

Are your seriously saying that for people with a three or four year post-18 education, it is a zero-sum game as to whether they can use simple punctuation or do primary-school level maths? I'd say that the word for a primary school teacher who can't both (a) use apostrophes, commas and capital letters correctly and (b) add, subtract, multiply and divide with integers, simple reals and rationals, calculate percentages, do simply work with shapes and so was is "incompetent". If you're a primary school teacher and can't score 100% on the KS2 SATs, you should get another job.

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 16:41:21

One is reminded of poor old Napoleon

One is reminded of poor old Boxer, of course.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Wed 18-Dec-13 16:55:43

I agree with you Friday I think it a damning indictment of how low standards/expectations are nowdays, that knowing how to use an apostrophe, or what an adverb/noun is is viewed as esoteric information - reserved for a chosen few, and not necessary for the masses.

HesterShaw Wed 18-Dec-13 17:20:35

Like maths <slightly irrelevant>. People say, hilariously, "Oh I'm HOPELESS at maths! Could NEVER do it!" and beam around looking for people to agree with them, which they generally do, to be fair. And if you go against the herd and say anything like "Actually I liked maths and was quite good at it at school," they look at you as though you're a boasting, freakish bastard.

storynanny Wed 18-Dec-13 17:31:59

Friday and laqueen, you are so right!

storynanny Wed 18-Dec-13 17:33:16

You can't possibly consider becoming a teacher if you can't score 100% in the literacy and numeracy tests designed for 10 and 11 year olds.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 18-Dec-13 17:35:53

I think it a damning indictment of how low standards/expectations are nowdays, that knowing how to use an apostrophe, or what an adverb/noun is is viewed as esoteric information - reserved for a chosen few, and not necessary for the masses

You're inventing again, laqueen.
I certainly think the teacher should know, and if she doesn't that's bad. I just wouldn't be so worried about a six year old knowing. Time enough at 8 or 9, which seem much more usual ages.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Wed 18-Dec-13 17:53:20

No Nit I'm not inventing ...this happens to be my actual opinion - gleaned from having worked in schools as a TA, and a Cover Supervisor. And, having witnessed lots of threads on here, where it is most definitely implied that having a competent working knowledge of SPAG isn't necessarily vital for teachers.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 18-Dec-13 17:58:56

Who said that understanding apostrophes is arcane knowledge for the elite? Since it is a damning indictment etc, I assume someone has said so at some point?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 18-Dec-13 18:00:05

Ah, definite implications again! I getcha.

limitedperiodonly Wed 18-Dec-13 18:02:36

Of course teachers should be sound on spelling, grammar, punctuation and numeracy, though I'd be prepared to cut an otherwise competent chemistry teacher, say, some slack if her spelling was a bit dodgy but she knew the symbol for nitric acid and didn't spell it sulphuric acid.

But as always, I am amused by posters who bang on about the importance of SPAG, while making basic errors that can't really be explained by just mucking about.

If you know the basics, they flow automatically. Though not impossible, it's quite hard for someone who does to consistently put apostrophes, for instance, in the wrong place.

There will be mistakes in my post, particularly in my use of commas which I'm weak on. The difference is, I don't claim that it's easy or make unconvincing excuses for my mistakes.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 18-Dec-13 18:03:33

Agree with all that, limited.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Wed 18-Dec-13 18:36:10

Not necessarily limited - I think as has been already discussed on here, people can be more relaxed about their posting style because this isn't a formal setting. And, even if you have a firm grasp of the basics, there's always human error and finger trouble...I am still trying to negotiate typing on a tablet, fopr example.

And, even if you're teaching, of course you are going to make the odd silly error, of course, you are. I do it myself, a lot of the time.

But, I think what people are concerned about is when a teacher isn't making a silly error, dashed off in a split second of absent-mindedness - but in fact, just doesn't know the correct knowledge in the first place. And, these same errors are actually happening through out the school year.

Or, when in a formal situation e.g. the literacy tests for NQTs, and they're failing them, more than once.

friday16 Wed 18-Dec-13 19:07:42

I just noticed this:

An ex-employer of mine (headteacher of a large primary in a deprived area in the UK) announced in a staff meeting that 'Spelling doesn't matter these days'

I wonder. If his school got put into special measures, and he had to write a response to Ofsted in order to retain his and his senior staff's jobs, would he (a) throw it down casually and not worry about the SPaG too much as it doesn't matter these days or (b) obsessively proof-read it so that it was perfect, and then get someone else to check?

Because my money's on (b). Which is a bit odd, isn't it?

limitedperiodonly Wed 18-Dec-13 19:50:38

Is that what people are talking about laqueen?

Through out (sic) the school year?

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Wed 18-Dec-13 19:54:27

Agree it would be b) I would assume?

IME I do think among a lot of schools (well, the ones I have personal experience of) there is a consensus that SPAG is essentionally SEP - Somebody Else's Problem hmm

So...if things are missed out, or glossed over in Yr 3...then someone in Yr 5 can sort it...and, if it's not sorted then, then maybe Yr 6...or, hey, we're sure that someone at the secondary school can probably sort this out - and, maybe by Yr 8 or Yr 9 the struggling pupil will have an epiphany, and it will suddenly make sense...

...then, suddenly, you have university lecturers having to teach really basic stuff to their first year undergraduates...

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Wed 18-Dec-13 19:56:20

Yes, I think it becomes a huge cause for concern when parents realise these aren't silly, absent minded errors from time to time...but in fact happen on a routine basis, because the basic knowledge isn't there.

MoominMammasHandbag Wed 18-Dec-13 20:11:43

Thing is, we could all probably live without apostrophes couldn't we? I don't think they add much to our understanding of written English. In fact I'm quite surprised they aren't already obsolete, given that at least 50% of the population can't use them properly.
Out of interest, do other languages have an equivalent?

nkf Wed 18-Dec-13 20:15:00

So the choice is the teacher doesn't know how to use apostrophoes or your very young child doesn't. Hmmm. Difficult call.

nkf Wed 18-Dec-13 20:15:30

Apostrophes even.

Except the lecturers can't always, LaQ. Plenty of bloody good minds are crap at punctuation - thankfully there's more to academia than prefect apostrophes.

I wouldn't demand perfect SPaG from a science teacher any more than I'd require tip top mental arithmetic from a linguist.

whereisshe Wed 18-Dec-13 22:48:10

Johnny, I wouldn't call knowing how to spell the plural of potato "perfect SPaG", I'd call it "fairly rudimentary SPaG".

YouTheCat Wed 18-Dec-13 22:58:22

Well, I really don't give a rat's arse about whether the 'great minds' can punctuate or not. I do care about whether those people entrusted with teaching young children the basics of English are competent or not though.

NadiaWadia Wed 18-Dec-13 23:15:40

There are lots of apostrophes in Dutch, Moomin. And I think, confusingly, they use them for making plurals.

I could be wrong about this, though. I got it just from glancing through a text book.

steppemum Wed 18-Dec-13 23:52:17

no Nadia, they don't smile

They use them pretty much the same way as in English, possessive and omission.

But I may be wrong, post an example where you think it is plural and I will try and tell you

grumpyoldbat Thu 19-Dec-13 01:21:59

I think you can expect someone to be good at something you're not good at yourself. That is if the skill is a fundamental part of their job. I would expect a teacher (primary or secondary English) to be good at SpaG in the same way I would expect an electrician to be good at wiring or a plumber good with pipes.

I certainly would be annoyed if a teacher "corrected" dd's work to something as wrong as potato's for the plural of potato. I work on the principal if someone who struggled as much as I did with English can spot an error then it's a glaring error.

Philoslothy Thu 19-Dec-13 01:59:25

I do not teach in an ivory tower, I actually teach in a school that is part comprehensive and part secondary modern. I just do not recognize the descriptions of teachers on here, and as a senior teacher I read lots of application letters and visit lots of my classrooms to see teachers in action.

SPAG is seen as everybody's problem, not for somebody else to worry about. Commas etc are not seen as some kind of higher knowledge but the absolute basics. If basic mistakes are being made throughout the year , they have all passed me by.

friday16 Thu 19-Dec-13 06:43:28

I work on the principal if someone who struggled as much as I did with English can spot an error then it's a glaring error.

Indeed.

cory Thu 19-Dec-13 09:16:29

JohnnyBarthes Wed 18-Dec-13 22:45:29
"Except the lecturers can't always, LaQ. Plenty of bloody good minds are crap at punctuation - thankfully there's more to academia than prefect apostrophes."

Have you ever been able to find a publisher who agrees with this tolerant view?

Ime readers for publishing houses are fusspots whose blood pressure rises at the mere sight of a footnote sign that is not italicised in the same way as the footnote signs of all the other volumes in the series. The idea that they wouldn't care about apostrophes and faulty plurals seems very far-fetched to me.

If you are an academic these days, you have to do your own proof-reading before submitting: otherwise, your contribution will be rejected out of hand. And if you can't publish, you won't keep that job as a lecturer either.

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Thu 19-Dec-13 09:28:06

"So the choice is the teacher doesn't know how to use apostrophoes or your very young child doesn't. Hmmm. Difficult call."

Well, it'll be the one who wrote in 'potato's' in the teacher's handwriting using a red pen; if only we had some kind of clue as to whether that was likely to be the teacher or the child...

steppemum Thu 19-Dec-13 12:30:15

whoops - I stand corrected re the Dutch and apostrophes.

I asked dh this morning (he is Dutch) He said they are used for omission and possession. But the rules are slightly different to the English rule.

So I asked - ''Not for plurals?''

No! he said. Then he thought about it and said ... hmm... maybe.

They do use apostrophes for plurals sometimes. Usually when it is a foreign import word. Eg photo's. If there was no apostrophe, the s would change the sound of the o, because Dutch is phonetic. We checked in the dictionary.
Still trying to work out if any non import words have them.

I then asked if people get them wrong. Oh yes, all the time, as bad as the English!

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Thu 19-Dec-13 13:35:25

"I wouldn't demand perfect SPaG from a science teacher any more than I'd require tip top mental arithmetic from a linguist."

Johnny but we're really not talking about supposedly tip-top SPAG here, are we? Really? Does knowing the correct plural of potato, or knwing what an adverb is, qualify you as having perfect SPAG? Really hmm

This is very standard, verging on basic stuff - the sort of stuff that any student who has studied at undergraduate level FFS, should have under their belt.

steppemum Thu 19-Dec-13 13:46:46

The teacher is in very good company, do you remember George Bush visiting a school?
A child had to come to the front to write potato on the board (as part of spelling test of something)
child wrote - potato
George Bush went over and corrected it to - potatoe!

steppemum Thu 19-Dec-13 13:59:10

'or' not 'of' obviously

HamletsSister Thu 19-Dec-13 15:50:56

That was Dan Quayle, steppemum - but a great story.

JapaneseMargaret Fri 20-Dec-13 09:05:44

thankfully there's more to academia than prefect apostrophes.

Couldn't agree more with cory.

In the 'real world' (if not academia) perfect apostrophes are pretty much de rigueur, and if you expect your writing to be consumed by the public, then your apostrophes had better be perfect.

I work in the public sector (Ministry of Education (not in the UK, obv), so even less room for error) as a writer, and I can assure you that erroneous apostrophes - let alone other SPaG errors - are thrown back until they're corrected.

Why wouldn't they be...? confused Presumably you want your readers to a). understand what you're saying, and b). take you seriously.

steppemum Fri 20-Dec-13 18:16:08

OP - did you say anything? What was the teacher's response?

Euphemia Fri 20-Dec-13 20:43:50

My DH is a science professor and he has umpteen books on grammar and punctuation precisely so that his academic writing is top-notch from that point of view.

stinkypants Fri 20-Dec-13 21:27:05

I teach in a primary school and have encountered many teachers with poor SPaG - I believe they know their weakness and are very careful to avoid such errors. Most are trying to improve given the recent focus in this area.
It is difficult to be an excellent all-rounder which essentially is what you need to be in primary teaching. We all have weaker subjects but I suppose a child gets a good balance if they have different teachers each year.

Philoslothy Fri 20-Dec-13 22:02:50

I don't think that knowing basic grammar is excellence .

JapaneseMargaret Fri 20-Dec-13 22:13:48

It is difficult (impossible) to be an excellent all-rounder and everyone is better and worse at some things. But 'correcting' an 'error' by adding in an apostrophe where an apostrophe has no business being, is really not great.

The bottom line is that it's not rocket science. Many people weren't taught SPaG and that's not their fault, but it's actually easy to learn.

steppemum Sat 21-Dec-13 08:51:01

I am fascinated by this idea that being able to write simple English is a specialist skill, or a sign of excellence.

I was primary teacher. My spag is not great as I was at school in the 70s no grammar era. I am aware of my shortcomings and have self taught myself all that I needed to be a competent class teacher. I still make mistakes, but usually I am aware of it eg spellings, I will look them up or do spell check.

I find this mistake (potato's) pretty basic. No primary teacher should be making this mistake.

Philoslothy Sat 21-Dec-13 11:36:53

I don't think many, if any teachers, think that basic SPAG are a sign of excellence.

I think some people like to portray teachers as thinking it is.

BabyMummy29 Sat 21-Dec-13 15:42:59

They shouldn't be a sign of excellence. They should be an expected standard. If those teaching can't spell or use correct grammar, how on earth can they teach it to their pupils?

In some countries teaching is one of the courses that requires the highest grades. When I went into teaching, we all had good grades. Now the system is so dumbed down that people who are not very clever are being turned into teachers.

Pixel Sat 21-Dec-13 17:02:09

Babymummy you will like this fgrin.

BabyMummy29 Sat 21-Dec-13 17:54:02

Sorry Pixel Couldn't get it to work sad

Pixel Sat 21-Dec-13 17:58:21

Oh dear, works on mine. Never mind then, was just Youtube link. Sorry!

Pointeshoes Sat 21-Dec-13 18:37:19

To get into teaching via PGCE now you have to have grade B at both English and Maths. They are trying to up skill teachers but it also means a lot of very good potential teachers can't get on to the course due to old grades, pre degree.
There's a lot more to teaching than spelling, it's a shame.

friday16 Sat 21-Dec-13 19:50:17

If someone can't get a b in gcse maths and English (roughly a c at o level) then why should they be considered for teaching? There are degrees you can get onto without that, but hardly selective ones, and without a c at a level in maths and English not only could you not get onto any degree pre-88 but you also couldn't even get on to a 2 year cert ed. In addition a lot of schools will be nervous about even letting you do a levels without b in maths and English today.

I'm extremely sceptical about the idea that there are potentially great teachers being excluded by this requirement. It's a very, very low threshold. I think the 2(ii) requirement that's being proposed is more dubious as I don't see why a third from a reasonable university necessarily means someone isn't fit for teaching. But if you can't get a b at gcse in English and maths either at thud rind if subsequently the case is much harder to make.

friday16 Sat 21-Dec-13 19:51:43

Without a c at o level, not a level. That'll teach me to use a phone on a moving train.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 22-Dec-13 11:58:59

Oh gosh...what? Are we actually having the temerity to ask teachers to get a grade B in GCSE English/Maths? Blimey...what is the world coming to?

The sheer audacity of asking that potential teachers actually, you know, be competent academically...is it really too much to ask hmm

Totally agree with friday - if you can't even scrape a grade B at GCSE English/Maths that how can you be considered academically competent to teach?

You will encounter very clever 10/11 year olds who will wipe the floor with you at numeracy, or literacy.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 22-Dec-13 12:03:10

And, again agree with friday - are there really potentially amazingly gifted teachers out there, who can't train to teach because they couldn't get a decent grade for GCSE Maths/English?

Because, I would question this...in my mind, it doesn't matter how motivated someone is to be a teacher, or how great a connection they could have with the children, or what amazing communication skills they have... they still need to know their stuff, and be academically competent.

Grade Bs at GCSE for English and Maths...really, really so not a very high standard to achieve.

friday16 Sun 22-Dec-13 12:18:29

"thud rind" was "the time", I think.

I think stabbing at an iPhone on a swaying train gives its own sort of poetry.

Last year, 34.5% of entrants got A* to B in English, and 30.5% got A* to B in maths. I'm relatively relaxed at the contention that you have to be in the upper third of the population in order to teach my children.

BabyMummy29 Sun 22-Dec-13 14:58:50

LaQueen you are so right about bright 10 & 11 year olds wiping the floor with some teachers.

I have seen this at first hand - mainly with teachers who have obtained a "degree" from our local college which is now pretending to be a university. Whether they need to pass highers or some equivalent is doubtful.

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Sun 22-Dec-13 15:02:19

I don't know; I think primary teachers should have B grades in English and Maths but I don't necessarily see that it's essential for, say, a secondary English teacher to have a B grade in GCSE Maths.

I'm thinking, for example, of someone I know who is a successful author of young adult books. She's great at talking about literature with young people, great on grammar and use of English, and would probably make a good English teacher. But she has dyscalculalia and would never scrape a B grade Maths GCSE. Dyscalculalia would pose problems as a teacher of any subject - she has problems telling the time, for example - but she's managed to develop coping skills to help her hold down other jobs so I don't see why the dyscalculalia by itself should necessarily disqualify her from teaching English (hypothetically - I don't think she has any intention of attempting it).

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 22-Dec-13 15:30:15

baby I have witnessed it myself, working as a TA - some teachers are really out of their depth if they suddenly get a mathematically gifted 10/11 year old on their hands...and they really struggle to provide sufficiently challenging maths to the top end level of what can be reasonably expected at a junior school.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 22-Dec-13 15:34:42

And, in fact I strongly suspect that at my DDs' school the Yr 6 teacher is struggling somewhat, because they've got 5 mathematically very able girls in their class, who all passed the 11+ with high scores...and, I now hear that one of the TAs (who is a qualified maths teacher) is taking them for numeracy twice a week - and I suspect it's because their actual Yr 6 teacher can't quite cut the mustard when it comes to maths hmm

ILoveRacnoss Sun 22-Dec-13 17:41:19

I'm bemused by the comments that English teachers don't need maths! All teachers are expected to handle the data on their pupils' progress. They may be handling the budget for their subject. They'll be expected to work out the logistics for a trip, etc, etc. We ALL use maths, no matter our subject.

Don't forget that Primary teachers need O level / GCSE science too before applying. Not many with science degrees go into primary teaching and that can show in some of the misconceptions that don't get challenged.

Pointeshoes Sun 22-Dec-13 19:40:10

Yes however a thirty year old may have a 1 st degree but have a b in maths, c in English from years ago and still not get onto a teaching pgce course. Therefore go back to re do a whole gcse. Why not a short course that would test the spag skills.

Pointeshoes Sun 22-Dec-13 19:44:13

Teaching should be about facilitating learning and encouraging children to think and learn for themselves. That is how children learn. Not by a teacher emptying their brain on the table.

friday16 Sun 22-Dec-13 20:20:32

Yes however a thirty year old may have a 1 st degree but have a b in maths, c in English from years ago

How many people with worthwhile degrees only have a C in English?

friday16 Sun 22-Dec-13 20:21:23

Teaching should be about facilitating learning and encouraging children to think and learn for themselves. That is how children learn. Not by a teacher emptying their brain on the table.

So you don't believe that a science teacher needs to know any science? And you wonder why Gove thinks that teacher training is bollocks?

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Sun 22-Dec-13 21:06:31

Pointe if we follow your premis, does that mean we should employ barely literate teachers to teach English, then...presumably so long as they know how to point the way to the nearest library, that should be sufficient, should it? Then they can wave their pupils off, and assume they're going to absorb all the necessary knowledge about literature just by osmosis while sitting in the library, eh?

What arrant nonsense.

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Sun 22-Dec-13 21:10:30

But a teacher with dyscalculalia can access sources of help and support, ILoveRacnoss. They don't need to be able to work out the numbers in their head, or even on paper. Dyscalculalics can hold down other jobs even though some level of maths is required in everyday life. I think the question is whether a non-Maths teacher can effectively manage all the maths that the job requires, rather than whether he/she has a particular grade at GCSE.

friday16 Sun 22-Dec-13 21:13:11

assume they're going to absorb all the necessary knowledge about literature just by osmosis

Well, they would assume that, if they could either spell or understand the concept of osmosis.

Philoslothy Sun 22-Dec-13 21:13:52

Most professional jobs have entry requirements and teaching has to draw the line somewhere. A C grade is a very very low line. I think a grade B at maths and English and at least a 2:1 is an appropriate baseline.

friday16 Sun 22-Dec-13 21:18:42

But a teacher with dyscalculalia can access sources of help and support

I don't want my children taught by a teacher who has to access sources of help and support. I want my children to be taught by teachers that are sources of help and support.

Pointeshoes Sun 22-Dec-13 22:13:24

Laqueen. My point is the very opposite of osmosis! Children should not just been seen as empty vessels for the teacher to fill up, but for children themselves to be motivated to learn. A teacher is there to guide/ direct.

Pointeshoes Sun 22-Dec-13 22:16:34

And that arrant non sense is mattew lipmans reflective paradigm of educational practice.

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Sun 22-Dec-13 22:18:05

You want your children's A-level English teacher to be a source of help and support in Maths? Fair enough, then. That's not on my list of priorities, though.

friday16 Sun 22-Dec-13 22:35:25

And that arrant non sense is mattew lipmans reflective paradigm of educational practice.

So what? The vast majority of educational philosophy is un-evidenced hypothesis which, when implemented, turns out not to work, produced by people who have never taught a lesson in a school or performed any research that will withstand analysis. If said hypotheses have someone's name attached to them, they're likely to be even less convincing. Putting forward some implausible claim and then when challenged crying "ah, but that's Whosis's theory of the paradigm of wotsit, so it must be right" isn't terribly convincing, but appears to be a substitute for evidence in the education world.

A lot of very strong claims have been made for "discovery" in maths by Jo Boaler, for example. When analysed, the claims turn to dust.

Pointeshoes Sun 22-Dec-13 22:44:57

I'm not saying it right. I'm saying it what I think.

Pointeshoes Sun 22-Dec-13 22:51:37

Matthew lipman was a university lecturer for 18 years. Plus consultant for U.S. department of education. He is a leading education theorist.

Pixel Sun 22-Dec-13 22:51:51

Last year my dh did a basic govt-run computer course designed for older people who wanted to retrain. Having passed two exams quite easily (he does seem to have the right sort of brain for it!) he contacted our local college to find out about taking the next stage at his own expense. He was told they didn't have anyone who was more qualified than him so they couldn't teach him the next stage!

I worry if they have people teaching tech-savvy youngsters when they have no more knowledge than a 58 year old man who left school at 14 and has just taken the first exam of his life tbh.

friday16 Sun 22-Dec-13 23:36:10

You want your children's A-level English teacher to be a source of help and support in Maths?

If English teachers understood a bit more maths, we wouldn't have had the 2012 debacle in grading, which came down straightforwardly to a lack of mathematical and statistical understanding about the relationship between raw and UMS marks.

Philoslothy Sun 22-Dec-13 23:39:06

I don't teach Maths but need a sound mathematical understanding in order to analyse my classes and make the most appropriate interventions .

As a senior teacher my job is very much driven by data.

friday16 Mon 23-Dec-13 06:46:17

As a senior teacher my job is very much driven by data.

I sometimes suspect the people who are think teachers don't need mathematical skills are people who don't understand the difference between maths and arithmetic, and believe that since the invention of Excel and the pocket calculator you might as well close down all maths education.

In a industry where the price of admission to any even vaguely management-related job was a good STEM degree, I saw some frighteningly ill-conditioned and ill-founded spreadsheets being used to make decisions. I would be surprised if education were any better, and the frequency of Ofsted reports in which school end up in special measures because of insufficient progress which the senior staff and governors did not notice (the "overly optimistic" judgement that gets made so frequently, especially of primaries) tends to support that argument. A lack of confidence with data, and an inability to understand basics of what constitutes an argument based on evidence, is rife in education: if that were not the case, utter nonsense like "VAK learning styles" and "brain gym", both charlatan rubbish based on no evidence but drenched in "truthiness" (and, just for pointeshoes, both backed by "educational theorists", too) would not have taken such strong hold in our schools.

OrlandoWoolf Mon 23-Dec-13 08:39:02

A teacher needs to understand data as that can be used against them by SMT.

It's easier to get consistent pass rates with a larger class as each child is worth less percentage points.

I heard someone get told off because their A* to C pass rate had dropped from 100% to 50%.

He had 4 out of 4 pupils who got A* to C in 1 year. 2 pupils out of 4 the next year.

Lies, damn lies and statistics.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 23-Dec-13 08:44:56

"A teacher is there to guide/ direct."

And, precisely how is a supposed teacher going to 'guide and direct' when they don't have an adequate base-line knowledge of their subject? How will they know what to guide and direct their pupils toward?

This is just yet more wishy-washy hokum, peddled by people who are too comfortable with the idea of 'dumbing down' (possibly because they never achieved much, academically, themselves).

Bizarrely, I want my DDs to actually be taught by teachers who are very academically competent themselves.

Only on MN, can asking teachers (yes, teachers, FFS) to be intelligent and academically comptetent be seen as elitist, and not necessary, and not an essential part of their skill set.

Only on feckin Mumsnet hmm

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 23-Dec-13 08:48:41

"Most professional jobs have entry requirements and teaching has to draw the line somewhere. A C grade is a very very low line. I think a grade B at maths and English and at least a 2:1 is an appropriate baseline."

Agree with Philo on this.

And, if you think that getting a grade B at GCSE Maths/English is something quite difficult, or hard to attain, and too much for a potential teacher to acquire, then it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that you think any Tom, Dick or Harriet can teach your children, and that it's not necessary for them to be academic.

Because it would appear that your standards are extremely low.

friday16 Mon 23-Dec-13 08:53:44

Only on MN, can asking teachers (yes, teachers, FFS) to be intelligent and academically comptetent be seen as elitist, and not necessary, and not an essential part of their skill set.

And in teacher training colleges, where actually being able to teach is a very minor part of the training, behind a load of wishy-washy, poorly-evidenced "theory" that is mostly, as the Pauli once remarked, not even wrong.

Nobody here has claimed that teachers shouldn't have attained GCSEs in maths and English, have they?

friday16 Mon 23-Dec-13 10:08:33

Nobody here has claimed that teachers shouldn't have attained GCSEs in maths and English, have they?

Not in terms, no. But the heartwarming stories of people who would make marvellous A Level English teachers (in passing, just how many teachers have jobs such that teaching A Level in their primary subject is all, or indeed most, of their timetable?) were it not for their dyscalcula keeping them out of teacher training don't appear to make a terribly nuanced distinction between B and C.

I would have no more problem with an English teacher who wasn't great at arithmetic - which to my mind is fairly analogous to spelling for a maths or science teacher - than I would with a science teacher who made the odd SPaG error.

Being unable to interpret information effectively however is something else entirely. If you can't do that you shouldn't be managing anything, let alone children's learning.

BabyMummy29 Mon 23-Dec-13 10:24:00

Friday and La Queen - you have just put into words what I've been trying to.

I'm relatively new to MN and can't believe how a post on a thread about badly behaved kids, low standards among teachers etc etc can be seen as being ageist, disablist, childist, discalculist - I could go on and on.

As you rightly say only on MN

Marrow Mon 23-Dec-13 10:28:14

Just received a parcel from my sister and thought of this thread! She is a primary school teacher and the parcel is addressed to "The Brown's". hmm

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 23-Dec-13 10:57:41

"Nobody here has claimed that teachers shouldn't have attained GCSEs in maths and English, have they?"

People have claimed that expecting potential teachers to have gained a B at GCSE English/Maths is somewhat unfair, and is too high a grade to achieve, because some (apparently) truly gifted teachers wouldn't be able to achieve a grade B hmm

Yeah, well, I'll settle for teachers who maybe are little less gifted(although gifted in 'what, I have to ask?) but who are academically capable, and can actually achieve at least a grade B at GCSE Maths/English.

But, then I'm really picky, like that hmm

T'would appear that (only) on Mumsnet, there are parents who would prefer their children taught by really, really luffly and terribly nice, squishy teachers but who don't have the mental/academic capabilities of a clever 13 year old

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 23-Dec-13 11:07:00

You know...I really fancy being a surgeon.

I freely admit that I probably don't have the academic/mental capability to be one, and neither do I have any medical experience...but I really, really want to be one.

And, I think I'd be really good at it, and all my friends say I would be a really good surgeon, because I'm good with people and really interested in surgery and medicine, and such like.

And, although my understanding of medicine and physiology is extremely limited, I have good communication skills and so could enable and support my patients in making their own diagnosis, and direct them towards understanding more about their conditions through self-learning...

That would be perfectly acceptable, wouldn't it hmm

BabyMummy29 Mon 23-Dec-13 11:47:54

Brilliant LaQueen

I would have liked to be a doctor and my daughter would have loved to be a vet but we weren't clever enough - fact, so we settled for something within our academic range and got on with it.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 23-Dec-13 12:16:14

Or, I quite aspire to be an Olympic gymnast, and do all that twirly stuff with a glittery ball and ribbons...

I'm 42, and have never done any gymnastic training whatsoever - and I understand that some Olympic gymnasts start their training at 3 years old, and train for amny hours every day...

But, hey ho...years and years of demanding training isn't the be all and end all, is it...and after all, I really, really want to be an Olmpic gymnast, and I think I could be quite good at ti, actually...because I can afford a really pretty leotard, and can do a pretty decent forward roll, still, and a (slightly wobbly) cartwheel.

That'll be good enough, won't it hmm

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 23-Dec-13 12:18:47

Or, hey...maybe a vet? After all, I grew up with dogs and I'm good with animals...I don't have any of the necessary qualifications, but that shouldn't hold me back, should it...?

[I'm assuming people are now getting the picture...]

Philoslothy Mon 23-Dec-13 14:11:02

Before we get carried away I suspect it is a select group of posters who want to see teachers with mediocre qualifications.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 23-Dec-13 15:15:09

Yes, you're right Philo but I am astonished that any parent could actively want their children to be taught by inadequately qualified teachers shock

storynanny Mon 23-Dec-13 15:22:59

Friday, Laqueen etc, you are so right!
To those of you who commented about older teachers making mistakes, I have to say that in my countywide travels as a supply teacher, I have been appalled at basic errors being made in written documents etc. Mainly, I have to say, made by younger teachers. I potentially have taught them as infants, reflecting possibly, the continual changing goalposts re literacy teaching requirements. On the odd occasion I have politely pointed out an error if it is glaring and totally unacceptable. On each occasion I was met with astonishment and disbelief that the said error was in fact an error.
I stand by my original remarks that it is totally unacceptable for teachers not to have a good/excellent working knowledge of basic literacy and numeracy. Apostrophe usage is basic. Sometimes I have to double check the correct usage of who/whom , due to/owing to etc, just as sometimes my doctor double checks his book for correct dosage when issuing a prescription. I am a Key Stage 1 teacher and expect my literacy skills to be as secure as a Key Stage 2+ teacher.
Hope I didn' t make any glaringly obvious grammmatical errors in my post- I will blame the tools, ipad, if so!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 23-Dec-13 15:40:52

Being a tiny bit silly now, I think!

I certainly don't think bs in English and maths are too much to expect from teachers though, and nor do I think it is ok for teachers not to understand basic grammar.

Nor am I very keen on the reflective practice notions about 'facilitating learning', of which I have heard much in the last year. I don't lecture because I'm really good at facilitating learning: frankly, I qualify for my job because I know more than the students about the stuff I'm trying to teach them, and I try to do that in the best way I can. Of all the current practice and theory, tutor-as-facilitator seems to me the most dubious.

All that said, I still don't think that red-penning all over a six year old's writing is the most useful or productive way to help move the child toward perfect spelling and grammar. The fact that a teacher doesn't do that does not equate to the teacher just not knowing, necessarily.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 23-Dec-13 15:57:39

"I don't lecture because I'm really good at facilitating learning: frankly, I qualify for my job because I know more than the students about the stuff I'm trying to teach them"

Exactly Nit. You lecture precisely because you know far more than your students and because you can also help facilitate their learning...the two don't have to be mutually exclusive.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 23-Dec-13 16:09:06

Yes... and, despite my reservations about some theory stuff, though, I have taken on board in the last few years that over-marking is as bad as not marking... I try really hard not to edit and correct everything: what would be the point in just writing myself an essay? I'm looking to give constructive feedback that will 'feed forward', and offer formative comments which students can actually work from next time. So while I'd get twitchy leaving some things unremarked, I don't edit everything: it does work better. Just as not red-penning all over a child's work is also more likely to be helpful and productive: they can't amend everything all at once.

OrlandoWoolf Mon 23-Dec-13 16:25:18

I know plenty of KS1 teachers who won't touch upper KS2 because of the demands of the curriculum. I also know some KS2 teachers who don't have the knowledge to teach some of the harder stuff.

friday16 Mon 23-Dec-13 17:00:00

All that said, I still don't think that red-penning all over a six year old's writing is the most useful or productive way to help move the child toward perfect spelling and grammar.

I don't think that's the point. I think the point is that a teacher should make a conscious decision to not point out mistakes, with a basis for that decision. They should neither not know that it's wrong, nor shrug their shoulders and assume that the plebs no-one cares about spelling/grammar anyway.

And when a teacher does point out a mistake, that act of marking should be unimpeachable: they should not make corrections that are themselves wrong.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 23-Dec-13 17:33:27

Oh yes, I entirely agree with what you just posted Friday, but there have been posts suggesting that children should be picked up on every error until they get it right, and that's what I was thinking. Also that when teachers don't correct everything, it's worth bearing in mind that, more than likely, that will be because of a conscious decision, and not because they just don't know.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Mon 23-Dec-13 17:36:32

I agree with you, up to a point Nit. I can see that always covering a child's work in red ink isn't ideal...

But, too many children then go on to leave primary school with only the very vaguest understanding of correct SPAG, and that is also very wrong and demotivating for them.

My limited experience of teaching involved trying to teach humanities to secondary age children who weren't just functionally illiterate; they couldn't bloody read at all.

Commas and apostrophes were the least of their worries.

friday16 Mon 23-Dec-13 18:38:17

My limited experience of teaching involved trying to teach humanities to secondary age children who weren't just functionally illiterate; they couldn't bloody read at all.

Presumably pointeshoes would say that you should just leave them to facilitate their own learning to read, and the reason why they can't read is that they simply haven't been facilitated for long enough.

LaQueenAnd3KingsOfOrientAre Tue 24-Dec-13 10:51:57

Johnny sadly, I have experienced very much the same thing, working as a TA and a Cover Supervisor in several secondary schools sad

In the lower sets there were far too many teenagers who don't have the SPAG ability of a bright 7 year old...expecting them to know how to conjugate a verb, or what an adverb was seemed pretty pointless...when they hadn't even yet assembled the most basic nuts and bolts of reading sad

I can only speculate that they had been the victims of very poorly qualified primary teachers, with only a haphazard grasp of SPAG, but who yet could endlessly facilitate them towards reading...

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