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what reason could there be for a teacher not correcting spelling mistakes?

(19 Posts)
mckenzie Mon 19-Sep-11 17:59:20

DS (yr 6) has a new form teacher this year. Newly qualified and new to the school. He also has him for English.

So, tonight i was flicking through his English book and saw work that DS had done and the teacher had marked and I noticed that he (the teacher) has missed quite a few spelling mistakes. Is there any reason why he might be doing this deliberately I wonder? Or is he just missing them all?

And just in case anyone thinks I am against NQTs (I saw the other thread) I am not, not at all. DS had a NQT at his previous school and she was absolutely brilliant.

purpleturtle Mon 19-Sep-11 18:01:12

I don't think they bother much about spelling any more.

fluffles Mon 19-Sep-11 18:02:38

as far as i know (not a teacher) sometimes an exercise will be about the imaginitive writing or expression of ideas and slowing down to get every single word correct may ruin the flow... sometimes the children are encouraged to give attention to detail, and other times to be creative.

mckenzie Mon 19-Sep-11 18:03:20

Why not? What about the use of where and were for example? And he had corrected one of DS's spelling mistakes so it's not like he's ignoring all of them. Seems very strange.

mckenzie Mon 19-Sep-11 18:04:10

sorry, I replied before I saw your comment Fluffles. Okay, I'll go and take a look at the work again. I think it was a creative piece.

OpenMouthInsertFoot Mon 19-Sep-11 18:05:28

When I was at school <cough cough> years ago, they'd just brought in some stupid thing about not correcting spelling mistakes because it was what you were trying to say that mattered. What a load of bollocks that turned out to be! And probably the reason more people just can't spell these days grin

My guess is that the teacher didn't notice the mistakes because they can't spell either. Or they were doing the marking in a rush and didn't check properly. Or maybe - you know when you scan something, and you read it how it was meant to be, not how it is? That's why proof reading is so hard, because your brain corrects the errors. Perhaps, as a more inexperienced teacher, they haven't overcome that yet - nothing against NQTs, every teacher was one! but perhaps that's the reason?

I'm just guessing. You could always ask, I suppose.

I'm not sure how, without offending. hmm erm. "I noticed you didn't correct Xs spelling errors and I wondered why."

Er. Maybe not, actually. grin

Tortu Mon 19-Sep-11 19:01:43

Well here is the thread on the same topic from last week:

But I can sum it up in just two points:

1. Children pay very little attention to marking and, in fact, the more red pen the less impact it has
2. It takes up loads of a teacher's time, which could definitely be better spent elsewhere. Spending just 10 minutes on each child's book when you have a class of 25 means that you are looking at at least 4 hours for marking just that set of books. Logistically that is never going to work on a regular basis.

And of course spelling matters!

Tortu Mon 19-Sep-11 19:04:14

Oh and the fact that they're an NQT? Well, they're fresh out of university, are far more aware of all of the research (proving that teacher-led, formative, written assessment has very little impact) and are probably still doing what they've been told. Only when they are a bit older and wiser, like myself, will they halve the time they're spending on marking by randomly ticking and writing loads of rubbish on the pages in order to please the parents.

Lifeissweet Mon 19-Sep-11 19:09:19

Spelling has, and always will, matter. I am sure the teacher can spell. What would be the benefit of a whole page of corrected spellings? What would the child actually learn from that? A couple of well chosen corrections (usually more high frequency, basic words) are a lot more effective and will not be overwhelming and demoralising.

I actually do think there is a lot to be said for putting as much value on content as on spelling..

mckenzie Mon 19-Sep-11 19:22:04

thanks for all the replies. The link to that thread was very helpful Tortu - it's good to hear all sides (the thread I was referring to was the other one about NQTs in year 6 or something).

I can totally understand if DS's teacher didn't want to be too negative. He seems to have picked up quite quickly that DS is lacking in confidence in English. But in one paragraph, with 3 or 4 spelling mistakes in it, he didn't pick up on even one. DS's english teacher last year was fairly old school and so mistakes were noted and DS had to write them out three times each in the margin. It didn't seem to bother him, as far as I could tell.

exoticfruits Mon 19-Sep-11 19:23:00

It depends on the criteria for marking.

jade80 Mon 19-Sep-11 19:26:32

It seems quite common now to do this. I'm glad my school didn't dumb down in the same way.

dikkertjedap Mon 19-Sep-11 19:27:39

Another reason can be to not want to discourage your son by marking lots of mistakes. First you want them to write and enjoy it and then you can start working on it. It is a long and slow process ...

pinkgirlythoughts Mon 19-Sep-11 19:50:37

If a child has spelt the same word incorrectly all the way through a piece of work (e.g 'woz' for 'was'), I tend to only correct it the first time, as it seems pointless, and fairly disheartening for the child, to have the same mistake identified over and over.
In response to someone else saying that NQTs haven't yet 'learnt' to find spelling mistakes when skim reading, I'd suggest it might actually be the other way around- as an NQT, I used to spend ages trying to decipher the interesting spelling choices of my class- now I automatically read what they intended to write, as I'm so used to seeing the same mistakes again and again!

Harecare Mon 19-Sep-11 20:00:35

Why not talk to your son? Ask him if he would prefer to be corrected. When I was his age I used to deliberately make mistakes in my work to check if the teacher would notice - they didn't and it made me think they were stupid. I was a (an arrogant) child who wanted to learn from my mistakes, not all children are.

Speak to your son and then speak to his teacher. If his teacher hasn't the time or doesn't want to do corrections and dent your DS's confidence, but DS wants to know when he's made a mistake then maybe you could help him?

Tortu Mon 19-Sep-11 21:09:11

Ever asked a class of students to underline the words they think that they may have spelt incorrectly? It is rare for them to fail to spot them.

In my experience, most homework and class work is done with other priorities in mind i.e. the student is not giving it their entire focus and just wants it finished. Getting them to check through the work, underlining the sections (or even better, correcting them!) which they already know are wrong is a much better way to spend your time than correcting the mistakes they are already aware of.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Sep-11 21:18:35

I was told it was so as not to discourage the flow of creative writing. Typically DDs primary teachers would highlight about 3 per piece, but these would then have to be written out correctly x3 - so it seemed like a reasonable idea to focus on a manageable number.

AbigailS Mon 19-Sep-11 21:23:49

I have a new child in my class who brings their work to me very anxiously every day with a phrase like "It's not very good" or "my writing is rubbish" or worst of all "I'm useless". By this he means he is weak at spelling (which he is) I mark this work with him and have made a decision that I will not find anything negative in his spelling for at least the next fortnight. We look at learning objectives - so far they have been punctuation, vocabulary choices and imaginative sentences, and he has fully achieved almost all of them. So I write comments like "Well done X you achieved your learning objective of using three different connectives"; no comments or corrections that words like because or said are not correct. I'll work on that once the child's confidence is up. Even then I will only correct a few spellings in each piece of writing.

mckenzie Mon 19-Sep-11 22:30:59

thank you all very much for the posts.
I will talk to DS tomorrow and ask him how he feels (good idea Harecare) and I am waiting for an appt to see his teacher about something quite unrelated so will mention it then.
I'm not a teacher and I don't know the best way for my son to learn. I know that he lacks confidence but I also know that he tries to do his homework in the shortest time possible. I don't want to kick him when he's down but I also don't want him to think that he doesn't need to do any better as the teacher is quite happy with the standard his is producing.
Bloody parenting - whose idea was this anyway? smile

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