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Limited correction of spelling mistakes

(23 Posts)
pollmadoll Wed 15-Jul-09 22:49:07

What do you all feel, about how our childrens' school work is being marked.I have recently found out that the new policy is to limit the amount of correcting mispelt words. How can the children know what is the wrong or right spelling if they are not made aware of this. It seems they are not being taught the fundamental rules concerning why a word is spelt in a certain way. I feel very despondent about this. How can this be beneficial to our children????????????????!!!

ButterbeerAndLemon Wed 15-Jul-09 22:55:30

How is a child going to actually take on board the corrections if nearly every word in their work is corrected? How is a child going to feel about the piece they've worked hard on being covered in red pen? If a number of the most important spellings are corrected it gives the child a chance to focus on those. Then the teacher can move on to correcting some additional spellings, and so on. This has nothing to do with whether or not they are taught the fundamental rules concerning why a word is spelt in a certain way.

Pyrocanthus Wed 15-Jul-09 23:15:58

My children seem to have been taught a lot of spelling rules and have had weekly spelling tests throughout their school careers.

I am very keen for children to learn to spell correctly, but there are other desirable qualities in a piece of written work, and if a child's work is covered in red pen, that's all they will see, rather than the teacher's positive comments on the imaginative quality of their story or their adventurous vocabulary.

This isn't to be confused with an argument that attention to technical skills stifles artistic development, but correct spelling can be taught gradually, without making writing an ordeal for the child who struggles with spelling.

scienceteacher Thu 16-Jul-09 07:56:47

It really depends on the individual child, their self-esteem, and the number of mistakes.

It also depends on what you want them to do with the mispellings, eg copy out the correct ones three times.

And it depends on the subject. Obviously a modern foreign language has to have tip-top spelling. It is important in English too, but not at the expense of everything else. I personally am only concerned about scientific vocabulary (and instinctively, I will note a maximum of three). I see past everything else, as do the examination awarding bodies. If there are lots of general mispellings, I will write about it in my comment, but I won't mark the individual words.

I think that the best way for children to improve their spelling is to read books, quality newspapers etc.

karise Thu 16-Jul-09 11:20:55

In year 2 our DD has never had spelling corrected in her written work! Mistakes are not even noted & added to her spellings list each week sad
I am completely convinced that her spelling is actually worse than it was a year ago & will be spending time in the summer trying to correct mistakes.
If spelling mistakes are left then children actually end up 'practising them in' rather than improving.

sleepycat Thu 16-Jul-09 11:24:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ihavenosecrets Thu 16-Jul-09 11:26:15

I can unerstand that it might be demotivating for a child if their work is covered in red pen but surely if you want children to improve their spelling you have to make them aware of their mistakes. hmm

I think it would be a good idea to write all the positive comments first then have additional comments listing the incorrect spellings.

Bramshott Thu 16-Jul-09 11:31:46

I think it depends on the context. DD1 is in Year 1 and they have spelling practise and spelling tests each week, which are marked and words corrected (and marked wrong, even if nearly correct). However, in their written work generally, the emphasis is on getting them to write fluently, and not worrying too much about spelling mistakes.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 16-Jul-09 11:33:27

I think that focussing on a small number of words at a time and actually trying to get the child to learn them is sensible. If the teacher chooses the 3 most important and gets the child to copy these out, thats probably going to be more productive than noting every one, which will be overwhelming (esp for a small child).

This should of course go alongside the usual spelling lists/tests.

I don't think that its really about 'self-esteem' - more pragmatically (a) not wanting to stifle creative flow and (b) how many spellings a child can really learn at a time.

ihavenosecrets Thu 16-Jul-09 11:35:55

Ds is nearly 5 and he wrote me a little note that said "I luv you mummy will you cum to my partee" I was so proud and didn't have the heart to correct him.

cazzybabs Thu 16-Jul-09 11:40:38

I correct 3 mistakesb (in line with my school's marking policy) - any more than this and I feel it would disourage the child. I try and correct those which we have learnt in spelling tests.

I don't add them to the weakly spelling list I am afraid - even though I only have 18 it would be too time consuming

cazzybabs Thu 16-Jul-09 11:41:22

and this is why I can't spell -- sorry abou the typos ... am failing at multi-tasking

LovelyRitaMeterMaid Thu 16-Jul-09 11:43:16

Wouldn't it take a very very long time for teachers to correct all the mispellings?

Pyrocanthus Thu 16-Jul-09 11:44:21

No, sleepycat, because too much correction at once doesn't work.

I don't know where all this talk about political correctness in schools comes from (well, I have my theories), but my children are tested regularly, allocated numbers which demonstrate their level of achievement, and set targets for their future attainment.

In year 6 this year, the results of practice SATs tests were put up on the whiteboard for all the children to see.

Those who took the 11+ not only received their mark for each part of the test, but their 'league table' position to enable them compare their results with their friends.

Sports day's pretty fierce too.

Is it just me, or are our children actually pushed quite hard?

paisleyleaf Thu 16-Jul-09 11:44:48

I agree with butterbear and Grimma
it's often easier to learn when things are broken down into small tasks....rather than trying to achieve everything at once.

shivermetimbers Thu 16-Jul-09 11:47:03

It is widely thought that the best way to remember something is by writing it down. If spelling mistakes are left unchecked then the child will continue to write and remember them incorrectly,resulting in the child having to re-learn spellings later.Much easier to learn them correctly in the first place.

Pyrocanthus Thu 16-Jul-09 11:57:45

shiver: I suspect with younger children and writing (and I'm not a teacher), they find it difficult to think about what they're writing at the same time as remembering how to spell the words, so I doubt that they actually remember their errors anyway. Obviously, as they grow older, they should be expected to manage both.

I agree that it would be very bad if lists of spellings were not corrected, and repetition is used to learn the spelling words.

My DDs have always been fine at spelling tests, but remembering those words in other pieces of writing has come more gradually. I'm happy to see that year 6 DD is now getting it right most of the time in her work, and that she's being corrected when she slips up.

I'm not arguing for a lack of rigour in teaching practices, but I think teachers should be given a bit of credit for trying to devise ways of teaching children without turning them off completely.

And of course, as long as the SATs remain, it is very much in teachers' best interests to make sure our children can spell by year 6, as spelling is one of the areas in which our children, and their teachers, are judged.

karise Thu 16-Jul-09 12:00:09

This is exactly what DD is doing- well explained shivermetimbers!

ButterbeerAndLemon Thu 16-Jul-09 12:20:03

I do think spelling mistakes in spelling tests or practice should be corrected, obviously.

I do think some (the most important) spellings should be corrected in other written work -- not correcting them at all is wrong IMO.

I don't think that if a primary-aged child has worked hard but made thirty spelling errors in one page of writing (not a spelling-specific piece of work) that it is useful or helpful to correct all of them. If you are trying to encourage children to write at any length (often an issue with boys in particular), structure an argument or write creatively, pulling them up on every single spelling mistake will be counterproductive. It's also hard to imagine that a child will be able to take on board, process and internalise thirty spelling corrections at once, whereas with a smaller number they stand a better chance.

kittybrown Thu 16-Jul-09 12:20:33

My dd's spelling is atrocious. She's fine in the spelling tests but when you read through her work every other word is misspelled. It really would be pointless for her teacher to underline and correct every single one, not from the point of view that it would undermine her self-confidence more the fact that she'd never take all the corrections in.

Hotcrossbunny Thu 16-Jul-09 13:03:13

At my friends daughters old school, spelling was fiercely taught, and written work was covered in red pen. Any spelling mistakes had to be practised at home. Her daughter quickly learned to write much shorter stories so there would be less to correctsad Also she spent so long worrying about the spellings, she was less concerned with the content...

They moved school(there were many things they didn't like about the school) and her daughter has blossomed. And her writing has come on leaps and bounds, mainly as a result of reading widely, and doing informal spelling games in class.

Hotcrossbunny Thu 16-Jul-09 13:04:42

Ignore atrocious punctuation please - apostrophe key is dicky.

Pyrocanthus Thu 16-Jul-09 13:07:51

I wondered about that, HCB. My DD2 loves to write long, rambling stories, in which she likes to try out words from books that she's read, but hasn't always remembered correctly. I think heavy application of a red pen would soon put a stop to that, but each year her spelling is becoming more accurate anyway.

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