Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by flutterbee, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Sitting on my desk is a paper my son wrote for American Lit (the 11th grade English class he failed last year - he's a senior this year). He got a 97/100 on it. I'm thinking, "GREAT!" And then I read it.

    It is a funny and creative story, but it's so full of grammatical errors it's not even funny. The teacher put in a couple of missing commas - 2 to be exact - and crossed out one word. However, there were other missing commas, proper nouns not properly capitalized, important words in the title were not capitalized and even a couple of extra commas thrown in where they don't belong - for good measure, I suppose. Stuff he should have known by the 6th grade.

    It's no wonder kids have to take English again in college. They obviously don't expect them to have to know it in high school. I never would have gotten away with that.

    What is happening with our schools?
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It varies greatly from district to district. Sadly, Wiz had a 2nd/3rd grade teacher (combined class) who could not spell OR use punctuation. I used get very angry bc they would take Wiz' recess away if the teacher's notes to parents had incorrect spelling or grammar. HE was 7!!! But the teacher thought it would "challenge" him. SHE couldn't spell the regular spelling words the kids were assigned!!! Not talking typos, seriously couldn't spell!!!! I think that the dependence on spell check and grammar check are part of the problem.

    Our district here is very strict with the teachers. If parents complain, the school board gets very upset with the teachers. And kids are never expected to correct the teacher's use of hte language.

    Sorry you are so disappointed in the quality of instruction in your child's school. (and sorry for my typos/grammar - it is late for me!)

  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    The paper is double spaced and a page and a half long. I corrected it. There were 16 errors, in addition to the 3 that the teacher noted. :sick:
  4. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Often, creative writing assignments are graded on the story itself, the creativity, and the way the story is presented. So that may be why the score was so high. HOWEVER, in the schools where I've taught, they eventually go back and proofread and make a final draft with all of the corrections. I don't know how they expect kids to be able to express themselves if they don't give them the skills they need to do it.
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    They think they don't have to learn it because they have "Spell Check"! When I was in school (back in the Dark Ages) the teachers were very picky about proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. They loved to use those red pencils! I guess they think it doesn't matter now.

    And we were expected to really learn how to do math - on paper - with a pencil! And even if there had been little pocket calculators back then, we wouldn't have been allowed to use them! Our kids aren't getting even half the education that we got. It's a shame.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Grading on stuff like this has changed dramatically from when we were in school. And boy you see the difference once you hit the college level. Most of the kids are lost, haven't got a clue as to how to write a proper paper. We had 4 students caught pagerizing (sp) over and over again and they couldn't even understand why it was wrong.

    Now I might not be able to tell you why something is wrong with a paper, but I can spot errors quickly and can write a paper with proper grammar and punctuation without much thought. Nichole always had me proof read hers before she turned it in.

    Although this wasn't the case with honors english. easy child's teacher was strict old school.

    Kids are missing out on so much these days.
  7. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Often, this early in the year, I don't mark every error. I will teach a mini-lesson on comma usage, then I hold the kids responsible for comma errors. Same thing with other grammar and punctuation errors. Unless I have taught it, I don't hold them accountable. This is the only way I know to be fair to my students who come from a variety of different backgrounds and elementary schools.
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I do not remember having a formal English class in school, including college. I read the Little House books, and they talked about diagramming sentences...huh? Never done that. English classes in high school consisted of reading exceptionally boring segments from classic novels. I can write well because I read well. That's it.

    Miss KT started school about the time that "whole language" was all the rage. She still can't sound out a word, spell worth a darn, or write in a logical manner. She's a senior in high school, and writes on a fifth or sixth grade level. And she HATES to read. Is is the early "whole language" training, or ADHD? I don't know.
  9. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I do think that part of it is the "whole language" approach and other crackpot theories that have drifted through the education system at one time or another.

    But I also think part of it is that they don't have a lot of incentive to do better because no one is holding them to account for it.

    A couple of the people I manage at work (both new graduates) have to analyze data and write reports, which I then use in my work. We also rely on e-mail and instant message for most communications, since I'm often not in the office.

    For the first several months they were both using e-mail and IM as if I were one of their university buddies. No spelling, grammar or punctuation, lots of abbreviations and slang, etc. They were also misinterpreting (I'm thinking...not reading) my e-mail directions.

    During their first performance appraisals I took them to task and set very clear expectations about written communications and what I expected from them. Both of them were stunned and very unhappy with their "grades" in those areas, but...both of them have cleaned up their act. The reports and e-mails I get from them now are professional, clear and grammatical. The shocker for me was that neither one realized that their communication style was inappropriate and unacceptable for an office environment. No one had told them before.

    Everywoman, I like your approach. Unless your students have been told they can't be held responsible. However, once you've told them then the expectation is there.
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I teach 4/5th grade. I'm very picky about grammar with my kiddos. Each week they write to a prompt (often several paragraphs) and each week they get a one on one editing conference with an adult. I have a student teacher, Special Education teacher, aide, and a parent who help out.
  11. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    When I was in 7th and 8th grade, we diagramed sentences....BOTH years! If that doesn't give you a sense of English grammar, I don't know what does!

    I wonder why the teacher didn't correct the rest of the errors....maybe it's because she isn't schooled enough in grammar. Perhaps that's why our kids aren't learning proper grammar.
  12. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I see this all the time with some of the younger people that I work with - some of them in very responsible positions!

    They just weren't taught the same way that we were. They don't really learn how to do math because they've always had calculators. And they don't know proper spelling, grammar or punctuation because they're used to texting and have always had computers to rely on. And maybe one out of ten has legible handwriting! If I get something with a scribbled illegible signature I send it back with a note that says "Who the H*** is this?" They don't think that it matters. I see reports all the time that make no sense at all because of all the grammatical and punctuation errors and they have no idea how ignorant these and all their spelling errors make them appear! I'm another one that believes that if you read a lot, your spelling and grammer will be better. I'm the worlds greatest proofreader. The errors just jump off the page to me (not that I'm all that particular here ...). But even a difficult word that I'm not really sure about, I can tell that it looks wrong!

    And the sad part of it is, the "dumbing down" of our schools has happened very recently. My own "kids" are now 33 and 28 and when they graduated from high school they both knew how to do math, spell, and use proper grammar ... not that they always do, but they were taught how to do it.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2008