Teachers are now placing a maximum of three spelling corrections in an over-sweetened panic of damaging a pupils self confidence. This decision is merely an act of false kindness and the definition of teacher has been marred by this surrogate of sensitivity. I am all for ensuring a pupil feels confident in their school environment, but teachers cannot afford to worry whether too many red dashes and interruptions on a students work will send them over the edge. A child’s mental well-being is frankly not the schools responsibility, at least not a sole responsibility, but to educate him or her so they leave with the fundamental skills needed in the job market.
So why is our society encouraging an inarticulate new breed of peoples? It begs me to question how soft we really have become, where is our ruthlessness? MP’s in the House of Commons have groaned and grumbled over this problem but are lenient in correcting it because it is ultimately a matter for schools to regulate. Although built with the same principles, it is a schools individual decision as to how they function and it is this flexibility that is worrying. It is likely that most will see it as integral to their success to ensure their pupils are hitting the mark, blissfully unaware that they are customising themselves to a language full of errors. The students have been well and truly stitched up and no doubt we shall hear the thunderous response from parents in due course. Fine, there will be a new test at Key Stage 2 which includes spelling, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary and enhanced importance given at GCSE. The regurgitation at key stage 2 is understandable but if the problem leaks into GCSE level, the education system has failed. Spelling is not the most important component of learning but it is utterly basic and yet we are apparently willing to ration on what is essential.
It is perhaps time for teachers to put on the persona of a bit of an anarchist in this situation and speak up about this simply policy that should be simply dropped. From experience, my shabby primary school didn’t provide particularly good building blocks and my finger inevitably points back to my teachers who had themselves decided it was best to keep me in the dark. With the tool that is hindsight, to hell with a child’s emotions, go home and cry to mummy about it. Parents, act as the emotional vessels for your children and teachers, teach. It is an over-zealous effort in guarding our children and makes our education system look like it was erected from play-dough. Soon enough children will be rolling into school as they are wrapped in cotton wool from head to toe, colliding across the playground as they fail to pronounce their words, and all the while teachers are rolling them across into aimless directions. The image is obviously superfluous and boarder line ridiculous, but am I the one who is truly being ridiculous? Tightening the system a couple of notches, or more plainly removing this futile new spell check, or lack of it, is what needs to be done. I think it is unfair on children; they have no dictation as to how they are taught and the cap on three measly mistakes is frightening in comparison to how far a child’s imagination can stretch and how would the process of selecting three come to evolve? It is not cruel to correct a child, nor should a teacher have the liberty to hold information that would otherwise heighten learning.
Call me old fashioned, but it all seems pretty backwards to me. Just imagine the next generation having to fill out forms, as we all do, and feeling inadequate against a sheet of paper that in its blank and white form is essentially a questionnaire. It doesn’t seem fair does it? Our linguistic future feels muddled and with slang being the mother tongue of most teens, I dread to imagine what will arise out of an enormous student body that missed out on the first few crucial laps. I just think it is all a bit false, I smell the b******t and hope it collapses on its twiggy legs.
By Emma Jacobs
For more posts and poetry by Emma, go to: www.wordpress.com/seewhatshemeans