For what it is worth, here is our experience.
When we moved to a new area with a deep red Labour council, we immediately noticed that our 7 year old's reading and writing suddenly seemed to be going backwards. We asked for a meeting with her school teacher.
As my wife pointed out that our daughter's spelling seemed to be deteriorating, the teacher carefully explained that she didn't 'teach' spelling. Modern educational theory had shown that this just didn't work. Instead it was best to just 'expose children to words and later the spellings and sentence structures would just emerge organically in their brains when they needed to spell a word'.
As I (quite literally) rolled my eyes to heaven, I noticed that many of the words on mobiles hanging around the room and on wall charts contained very basic spelling mistakes and alarm bells began to ring even louder.
We then asked for an urgent meeting with the Head Teacher. She was very sympathetic.
"I know what you are going to say about Miss X", she said, "she's very keen but she has very bad dyslexia and it affects both her English and Maths. We knew all about it as she did some of her teaching practice here and I warned the Governors not to appoint her, but they insisted that it was a disability issue and that she would cope as she was so 'committed'. I am sorry about this, but there is literally nothing I can do now. She is causing chaos with the staff as well as the pupils, as at times she cannot even parse a sentence correctly, so she misunderstands basic instructions. I have told the Governors but they wont admit now they have made a mistake. I have had enough. I have applied for early retirement and I leave in July."
We could have then gone to the Governors but the month before I had met the daughter of the Chair of Governors who was a trainee primary school teacher. She was on an access course into teaching having dropped out of school at 16 with no qualifications at all. After 4 years in Woolworths her mother had suggested teaching as a career so she was now on her course.
I asked did she find it hard to do the course, never having done exams before. "Naw", she said. "It's all continuous assessment. Anyway, I am a socialist and I don't believe in exams. They are elitist"
In the end we just moved our daughter to a fee paying school where they spent a year just getting her back to where she had been before. She just graduated this year with a First in Law from a top UK Law School. We are delighted but I still wonder at all the lost potential in that classroom and all the other classrooms.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Edgukayshun: A Reader Writes...
This is a comment left by a reader called Cynic in the thread below on grammatical standards...