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To think that teachers should be able to punctuate

(104 Posts)
Mishap Mon 23-Sep-13 22:24:33

A while ago I had sight of an application by a teacher for a responsible post of deputy head. His application consistently failed to distinguish where a comma or a full stop (followed by a capital) should be used. It was not just one occcasion - it happened about 10 times or more and clearly indicated his absence of knowledge of this rule. His CV demonstrated a history of highly responsible jobs in schools.

Am I being unreasonable (and very old-fashioned) to find this totally unacceptable?

thatbags Tue 24-Sep-13 08:04:41

I think homework os valuable too. I think you've missed my point.

thatbags Tue 24-Sep-13 08:04:47


J52 Tue 24-Sep-13 08:06:09

Totally agree. Children are in school to learn, if those teaching cannot get it right, then they should not be there.
I once sat in a cafe, attached to an environmental centre,having a coffee and reading a published leaflet. In the leaflet the plural of family had been spelt wrong, so I altered them all to the correct spelling. I then put them back in the distribution holder. X

thatbags Tue 24-Sep-13 08:07:25

smile Great stuff.

Aka Tue 24-Sep-13 08:12:34

Sorry, to me a 'chart' implied handwritten and large as it was for display. I see how my imprecise use of language lead to that misunderstanding.

vampirequeen Tue 24-Sep-13 08:19:48

I come from the 'non grammar' English teaching era. I'm fine with the basics but colons and semi-colons are totally beyond me. Oddly I've lived a full and active life without them. Maybe it's time to re-jig English grammar. We could spend more time on sentence structure and sense with basic grammar rather than pushing the more complicated punctuation.

ducking for cover grin

thatbags Tue 24-Sep-13 08:26:23

This rune was inscribed on more Anglo-Saxon cremation urns than any other ... Traces of the god remain, however, in Tuesday (Old English tíwesdæg "Tiw's ...

Tuesday doesn't look very 'right' in this context.


thatbags Tue 24-Sep-13 08:29:02

vamp, that reminds me of a recent exchange I had with DD3 (12) about her spelling of you're as your on FB. She knows the 'correct' way but says 'your' instead of you're is What One Does on social media sites. We old fogeys may just have to sit back and watch as the Young Things get on with it. smile

Oldgreymare Tue 24-Sep-13 08:48:17

I grumbled to DS about DGS's spelling on FB to be told there is 'normal' spelling and FB spelling. That combined with an implied Yorkshire accent makes for interesting reading.

LizG Tue 24-Sep-13 08:56:40

Two of my daughters are in their late thirties (actually one is forty, I forgot blush) and the third is twenty-eight. Their grammar is pretty good but the left handed one cannot spell. At the time her school attributed it to her being left handed.

As to colons and semi-colons they can be useful when writing books or short stories to tighten things up but it is possible to get around using them without being ungrammatical.

annodomini Tue 24-Sep-13 09:45:59

As a school governor, often chairing job interviews, I read many a letter of application from existing teachers and NQTs. I was all too frequently unimpressed by their level of grammar, spelling (even with spell checkers) and punctuation, and, sadly, that sometimes even included English teachers. It's probably true that they were of that generation who grew up in the '60s and '70s without the benefit of structure in writing. I also found that many of my mature students had no more than a sketchy notion of grammar and punctuation. I used to recommend Guide to Better English: Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation this book to them - in fact, my copy disappeared after one class! It is a clear and simple guide to the basics. What more do you need?

annodomini Tue 24-Sep-13 09:46:50

Sorry - something went wrong with my [[ ]] system. I should have checked before posting!

vampirequeen Tue 24-Sep-13 10:47:59

I know this may be grammar blasphemy but do we really need all the apostrophes. We cope with 'read' and 'read' or 'bow' and 'bow' depending on the meaning of the sentence so couldn't we do that with other words that sound the same such as 'your' and 'you're' or other contractions such as 'shouldn't'.

ducking even lower grin

Charleygirl Tue 24-Sep-13 10:52:32

[LizG] I am also left handed and my spelling on the whole is excellent. I cannot understand her school attributing her poor spelling to being left handed.

I also used to discard applications that were littered with spelling mistakes. An easy way to get through a large pile.

Aka Tue 24-Sep-13 13:23:42

Anno our 'bible' in the Scottish primary school I attended in the early 50s was The First Aid in English by Angus McIver. Anyone else remember this?

Aka Tue 24-Sep-13 13:24:39

Vamps go and sit on the naughty step!

Ana Tue 24-Sep-13 13:28:57

i remember First Aid in English, Aka!

J52 Tue 24-Sep-13 13:46:49

First Aid in English was continually republished. I used it right up to retirement. A good basis for homework exercises. Unfortunately, GCSE English syllabus does not leave much time for the actual teaching of the written word. Which may sound like a contradiction of its purpose! X

thatbags Tue 24-Sep-13 14:28:31

I don't remember any of the books I used at primary school except my Janet and John reading book one.

Don't remember many, if any (!), of the secondary school ones either.

Nor uni.

How do people remember that stuff? It's aeons ago!

annodomini Tue 24-Sep-13 14:30:03

I doubt if 'handedness' has anything to do with ability to spell. In my own family, my left handed sister is a better speller than my right handed sister. However, my left handed GD is slightly dyslexic as is her right handed half brother.

annodomini Tue 24-Sep-13 14:35:33

First Aid in English is still in publication - £6.99 from Amazon! The cover isn't quite the same. Ours, 60-odd years ago, was light blue with a red cross. Anyone remember the Spell-well word books?

Eloethan Tue 24-Sep-13 15:28:39

I remember my grandson (who's 20 now) coming home from school and showing me his marked homework. The teacher had crossed out a word he'd misspelt and, in red, re-written it - incorrectly.

Ana Tue 24-Sep-13 15:35:51

I also remember log books, thatbags - with horror! grin

Elegran Tue 24-Sep-13 16:04:03

While doing my teaching practice many years ago, I sat while the class teacher taught a spelling lesson - words derived from receive, including reception and so on and (I quote) "receptical". I kept quiet at the time (never correct a teacher in full flow!) but afterwards I mentioned that I thought it could be wrong and it was receptAcle (I said it, did not spell it out).

He went back to the class and publicly thanked me for telling him the right spelling, and wrote it up on the board - "receptacal". Should I have corrected him a second time, do you think?

Granny23 Tue 24-Sep-13 16:17:40

Our first reading book was about Dick and Dora and Nip and Fluff, their dog and cat. I was not very good at spoelling so remember endless lists of ten words to be learned overnight. I cannot recall any formal lessons in Grammar - it was just something you assimilated from extensive reading of well written books. I do remember being told in S1 (so around 1958) by our English Teacher that we should not adopt the style used in Newspapers and Magazines as it was an abomination. I only learnt the formal names for grammatical structures in English through studying Latin and to a lesser extent French.