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Pedants' corner

School spelling lists

(33 Posts)
Antonia Thu 06-May-21 09:46:14

My granddaughter has a weekly spelling list, which is given on ClassDojo, so that parents can access it. There have been instructions such as 'Please practice the words' and today's spellings say 'Here's this week's spellings.' My DH says that 'practise and practice'have become interchangeable, but in my opinion, they are not, and I think teachers should know the difference.
The school has a good reputation and in the main I am happy with it, but I cringe at the poor grammar. I wouldn't say anything, as I am a grandparent, but I think I would if I were a parent.

ixion Thu 06-May-21 10:06:38

Here are this week's spellings?

FannyCornforth Thu 06-May-21 10:15:53

No they are not interchangeable.

I'm a qualified primary teacher.
Many teachers do have poor grammar and spellings.

The thing with primary teachers is that they are expected to be good in all subjects.

My weakness is maths. I admit that I am not up to teaching year six maths at all.

Ellianne Thu 06-May-21 10:20:53

Is ClassDojo an American company I wonder?

Galaxy Thu 06-May-21 10:27:28

Class dojo is American or originated there at least. But I think OP is saying that the instructions came via the teacher? Current spelling list in a school I am involved in includes practice/practise and the difference between the two.

Antonia Thu 06-May-21 10:34:03

Yes, ixion, exactly! I'm probably being far too fussy. It should also be, 'please practise.' I think the 'practise/practice is generally not understood, but the school is in an affluent area with many professional parents who would spot these errors immediately,

Septimia Thu 06-May-21 10:37:44

A lot of teachers are very good at their jobs but unfortunately seem not to have been taught English grammar very well. The current system appears to be putting more emphasis on it, particularly at primary level. Maybe the next generation will be better.

'Practice' and 'practise' are not interchangeable. The first is a noun, the second a verb. It's just another example of creeping Americanisms. When I did proofreading for non-native speakers of English (university students) I had to explain to them that UK English and American English are different. They'd been taught the latter and didn't know there was a difference. Presumably a lot of native English speakers don't either!

MaizieD Thu 06-May-21 10:39:49

Of course they're not interchangeable, unless you approve of robbing the English language of its superb ability to be able to express ideas in writing with precision and clarity so that readers don't have to perform mental gymnastics to extract the meaning of what is being expressed.

Practise is what you do, practice is the institution you do it in.

I'm afraid the recently popular (i.e in the 1980s and 90s) belief that anything goes so long as people can 'make meaning' from it has not been a Good Thing for our written language. But don't blame the poor teachers who were themselves taught by this philosophy.

annodomini Thu 06-May-21 10:46:25

The same confusion seems to arise between advice and advise. Advice is what you seek or give; advise is what you do. Do we still have nouns and verbs? The nouns are spelt with a 'c' and the verbs with 's'. Same goes for prophecy and prophesy.

Ellianne Thu 06-May-21 10:51:33

Galaxy

Class dojo is American or originated there at least. But I think OP is saying that the instructions came via the teacher? Current spelling list in a school I am involved in includes practice/practise and the difference between the two.

Thanks, Galaxy, I misunderstood. I thought it was the instructions on the website.

Ellianne Thu 06-May-21 10:56:22

Antonia

Yes, ixion, exactly! I'm probably being far too fussy. It should also be, 'please practise.' I think the 'practise/practice is generally not understood, but the school is in an affluent area with many professional parents who would spot these errors immediately,

Makes no odds Antonio. I worked in the independent sector and spent days reading teachers' reports, correcting spelling and syntax.

Not that half the professional parents would even spot the mistakes anyway!

Galaxy Thu 06-May-21 10:58:06

I am guessing Ellianne, I just interpreted it that way. Perhaps the written explanation wasnt clear enough grin

Grandmabatty Thu 06-May-21 11:25:53

I would have to say something! Retired English teacher. It's ironic that there are spelling and grammatical errors on a spelling task. Practice is the noun - the Doctor's Practice. Practise is the verb - doctors practise medicine. It should also be 'here are.'
If a teacher has difficulty in basic grammar and spelling rules, they should check, check and check again before issuing to pupils/parents. To me, that's a lazy teacher and I would wonder what other errors were being missed.

Ellianne Thu 06-May-21 11:30:35

Ouch No!
It is on the ClassDojo website, not the teacher. Just checked, but I can't get the screenshot to print.

ixion Thu 06-May-21 11:33:28

Not an actual English teacher here, Grandmabatty, just one with a reasonable education and eye for the 'correct'🙄

Just wondering- do you think it is down to being a lazy teacher or one who, in blissful ignorance, just doesn't realise that there's a problem in the first place?
Just curious!

trisher Thu 06-May-21 11:35:02

I'm not sure it really matters. English is a living language and living languages change. There are more Americanisms in our language now and there are likely to be even more. Much of our media is American and titles like "Your Honor" are the norm. Language is a means of communication not a set of rules which must be applied.

trisher Thu 06-May-21 11:36:38

If there is a spellcheck on ClassDojo it may very well be set to American and will change "Practise" to "practice.

Ellianne Thu 06-May-21 11:42:06

On the worksheets it says :

In this lesson we will practice ........

So not the class teacher's fault really, though she ought to check first.

Yammy Thu 06-May-21 11:49:03

As someone with mild dyslexia I always taught with a dictionary on the desk, the children accepted "let's look it up", and got into the practice of doing it themselves.
I was never taught good Grammar but a friend who had would always proofread things for me.
Later when notices had to be sent home we had a Head who was worse than us all put together she got another teacher to proofread. I must say the two colleagues who proofread had both done Latin at school and it seemed to be an enormous help. Also, Scottish colleagues always seemed to have a better understanding.
I can excuse someone for not being able to spell but not sending letters home with wrong spellings and Grammar which can easily be spell checked. Though you have to be careful it is an English programme or you will end up with u missing out of a lot of words as in color
The American one that gets me is they do math and use it as a plural.

Lucca Thu 06-May-21 11:49:26

As a rule I dislike the blanket anti American feeling on GN but in this case I wonder why they have to use an American app. How easy would it be to send these spelling lists out via school website ?

Antonia Thu 06-May-21 11:49:55

I should have been clearer! The words 'Here's this week's spellings' and 'Please practice the words' are instructions from my granddaughter's class teacher. I only mentioned ClassDojo because that is the platform the school uses, and the way in which I can view my granddaughter's weekly spelling list.

Antonia Thu 06-May-21 11:51:39

Lucca I'm glad that they do use ClassDojo as I am unable to access the school's website. It's for parents only, and as a grandparent I am excluded.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 06-May-21 11:59:22

If by any chance "spellings" can be regarded as a colllective noun then there is nothing wrong with writing Here's this week's spellings.

I would myself have written Here's this week's spelling list, being an English teacher of over retirement age!

If the teacher who wrote it is American then there is a problem, as practice and practise are the other way round in American spelling to British.

With us practice, advice are nouns, practise and advise verbs.

So we advise you to practise these with your children would be correct in British English.

trisher Thu 06-May-21 12:03:55

It may be that the phrases are included in a list that the teacher can add in one click (that's how reports are usually written). It is and will more and more become one of the problems with using American providers.

Galaxy Thu 06-May-21 12:22:43

Sorry what do you mean you are excluded from the school website? How can you be?