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BS: Illiteracy

InOBU 29 Jul 00 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Paddy(1) 28 Jul 00 - 09:15 PM
InOBU 28 Jul 00 - 09:06 PM
Grab 28 Jul 00 - 08:25 AM
InOBU 27 Jul 00 - 09:05 AM
Gervase 27 Jul 00 - 07:31 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 26 Jul 00 - 08:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jul 00 - 08:05 PM
CamiSu 26 Jul 00 - 07:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jul 00 - 04:29 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 26 Jul 00 - 02:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jul 00 - 03:59 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 25 Jul 00 - 03:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jul 00 - 09:07 AM
kendall 25 Jul 00 - 08:40 AM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jul 00 - 08:34 AM
The Shambles 25 Jul 00 - 08:13 AM
InOBU 25 Jul 00 - 07:27 AM
Ringer 25 Jul 00 - 07:21 AM
The Shambles 25 Jul 00 - 04:29 AM
Seamus Kennedy 25 Jul 00 - 03:10 AM
GUEST,Ely 25 Jul 00 - 01:55 AM
Rick Fielding 24 Jul 00 - 08:59 PM
Lonesome EJ 24 Jul 00 - 08:13 PM
Homeless 24 Jul 00 - 08:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Jul 00 - 07:47 PM
kendall 24 Jul 00 - 05:54 PM
Lonesome EJ 24 Jul 00 - 05:02 PM
kendall 24 Jul 00 - 03:10 PM
The Shambles 24 Jul 00 - 03:07 PM
Ringer 24 Jul 00 - 02:04 PM
Susie 24 Jul 00 - 12:48 PM
robroy 24 Jul 00 - 10:55 AM
Bagpuss 24 Jul 00 - 10:23 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Jul 00 - 10:21 AM
Bagpuss 24 Jul 00 - 10:04 AM
Grab 24 Jul 00 - 09:51 AM
Bagpuss 24 Jul 00 - 08:14 AM
Ringer 24 Jul 00 - 08:00 AM
Mbo 24 Jul 00 - 07:44 AM
RichM 24 Jul 00 - 07:43 AM
Bagpuss 24 Jul 00 - 07:39 AM
kendall 24 Jul 00 - 07:23 AM
Bagpuss 24 Jul 00 - 07:19 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Jul 00 - 06:56 AM
The Shambles 24 Jul 00 - 06:12 AM
Escamillo 23 Jul 00 - 10:27 PM
InOBU 23 Jul 00 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,Mbo 23 Jul 00 - 08:19 PM
Bill D 23 Jul 00 - 08:12 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: InOBU
Date: 29 Jul 00 - 08:37 AM

good on ya paddy - larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: GUEST,Paddy(1)
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 09:15 PM

Don't start me on dyslexia Doesn't eveyone know, nowadays, that there s at least 7 levels of intelligence, (Gardner 1985) and reading is only one.

Ask yourself (honestly) what is reading and writing.
?

Sorry about the lecture.

Paddy(1)


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: InOBU
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 09:06 PM

Dear Grab:
It is the degree of lack of understanding shown in your post which made six of the seven LD law students at NYU afraid of being "outed". The fact is, a reporter's spelling is of no consiquence, that is why papers employ proof readers and copy editors. I was the guy who was open about my disability, as I had gotten into school a year or two before the American's With Disabilities Act, so there was not chance that people would doupt I got in on my merits. In fact, those who got in after the AMA also got in with equal merit, however, lack of understanding on the part of many people make LD students afraid of their tallents being questioned. It is not unlike Black students afraid that the lack of understanding that afrimitive action means equal qualification... I'm in no way vexed with you - yours is a common view... all the best, larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Grab
Date: 28 Jul 00 - 08:25 AM

Fine, if you're dyslexic then we'll cut you some slack on spelling. Or if you're foreign and don't speak English too good. In either of these cases, communication is what's important. But the problem is people who should know better coming up with basic errors in language - teachers (particularly English teachers), newspaper reporters, etc. In these cases, a high standard of language skills is essential and should be a prerequisite to getting the job.

I'm afraid that does mean that a dyslexic person is unlikely to make a good news reporter from my point of view, in the same way that a blind person or a mute is unlikely to be very good as a sports commentator. But that's just a case of focussing on what skills you do have - I have no talent at all in drawing, for instance, so I shouldn't be allowed near a job as a graphic artist! If you like, that's a disability of my brain which makes me incapable of it, but it doesn't affect my abilities with other things like guitar.

I'm intrigued about your dyslexic son being good at programming, Gervase - I'd thought dyslexia was a kind of problem with the concept of things in sequence, particularly words and letters. Given that programming requires just that (a sequence of events - do this, then do that), and also requires strict spelling and structure rules for the programming language, it's kind of interesting. Good on him, anyway.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: InOBU
Date: 27 Jul 00 - 09:05 AM

Gervase: A note of encouragement, I became a boat builder because my teachers did not notice there was a problem, and later in life, went back to school and recieved a law degree from the third best law school in the States. It is easier to go back to school here, than in England, so after a bit of success in business, your son may decide he wants to give school another try, his learning disability sounds much like mine, and with some understanding of how to learn in a school environment (something I figured out on my own, - but now there are programs to do the same) he can do what ever he finds interesting. Feel free to email me if you want any details on what is out their, over here... all the best, Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Gervase
Date: 27 Jul 00 - 07:31 AM

M Ted,
The same thing's happening in the UK - and I, for one, am delighted.
My son is dyslexic - very bright, an avid reader but word blind when it comes to spelling. As a result of that (and an ignorant w***er of a head teacher when he was younger who refused to acknowledge that there was a problem), he left school without all those bits of paper that the modern world deems so necessary to being a fully paid-up member of the human race.
However, he's little short of brilliant when it comes to computer systems and networks, and a friend who had enough faith in him to offer him a trial at his company is now impressed enough to offer him a real job with a real salary (a squillion times what I earned at his age).
As a result he's looking forward to making the transition from gifted amateur to professional. And good luck to him!


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 26 Jul 00 - 08:29 PM

How do they know where they are when they get there?


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jul 00 - 08:05 PM

"People who cannot do certain things often come up with amazing ways to compensate" - what amazes me is how you get people who can't read a word or read a map who can drive across the country and find their way to places hubndreds of miles away.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: CamiSu
Date: 26 Jul 00 - 07:56 PM

Fantastic discussion! Maybe we should have a thread...Why are mudcatters such good and caring people? Or is the answer built into what binds us together? I am one of the lucky people who can spell (though I do have a problem with hitting the right keys so I do check everything I post), and find misuse of apostrophes and quotation marks annoying, particularly in public places and newspapers. I've seen some fairly egregious errors in The Christian Science Monitor for heaven's sake! BUT I also cannot tell my right from left without some thought. Two of my kids can spell and one cannot. But they all read and can communicate. I'm afraid that there are just so many kids who aren't taught to care and some of these grow up to be teachers, but I think there are precious few of those. There were teachers who didn't recognize or didn't care years ago as well. I teach literacy to older Vermonters (concentrating on math. There are more people who can teach reading). One of the things I hear the most is "My teachers said I was stupid." This from students in their 40's and 50's. I hear much more now that there are learning disabilities, and we need to come up with ways to deal with these problems. Sometimes it is to explain a math concept in language terms. Often it is to insist that my student is NOT stupid as people who cannot do certain things often come up with amazing ways to compensate. i guess I am saying that no one is hopeless, and we can (even if for only one person at a time) all make a difference. Kids who don't care right now will eventually.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jul 00 - 04:29 PM

"...The combination of poor job skills and post-adolescent smugness and overconfidence can do" - it can get you elected as President it appears. In either party. (And over here you get to be either Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 26 Jul 00 - 02:26 PM

Come over here for a bit, Kevin, we have been going through a very strange period--after years of tight job markets, suddenly things have flipped around, and there are places where kids are being hired just out of college for middle management jobs with six figure salaries--and with the reading and writing skills we have been discussing, as well as comperable social and management skills--

Don't think it will last though, because you won't believe how much damage the combination of poor job skills and post-adolescent smugness and overconfidence can do--


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 03:59 PM

Getting even the simple jobs today requires proof of high levels of literacy.

That includes jobs where high levels of literacy aren't in fact needed to do the job.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 03:34 PM

People seem to think that there is less literacy than there used to be, but that is just not true--

In the middle ninteenth century, only about 10-15% of American children received a formal education--Most people had no need of it--It was common for one member of a family who had learned to read to read aloud to the others, and it was also common for a person to ask someone who was literate to write and read letters when it was needed.

Even in the early part of this century, you could be a medical doctor with only two years of college, and Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who prosecuted the Nuremburg Trials, only had a single year of law school.

Today, even most minimum wage jobs require some degree of literacy, and many skilled laborers must use automated and computerized machines in their work. The people in these economic classes never needed good reading skills to survive in the workplace, and suddenly, they do--and suddenly, our education system needs to deliver universal literacy--something no educational system has ever been called on to do--until it does, bad spelling will be the least of our problems--

The problem is that even the simple jobs today require high levels of literacy--


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 09:07 AM

Not everyone gets to go to prison.

Any state can be a Police State.

But this is a thread dift too far, I'd say. A new thread maybe?


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: kendall
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 08:40 AM

Sorry, but, a Police State has nothing to do with how many people are in prison.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 08:34 AM

My dictionary gives pidgin and pigeon as alternative spellings; it suggests that its "business" re-pronounced in a Chinese accent.

There are two sets of issues in this thread, intertwined, but essentially different.

One is to do with the way language changes over time and place and situation, and what sort of changes and variations people accept and what sorts they see as damaging.

The other is to do with how people best learn, and how we can help people learn what they need to know, and how it is determined what are the things they need to know, in a changing world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 08:13 AM

"They understood the dialect and spoke a kind of pigeon English, Scots and dialect, whilst writing English to a good standard".

Or even pidgin!…*smiles* Thanks for cutting me some slack. My spellchecker was happy with it though.

Anyone know where pidgin, comes from?


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: InOBU
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 07:27 AM

My great concern is that as we concentrate on the content of the eliments of a word, we neglect the meaning of the word and its context in a philosopy of learning. I am much more worried that most Americans believe that justice and revenge are the same word, no matter how they are spelled, and that the definition democracy ends at the pocketbook. Most Americans spell police state C U B A, where I would spell it U S A, looking at the number of folks we have in jail in both nations (proportionally of course). Well, that's all folks...
Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Ringer
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 07:21 AM

Agree 100%, Lej


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 04:29 AM

The way things are written is beginning to resemble little the way everyone actually speaks. So teaching it is not too dissimilar to teaching a foreign language. New words and phrases are being introduced so quickly now, that not many of us can keep up.

The Shetland Islands, where I lived and my children were largely educated, is a good example. For the dialect spoken is a mixture of Scots and English with a very strong Scandinavian influence. It is very much alive and bears little or no resemblance to the written English, that is taught in the (now very good) schools.

Some of the stories from the older people and their school experiences, if they should 'slip-in' to their natural way of speaking, whilst at school, was pretty harrowing. Despite this, they do generally and surprisingly have a pretty good standard of written English. They have maintained also the living dialect.

My children however, were in a sort of in-between stage. They understood the dialect and spoke a kind of pigeon English, Scots and dialect, whilst writing English to a good standard. They don't really fit in either camp when it comes to verbal language. My youngest daughter (now living in England), will quite naturally, in conversation, make-up her own words, which are easily understood but do demonstrate the problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 03:10 AM

But, just as INOBU says, some people are physically/mentally incapable of spelling correctly through no fault of their own; cut them some slack. Rick, "useing"? Seamus


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: GUEST,Ely
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 01:55 AM

I love apostrophes in words that are plural, not possessive and redundancies like "reason why". As far as people who don't have any idea about the meanings of the words they're using, I got a chuckle a few years ago when a TV reporter did a story on a candlelight "visual" held in memory of Jerry Garcia (but then, maybe candlelight VIGILS are a Quaker peculiarity).


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 08:59 PM

Great thread Lej. I've been away for a few days, so I'm glad I didn't miss it.

For years I was a "lazy" speller, and often quite confused by punctuation. Since I also wrote lots of articles, I'd make sure that a more literate person than myself corrected everything before I sent it to it's destination. I have to say that my writing has improved greatly since joining Mudcat though, as I'm really horrified when I've posted something with obvious mistakes in it. In truth, Mudcat has forced me to "slow down" a bit,and that's good. The bottom line is that I check things two or three times before posting (especially when it comes to "headers"). I still can't shake the useing of brackets constantly though.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 08:13 PM

In Junior High School I had a class one semester called Latin Roots. The next semester we studied Greek Roots. In both classes, the idea was to understand basic latin and greek terms that had been incorporated into the English language (ie bios=life logos=study biology=study of life). Suffice to say, I had no interest, was not curious, was forced to memorize these apparently useless terms by a teacher who expected us to sit quietly and do just that. But I learned these roots, because we were tested, and our parents read the reports, and although Greek and Latin roots held no interest,and stimulated no curiosity, I learned them to satisfy the teacher and my parents.

Guess what? Of all the classes I've ever taken, the boring repetitive sessions on Roots were probably the most beneficial to me and to my life. They led to real comprehension of the language. I could understand words I'd never even seen before. In McGrath's definition of teaching, the teacher failed completely. But I did not have the option to ignore the information. Thank God there were people who knew, better than I, what would be beneficial to me. Do I wish that the class had been more fun, more stimulating? I suppose. But what I'm left with, some 35 years later, is not the memory of the class, but the wealth of the information I was forced to learn.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Homeless
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 08:07 PM

For those not familiar with the Pink Floyd song in question, I'll quote the beginning lyrics.

"When we grew up and went to school there were certain teachers who would hurt the children any way they could.
By pouring their derision upon anything we did
exposing every weakness however cleverly hidden by the kids."

Put in context, the chorus changes meaning entirely - not a rebelling against education per se, but against the pain and humiliation method of "teaching." Watching the film strengthens this point.

BTW, when is the last time you heard anyone say the word "yes"? I see it written, but all I ever hear is "yeah."


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 07:47 PM

The key phrase in that quote from The Wall is "dark sarcasm in the classroom" - it seems to me it's aimed at a style of teaching that crushes individuality and imagination. It's been around a long time. I think Dickens referred to it in Hard Times as "child-breaking".

In fact it's possible to read the lines as:

We don't need no-education.

We don't need no-thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom!

The job of teachers isn't stuffing information into children's heads. It's education. That means encouraging them to want to learn, and equipping them with the tools they need for learning. And the main tools they need is curiosity, and a belief that curiosity can be satisfied. If you've got that, you've got everything, and learning to read is a natural process, almost like learning to talk. And all the facts in the world are just a click away.

It's a terrifying responsibility, and all the harder because the values and ideals of education are almost totally at variance with those that dominate the society around the schools - and they are under constant attack from the people who hold power.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: kendall
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 05:54 PM

Most of the teachers we have today were educated by the same failed education system that we rail against. That should bring you up short.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 05:02 PM

First is society's current philosophical rudderlessness. Over the last 2 centuries, or so, society has rejected all moral certainties, so that now there is perceived to be no basis for authority. If there is no authority, what right has one person to teach another?

I think Bald Eagle hit it on the head with that statement. Before correct spelling can be taught, a societal need for it must first be identified, qualified teachers put in place, and then those teachers must be given the authority to impart this "needed" information. If there is no need, then let's declare that and forget about it. If there is a need, let's make sure we have the professionals who can impart it, and enforce disciplines needed so that the skills can be passed.

We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control

I'm a fan of Pink Floyd, but this has got to be two of their stupidest lyric lines. Maybe you "don't need no education" to be a multi-millionaire Rock Star, but most humans will need some education to get by in the world. The more the better.Education, for Christ's sake, is an OPPORTUNITY. Children are not mature enough to comprehend this. It is our duty as adults and parents to see that they receive an education in the meantime.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: kendall
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 03:10 PM

If I woulda knowed you was leaving, I woulda come and saw you off.

Why are rules so important in spelling and grammar? Because without them we would have chaos.Sometimes I have to read a sentence over two or three times to understand what someone is trying to say. Example.. "it is legal" now, one small change.."Is it legal?" Language was invented so we could communicate. If we dont follow the rules, we dont communicate. I know 'spaw was only kidding with that Cletus bit, but, I was always unable to fathom what he was saying because of the suspension of accepted rules of spelling and grammar. Consequently, I skipped over those posts. (Sorry 'spaw, guess I'm just not bright enough to translate that stuff.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 03:07 PM

We must be doing something wrong, have we money to burn?
It must be an indictment, if you have to force children to learn

It has been my experience that it is impossible for most children NOT to learn. The subject does however need to interest them first.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Ringer
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 02:04 PM

I fear you've missed my point, McGrath: I was describing, as I see it, society's current mores: the bathwater of absolutes has been thrown out of the window, and the rights and duties baby has been thrown out with it.

But, since we're talking about educating kids, I think your "duty to seek out the knowledge and skills" is inappropriate: kids need to have knowledge and skills banged into them; few are mature enough to recognise their duty to learn.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Susie
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 12:48 PM

I agree with the point which has been raised many times in this thread about seeing the written word helping with spelling - the reference to "beetle" and "beatle" being a good case in point, but which would have lost its relevance (and presumable the "Fab Four" would not have bothered with the pun) had that generation not been literate.

Some spelling errors make me chuckle ("glass bowels" instead of "glass bowls" on a wedding list - but no harm done there), others make me shudder in horror at the low level of accuracy which is becoming accepted by people whose very job is communication. I saw "bridal path" instead of "bridle path" on the T.V. in Britain only yesterday and find this unacceptable. The article was no doubt written with only the help of a spellchecker instead of a dictionary, but why didn't the writer already know the difference between "bridal" and "bridle"? If you are going to aspire to be a writer, surely you should learn your art. People in other jobs have to.

I've noticed a creeping decline also in understanding how the language is constructed at all: "should of" instead of "should have" has cropped up in more than one (supposedly well written) book I have recently and I can only conclude that the publishers see it as acceptable. The publishers!! For heaven's sake. These are the people who have our literacy in their hands at the end of the day. If they are content with this, then the messages throughout this thread to read more will not help at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: robroy
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 10:55 AM

I refer to all those who do or may need to utilise their spell checkers in order to ensure that their spelling is correct and of course all the other wonderful things we do with our PCs. Not sure this is too relevant but it's an interesting story. I was a Surveyor in HM Forces and we were taught how to do all the complex calculations by logrithms then later by slide rule, even later by mechanical calculating machines (Brunsviga and Twin Marchant)until finally by electronic calculating machines which got smaller and smaller and incredibly faster and more accurate. Then one day we lost all ourbatteries.... I think one day in order to communicate we may have to resort to pencil and paper. We probably won't but I'd like to think we could still communicate correctly and not misunderstand because of a common spelling error.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Bagpuss
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 10:23 AM

Another thing. Has anyone else noticed that it seems far more acceptable to admit to problem with maths compared with reading and writing? I have a friend at work who is in research, in a post which demands that she at least be able to do basic statistical tests, yet she is always asking me how to calculate percentages...

To me, thats the numerical equivalence of not being able to read books with "long words".

I remember Arts students at university talking about how they were terrible at maths and can't even do the simplest of calculations, but if a science or maths student mentions they have never read any shakespeare or whatever, they are looked down upon.

Does anyone have any idea of why this is?

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 10:21 AM

"What right has one person to teach another" - it's not a question of one person having a right to teach other people. There's a duty to pass on the knowledge and skills to the people who want them and need them. And we all have a duty to seek out the knowledge and skills we need.

"I have a right to teach you to play the guitar" - it wouldn't seem to make much sense to say something like that. "If you want to play the guitar, I can teach you" would make sense. It might even make sense to say "It is my job to try to teach you to play the guitar and that is what I am going to do."

I think it often makes things much clearer to leave aside talk about rights, and talk about reciprocal duties. (So in Civil Right terms it wouldn't have been "I have a right to be served at this lunch counter" but rather "You have a duty to serve me - and I have a duty to insist that you serve me.")


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Bagpuss
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 10:04 AM

I agree that parental attitudes are a hugely important part of a child's learning.

I don't agree that TV per se is a big problem - its whats on the tv that is a problem. Recently, I was at a talk by Oliver Postgate - creator of Bagpuss, The Clangers etc, and he had a few sharp words to say about the Teletubbies. he said you shouldn't give children only what they expect and already enjoy - because then there is no room for wonder and imagination. The old kids tv programmes made kids use their imagination - they weren't just something to be plonked in front of to keep the kid quiet. They stopped showing Bagpuss on TV when the BBC heard of research that said to hold a kids attention, there had to be some sort of action every 3 seconds. If everything is fast and something is always happening, there is no room for imagination.

Oliver Postgate also said the Teletubbies really scared him, because it was obvious to him that outside of the big green hill was a post nuclear wasteland. They lived underground and had to wear funny suits when they came above ground because of the radiation levels. And the sun baby was Big Brother watching them.....

I'll never be able to watch Teletubbies in the same way again...

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Grab
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 09:51 AM

Re Bagpuss, IIRC from my time at school, learning was phased in quite gradually. The first year in particular was mostly to get you used to being around other kids, and then getting you used to staying still long enough to have a lesson. Whilst European countries don't start 'formal' education that early, they have kindergartens which go from age 3 or 4 to fulfill a similar role.

The biggest problem (Gervase came up with it, I think) is the lack of education at home. If the teacher's trying to teach, but the parents are saying "We never needed education", or "I won't read to you, sit and watch the TV" then they're unlikely to get anywhere. I was reading from before I can remember - my parents say that I was reading Winnie the Pooh to my sister around 3 or 4! - and that's exclusively down to my folks encouraging reading. In fact, they decided not to have a TV, and that _made_ us read for entertainment.

And reading is the best way to pick up grammar. Written language is a slightly different beast from spoken language, and like any language you learn it best by doing it, not by learning the theory.

If you banned everyone with children between 2 and 7 from owning a TV, you've have a lot less illiteracy...

Grab.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Bagpuss
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 08:14 AM

While its probably true that many teachers cannot keep control in some classrooms, I believe that is primarily because of the way schools are set up, so that middle class - mainly well behaved kids go to one school, while the more disadvantaged and more difficult kids are lumped together in other schools. makes life much harder for the teacher.

My husband is a teacher, and he has discovered that keeping discipline with these kids, mostly doesn't involve them being scared of you, or shouting at them a lot. His most effective way of controlling a kid is to make some remark to the misbehaving kid that gets the rest of the kids laughing at him/her. Another is to laugh at their inappropriate jokes, for about one second, then suddenly stop and look at them very sternly, that works a treat. His other rule is to always give a kid a way out - a way to back down - don't keep raising the stakes so that their only alternative is to completely lose it.

He has some pretty bad classes, but he still manages to get some teaching done.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Ringer
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 08:00 AM

As I see it, there are two closely-related causes for the present sorry state of education:

First is society's current philosophical rudderlessness. Over the last 2 centuries, or so, society has rejected all moral certainties, so that now there is perceived to be no basis for authority. If there is no authority, what right has one person to teach another? Or assert that this spelling is right, that wrong? Thus arose the popular current idea that kids should be "encouraged to learn", rather than taught. It sounds very enlightened, but has caused untold damage. And a welcome move away from it may be discerned, I think.

Second, for identical reasons, no one has any right to discipline (=punish) another, so that now teachers spend all their time trying to maintain some semblance of order in their classes, and the success of a lesson is judged by whether it did or didn't degenerate into a riot, not by whether the kids actually learned anything. Unfortunately, I can see no move away from this at present (in England, anyway).

When I was at school (40 years ago), all the philosophical conditions that have led to the current educational mayhem were in place, but they hadn't percolated down into the educational establishment, so that I was taught and punished (and am now grateful for that). But the fat's really in the fire, now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Mbo
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 07:44 AM

Yeah it is, Baggie.....guess the lunatic was out last night.

--Matt (see you all on the dark side of the moon!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: RichM
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 07:43 AM

English itself didn't spring fully formed into version 2000!

Languages change. They evolve into dialects and new languages. This is absolute, and unavoidable.
The very rules of spelling and grammer that are being discussed in this thread WILL CHANGE. Before printed books became commonly available, spelling was a matter of the writer's personal choice and interpretation.

Spelling was a big deal when I went to school (starting in 1948). But soon it may also be a big deel, deil or dele :)

Rich McCarthy


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Bagpuss
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 07:39 AM

Mbo - isn't it "we don't need no *thought* control"??

Or is it yet another song I have been singing wrong for years...?

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: kendall
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 07:23 AM

my spell checker only tells me if a word is wrong. It never tells me how to spell it rite!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Bagpuss
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 07:19 AM

Yet again I haven't read the whole thread, because I'm lazy, so excuse me if I repeat someone.

I think another reason for poor academic success in both the US and the UK is fundamental to our school systems. We both begin our children at school to early. Research has shown that at the age of 4 or 5, many children are simply underdeveloped for the tasks they are trying to learn - many of them do not have the necessary motor skills for writing. The is particularly true for boys. The effect of this is that some children "learn to fail" and do not develop the necessary self esteem because they always feel they are behind everyone else. Evidence that shows this has an effect all through school is that those who start school younger do a lot worse in exams even at the age of 16 than those who started school later (ie comparing those who started just after their 4th birthday with those who are almost 5 when they start). In most european countries they don't begin any sort of formal education until they are at least 7, and there is far less of a skills gap between the most and the least able - and less of a gap between boys and girls.

The UK in particular has become too focused on league tables, and testing children every couple of years - including at the age of 5. I can only believe that this will worsen the problem. Not only are younstruggling more than your classmates, but even at the age of 5, you have the scores to prove it.

And of course we just make it more difficult for people with dyslexia by having bizarre spelling - dyslexia is a much smaller problem in counties with phonetic spelling with consistent rules.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 06:56 AM

That's it Sham!

There are people who'd say that in order to play music you have to be able to read it. It's a lie, and one of its effects is that you have children and adults who can play and read, but who are scared stiff to play unless they've got a written sheet of notes in front of them. And all the others who can't read and daren't begin to play. (And I'm not denying that being able to read music is extremely valuable.)

For a lot of people, you have to learn to do something before you can begin to learn how it is you do it. And with other people it's the other way round - and a lot of the problems with teaching and learning comes because so many people (teachers, parents, politicians) seem to assume that the way that works for them is the way that works for everyone.

And Escamillo, with Spanish spelling you don't really need a spell checker. You've got spelling that is consistent.

(The trouble with spellcheckers is that you can get to trust them. And then you find, for example, you've written "I will not help you" when you meant to say "I will now help you.")


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Jul 00 - 06:12 AM

Rough Diamond

I need to learn

You, teach me how to earn

Try to kill the flame inside

That needs to burn

I need to run

Not to walk in line

Take hold of this rough diamond

And make it shine

Not to pass some test

But to be my best

To be as good as I can be

And not step on the rest

You teach me the how

But not the why

You teach me how to crawl

When I've wings to fly

Trample all the new growth in the forest

To get some to the top of the tree

You let me wear this badge of failure

When it's you that's failing me

I may not be wise

But you may be surprised

If you could see the world

Through my eyes

Don't take, the few

Teach me too

Then you can learn from me

As I learn from you

Teach me how to grieve

How to believe

How to find a lover

And how to leave

How to share

How to care

Show me wild horizons

And take me there

Roger Gall 1996.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Escamillo
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 10:27 PM

Don't forget about us, poor souls whose native language is NOT English, and are terrified by spell-checkers ! :)
Un abrazo - Andrés (Escamillus terribilis errorem lingualis)


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: InOBU
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 08:30 PM

Hi ya kids:
One way to understand the machanics of a learning disablity from the inside, is right left confusion. There is very little more simple than right and left, this side, that, my right and left hands have been with me, well, as long as I can remember, in fact, intellectualy I know the difference and can tell them appart (the left one is the one with the wedding ring and like most boat bilders, all the scars). On the other hand, it is imposible for me to tell right or left by reflex after all these many years. Now, that is a two item system. Imagine the diffuculty of a twenty six item system with an infinite number of araingements. NO WAY I can make a reflex out of recognising a word, no matter how many times I look at it. Funny though, my spelling is even worce if I write by hand, if you can imagine that, because as a musician I have developed a small degree of mussle memory associated with typing. So all who have children whose synapsis don't fire very well, after they put the electords all over the kid's heads and find out the problem, get em a computer and fight the school for the right to that very reasonable accomodation.
All the best to all
Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: GUEST,Mbo
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 08:19 PM

Sorry, not my fault. I copied the lyrics from another site.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 08:12 PM

that didn't print like I expected. It should have had a break in there...you're.......sorry, etc...

(I will NOT make a regular habit of correcting these things in an off-the-cuff forum like this)


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