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correcting staff grammar.

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by sammy36, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. I have a member of support staff who always uses the term 'wheres that to' when asking where something is. For sometime now I have modeled back what I consider to be the correct sentence formation ' Where is the ... ' but to no avail. Today I bit the bullet and said 'that you are using incorrect grammar'. I do have a history with this member of staff so I was expecting a retaliatory remark. It came back in the form of the staff member telling another that she doesn't listen to anything I say. ! Within 10 minutes I apologised to the member of staff if in that I had not meant to cause embarrasment, but advised that I had done this as we should model the correct use of language to the children in our care ( 2-4 year olds).
    I apologised to get things back on track and recieved no acknowledgement of my apology. The memer of staff does have low literacy levels and I have done nothing to boost her confidence today in respect of this.
    I'm not perfect, I get my words muddled now and then but take on board criticisms when I recieve them as a way to improve or change. Tell me your views.
    How would you have addressed this situation ?
     
  2. I have a member of support staff who always uses the term 'wheres that to' when asking where something is. For sometime now I have modeled back what I consider to be the correct sentence formation ' Where is the ... ' but to no avail. Today I bit the bullet and said 'that you are using incorrect grammar'. I do have a history with this member of staff so I was expecting a retaliatory remark. It came back in the form of the staff member telling another that she doesn't listen to anything I say. ! Within 10 minutes I apologised to the member of staff if in that I had not meant to cause embarrasment, but advised that I had done this as we should model the correct use of language to the children in our care ( 2-4 year olds).
    I apologised to get things back on track and recieved no acknowledgement of my apology. The memer of staff does have low literacy levels and I have done nothing to boost her confidence today in respect of this.
    I'm not perfect, I get my words muddled now and then but take on board criticisms when I recieve them as a way to improve or change. Tell me your views.
    How would you have addressed this situation ?
     
  3. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Couldn't resist. Everyone saves their worst typos for critical posts. It's Sod's Law.
    'Where's that to' sounds like dialect to me and I rather like it. Maybe I'll start using it myself. It'll go with the other archaic phrases from my childhood, such as 'Hark at that.'
    I do use 'correct' English [with a faint Brummie accent] in front of children because I think the little ones benefit from accustoming their ears to something that isn't dialect,slangy or mumbled and incoherent. I speak clearly, too, and don't drop Ts all over the place. That's my job. But I'd balk at criticizing a member of staff in the terms you used. As I said, the phrase sounds like dialect and dialects have a richness all their own.







     
  4. Gosh, that is a tricky one. Don't beat yourslef up over this as we have all been there.
    We as practitioners know that quality oral language preceeds written language and why don't SMT look for that whem appointing staff.
    I think that the phrase 'wheres that to' is dialect rather than just bad grammar. I don't usually comment on other adults' dialect or grammar because criticism of a person's language is so part of their sense of self identity that it is deeply wounding.
    It is not the same as criticising poor spelling. It is accepted that poor spelling in the formal learning situation is a bad thing. I have had TAs refuse to write observations because of spelling difficulties. I think that during my career there have been quite a few TAs that I found that I have needed to protect from exposing their poor literacy skills. I have avoided asking them to write in record books and in some cases read to the class.
    (I imagine that I have made quite a few typos in here- so apologise for them now, before somebody slaps my wrists for them- never a good idea to criticise spelling.)
    I would only correct a colleague's oral language if she used incorrect vocabulary, simple or technical, that confused the child or used slang that could be offensive. Perhaps 'wheres that to' is local to your area and the children understand that.
    I think that TAs come with a variety of skills and base line education . It always surprises me that in an EY environment where communication is key that candidates are appointed without basic literacy skills.
    Now ,I once overstepped the mark and corrected a TA colleague in front of a child because she had told a child not to speak to other children in his home language in the nursery; there were other children in the class who shared the same home langauge.
    I was so astounded by her comment which she delivered loudly to the whole class and so protective over the child, that my correction of her statement just came out. The TA was experienced and I felt should have known better.

    She was deeply offended, because I had not corrected her in private. In private she disagreed with me strongly and refused to accept my opinion as being correct. We really did not pick up from this. I did organise an EAL one day course for her that I knew sang from the same hymn sheet as myself. It went some way to solving the EAL confusion but not the resentment perhaps.
    Over the years ,I have also had TAs who have delighted in pointing out any errors I have made however trivial and it is wounding so I can identify with how your support assistant might feel.
    I have also had lovely TAs, who having noticed any errors. I have made have pointed them out to me in order to protect me from tumbling deeper into the mire.
    Think that your TA might need a course but don't just send her becuase she will think you ar epicking on her. Have a look at I CAN website for courses and publications.
    Also think about speaking with SMT, maybe a move next academic year for TA . Meanwhile boost her esteem by using her strengths, perhaps ?


     
  5. Thank you Inky and Hedda Gabler. You are right i think this is a 'local' phrase and the children probaby do understand it. I cringed as soon as I realised how and what i'd said which was actually ' you don't end a sentence like that with a to, it's incorrect grammar'. reflecting on this further there are probably deeper issues that I have to resolve with this member of staff and this was one way of venting my dissatisfaction. I shall now resolve these other issues and ignore the dialect. Who am I to correct others speech , as i think one of you said it's part of your identity.
    Thank you again.
     
  6. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    How often I've felt that, and I'm sure most of us are the same. I've posted things on here that have so embarrassed me that I've lain low afterwards for a few days.
    'Where's that to?' is rather lovely in a Tess of the d'Urbervilles sort of way.
    'Can I go toilet?' is not.
     
  7. I quite like "Can I have the toilet?"
     
  8. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Don't fash yourself, sammy. You're all mithered.
     
  9. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    There's a whole host of silly/sensible answers that this question invites.
     
  10. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I'm horrible. Even with Nursery children, I usually make them turn their need into a question.
    With lots of encouragement and help, of course.
     
  11. Sammy
    You sound a very reflective person and that was a lovely response.
    reflecting on this further there are probably deeper issues that I have to resolve with this member of staff and this was one way of venting my dissatisfaction. I shall now resolve these other issues and ignore the dialect
    It is not just a one way street you know and you may not resolve the deeper issues for the other person. Those issues may go far beyond the work place for your colleague, You can only resolve to understand your part in this realtionship and change it if you feel you need to. You cannot control her responses.
    Your job is to watch that the deeper issues don't affect the chidlren.
     
  12. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I'vdone a bit of superficial Google research and discovered that 'Where's that to' is West country and Bristol usage. It sounded West Country.

     
  13. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    So I'm feeling smug.
     
  14. You may now regret what happened Sammy but I think you have hit on an interesting subject. Some of our TAs and even one of our teachers will happily say to children things such as; "What was you doing?" or "Where was you going?"
    I cringe inside but I am too polite (or maybe just too much of a coward) to say anything!
     
  15. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Senior commenter

    Well I'm right behind you. I think you were quite right to correct her. I'm fed up of having to reteach my children how to talk properly. They went to school able to speak correctly and then learned all kinds of grammatical errors!
     
  16. DENISE4444

    DENISE4444 New commenter

    Hi, I once had an LSP write ' you was able to read very well', in a reading record and had a rather angry parent comment to me about it, I had to say sorry and then show the LSP what she had written - very embarrasing, she was also about to start her teaching degree!!
    I have lots of children asking "to have the/a toilet", I always respond " no, we need them" and they laugh. Another one is "me want", instead of "I want", I think we should model good speach/grammar. I do this with the children by repeating what they have said but with correct words (core instead of can't, etc).
    I am from the black country and though I have an accent I do not use 'broad' dialect as my dad encouraged me to ' speak properly', some friends and step son (though his dad isn't) however are quite 'broad' and at times I have to bite my tongue to stop my self from correcting them!! (I do correct my stepson, as does his dad) That would go down like a lead balloon!!
     
  17. Im another one with a TA with poor grammar and not sure how to handle it! We regularly get the 'what was you doing' but also 'making snowmans' 'count the sheeps' etc. She has also written in books although no parents have commented yet!
    At the moment I just try to repeat what she has said back to the children correctly - when she says 'who wants to make snowmans' I say (loudly enough for her to hear!) 'are you going to make snowmen?' - but it doesn't seem to go in!!
     
  18. PlymouthMaid

    PlymouthMaid Occasional commenter

    Yes, I hear 'where's that to?' frequently here in Plymouth. I was doing some supply in a nursery recently and had to listen to staff announcing that 'they ain't done nothing' to children. That isn't dialect.
     
  19. "you done well!" [​IMG]
     
  20. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    This brings up questions about key workers and Learning Journeys.
    Does anyone dare ask the obvous question?


     

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