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Question from a classroom volunteer...

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Winnie3, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. Hi
    I volunteer in a fab primary school two days a week, and I'm apply for the GTP 2012 and wanted to know how teachers would feel if someone in my position pointed out a punctuation mistake on a (rather lovely) wall display in a corridor? It's an apostrophe in the word 'dangers', between the r and the s, but it shouldn't be there.
    I spotted it this week and my instinct was to mention it, as such things matter to me, it's incorrect and I feel it sets a bad example to the children. However I don't want to come across as being condescending or 'above my station' for mentioning it.
    Would you mind being told about it or would you welcome somebody spotting mistakes like this?
  2. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    What if one of the people who does it is your Deputy Head? Makes it a bit tricky.
    btw, I did do a generic "accents and dialects are great, but we need to model good spoken English and use standard English when speaking to children" spiel when I led a speaking and listening INSET.
  3. Interesting. Is that really necessary? I stand corrected. Thank you for pointing it out.
  4. [​IMG] Tricky but it saddens me to hear that.
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I agree with this. Just walk away it isn't down to you to cause bad feeling. And presumably this is the school where you will need a mentor for your GTP.
  6. If you get on well with the teacher you are working with you could perhaps make light of it and say I spotted your deliberate mistake, to see who pays attention to your displays.
  7. Hettys

    Hettys New commenter

    My God you teachers are a sensitive bunch. Get those chips off your shoulders and man up. Of course she should point it out. In any other business/office there'd be no end of good humoured 'ribbing' over this kind of thing. What would you rather a volunteer or a parent to point it out.?
  8. From your description of the mistake I assume it is a simple plural, in which case there is no excuse for such a howler and you should definitely point it out. Depending on where it's positioned I bet loads of parents have noticed it and cringed.
    I'm a PGCE student and recently pointed out a mistake on a maths display in my placment school. I phrased it in a way that I didn't understand the particular method being demonstrated. The teacher was mortified (in a good way), pulled it down and thanked me for pointing it out.
    There is no excuse for such a basic error and it should be mentioned sensitively. I don't agree with correcting it yourself though, it's far worse to meddle with someone else's work and would definitely look bad if noticed.
    It is probably a TA who has put it up, so you are unlikely to offend a future mentor. In my experience teachers are either good at grammar and would be equally horrified at such an error on a display, or they are bad at grammar and know it (but have brilliant strengths in other areas), so would be grateful to someone for pointing it out.
  9. Thank you for your replies. After half-term I'll see if the apostrophe is still there, and if it is, with sensitivity, I will mention it to the class teacher. I would never dream of trying to undermine their authority at all, but if something's clearly wrong, then surely it needs rectifying?
    Isn't it better I mention it, rather than an Ofsted inspector?
    (I didn't think my question would generate such heated debate!)
  10. Agreed.
    I'm sure you'll approach this with tact and sensitivity as you imply in your posts. Be interested to know what happens if you have time?
  11. Well maybe I just work in a lovely school but I am a bit mystified by this whole debate!
    I assume that it's a typo, but in any case if I saw it on any display I would just go into the teachers classroom and say something along the lines of "Elaine, I just noticed you've got a typo on your display- there's an apostrophe in dangers which shouldn't be there" and I think Elaine would say something along the lines of "Oh how embarrassing, I was really tired when I did that display and I didn't notice, thanks for pointing it out" and we would all happily get on with our day!

    I don't think it makes any difference whether it's a TA, volunteer or parent who notices, I make little mistakes all the time (don't we all!) and I don't really see that it's a problem!

  12. Before I started my PGCE I had a variety of roles in school including 3 years as a display technician.
    I would have been mortified that someone felt they had to live with a mistake I made because they didn't feel they could tell me - how embarrassing to be seen as that unapproachable!
    Getting it right is the most important thing - and that applies to how you speak, how you teach, how you behave and how you accept you are not perfect.
  13. I agree. We all make mistakes and we only learn from people helping us to correct them. That is what we expect the children to do so I think we should do the same. Modellling learning and editing is what we are all about, I feel.
    I think we would be the same in our school. I do think it should be corrected though as it does matter and many people are visual learners and will then learn the wrong punctuation from the display.
    We do need to ligten up!
  14. You should definitely mention it. As a parent, I spent a whole year being really irritated by a display in my daughter's Yr R classroom. I knew it was a silly spelling mistake and didn't take it as a reflection of the teaching in general but I did feel that it wasn't a great example especially as it was never corrected. I didn't want to come across as a know-it-all mum so I didn't say anything, I just kept thinking surely someone will notice soon.
  15. Please note: proofreading is one word.
  16. Please note: proofreading is one word.
  17. Don't bank on Ofsted spotting it. Our recent Ofsted was led by an English specialist and their report was dreadful - grammatical errors, punctuation errors, proofreading clearly inadequate. And proudly on the Ofsted website for all the world to see. As to the display error: why not brief a child, subtly, and get them to ask about it?
  18. dozymare1957

    dozymare1957 Occasional commenter

    Well, that's the best suggestion of all!
  19. glossolalia

    glossolalia New commenter

    You need to check your incorrect punctuation. You have comma spliced!

    'I spotted it this week and my instinct was to mention it, as such things matter to me, it's incorrect and I feel it sets a bad example to the children. '

    Your final sentence starting with 'it's incorrect' should actually start with a capital letter, or if you prefer, a semicolon would suffice in this case.
  20. My son's year 3 teacher had put a big display of 'gifts of the holy spirit' and she had spelt (spelled?) 'counsel' wrong; she had written 'councel' in very large letters. When I quizzed her (is that really how you spell counsel?), she was under the impression that she had spelt (spelled?) it correctly, and my asking didn't prompt her to look the word up, so she never corrected it and Ofsted saw it.

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