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Teachers' spelling

Discussion in 'English' started by andybeale, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. andybeale

    andybeale New commenter

    I'm new to to this site and forum and have been a little shocked by teachers using "there" instead of "their", "your" instead of "you're", putting apostrophes all over the place etc. To me, this demonstrates a poor grasp of the basics. I'm not trying to start an argument but I would be interested to know other teachers' views on this and the examples we set to our pupils. If we can't get it right, how can we expect them to?
     
  2. andybeale

    andybeale New commenter

    Should have been "set an example for" !
     
  3. I sometimes use the wrong 'there/their' when I type, even though I have no problem with it when I write. Add to that dodgy typing and there are often mistakes. In class, I'm very careful and my spelling is fine when I'm writing. When I see that someone here cannot spell or punctuate, my heart sinks but I'm used to it. In school, it does my head in when a TA encourages a child to use commas incorrectly or writes 'practice' when they mean 'practise' but what can you do? You can only deal with what you see. On here, we're more tolerant because we recognise that people are tired! Also, you can't preview and check your posts, or edit them afterwards.
     
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Yes, it can be annoying to see mistakes and I'm sure we're all more careful at school. as we know from our children, it's often difficult to spot one's own mistakes and when we're rushed we don't always spot the mistakes/ typos. Then it's to late on this site as another poster said we can't edit afterwards. Hence often two posts second one with the correction.
     
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    As in
    should of course be 'too' late.
     
  6. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    Letter went out to parents this week in which they were invited to contact their child's subject teacher's.


     
  7. So are many others, and have been since time immemorial. B Lamb from the Queen's English Society wrote a booklet about it and blamed it mainly on poor teaching:
    1997, The opinions and practices of teachers of English. QES.
    I discussed it with him on bbc breakfast a few years ago.
    The reason why even well educated English people commit spelling mistakes is because English spelling is difficult and takes a very long time to master, with some words regularly tripping people up when they are in a hurry or thinking more about what they are trying to say than how accurate their spelling is.
    English spelling is full of traps like their/there/they're, to/too/two and its/it's, although they are the best known ones.
    We could remove those traps by respelling their/there with either thare or thair;
    link the to of 'to go' more directly to the verb (t'go') or spell it 'tu'.
    and use too for 'to London, too late and when too=also'.
    But that means taking a critical look at English spelling conventions, and most people are not yet ready for that. They equate spelling with language, see it as something almost god-given and find my views outrageous.
    And the same misspelling occur over and over again: seperate, definately, embarrasing ....
    Yet it's so obvious why they do, if u stop tu think about it.
    Masha Bell
     
  8. andybeale

    andybeale New commenter

    Absolutely - spelling is a minefield, but their, there, they're, your, you're, the basic usage of apostrophes and a couple of other common items aren't that difficult to learn and we are supposed to be demonstrating that it's possible to get it right - even at their age (from primary to secondary).
    I take the point from other posters that these could be typos - I'm sure that's the case in many that I see on here. However, looking at letters to parents, notices round school, other teachers' lesson powerpoints etc I'm afraid they're not all mistakes.
     
  9. I see that masha has taken to opportunity to use another thread as a skip for her garbage.
    It is well understood that people make typos on newsgroups and for that reason it is best to ignore them unless there is an obvious reason not to.

     
  10. andybeale

    andybeale New commenter

    I think that's unfair to Masha. As several people have said, there are typos like this that occur, but are you saying that all such spelling errors are typos? The fact is that we know that there are teachers whose basic understanding of spelling and grammar isn't what it should be. As teachers with expectations of our students reaching certain standards I think it's only reasonable for us to demonstrate that we can get to grips with what are only a few simple rules.
    There's nothing wrong with expecting teachers to promote high standards in any subject.
     
  11. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    How often can you get a French friend to write?

    We have our spelling; they have their agreements.
    tu? No! That's horrible. I see it and think YEW.
     
  12. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    That should be Tew.
     
  13. I am pretty certain that most people would like to be able to spell correctly. When I first started to teach English in a grammar school in the late 70's, the teachers who had to rewrite reports were invariably mortified, but many still did. Even the head of English, who was very old school, occasionally had to rewrite a few. That's why people generally wrote just a few words on the old one sheet reports: good, satisfactory, could do better.
    With separate subject reports teachers became more informative, but made more mistakes and our reports ended up being triple-checked before being sent home: by form tutor, deputy head and head.
    If English spelling was something that could be understood, fewer people would make mistakes. It's the huge amount of rote-learning that defeats them.
    That is a fairly typical attitude of people who have no spelling problems and who never had any trouble accepting ludicrous inconsistencies like 'fourteen - forty, speak - speech, conceit - receipt'.
     
  14. She can destroy discussions with her endless copy and pastes from her blog.
    I think that the nature of the medium makes for typos that look like spelling errors. I doubt that there are many teachers who get their and there wrong, but a quick reply to a newsgroup can make it happen.
    And "a few simple rules" brings us back to masha. There aren't really that many rules to learn.
    Newsgroup misspelling and typos can make for endless and meaningless discussions about newsgroup spelling and typos...
    ...like this one.
     
  15. English has 91 basic letter-to-sound rules, while Finnish has just 38, but the main reason why learning to spell English 'correctly' takes much longer than in other European languages, and why even educated adults often make spelling errors, is because 80 of them have exceptions
    http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com/2009/12/rules-and-exceptions-of-english.html
    The patterns with less than 50 exceptions (e.g. cat - plait, plaid, meringue) are not much of a problem, but the following 12 cause a great deal of word-by-word memorisation and make learning to read harder too.

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="margin:auto auto auto 4.65pt;width:411.85pt;border-collapse:collapse;" class="MsoNormalTable"><tr style="height:12.75pt;"><td style="padding-bottom:0cm;background-color:transparent;padding-left:5.4pt;width:255.9pt;padding-right:5.4pt;height:12.75pt;padding-top:0cm;border:#f0f0f0;">affects
    </td><td style="padding-bottom:0cm;background-color:transparent;padding-left:5.4pt;width:32.1pt;padding-right:5.4pt;height:12.75pt;padding-top:0cm;border:#f0f0f0;">914</td><td style="padding-bottom:0cm;background-color:transparent;padding-left:5.4pt;width:123.85pt;padding-right:5.4pt;height:12.75pt;padding-top:0cm;border:#f0f0f0;">words
    </td></tr><tr style="height:12.75pt;"><td style="padding-bottom:0cm;background-color:transparent;padding-left:5.4pt;width:255.9pt;padding-right:5.4pt;height:12.75pt;padding-top:0cm;border:#f0f0f0;">Ee
    The following four take some learning to spell too, but cause few reading problems:
    her / turn, third, search&ndash; in 206 words; fasten / abandon, truncheon, certain- 205; father / author, armour, nectar -136; ordinary / machinery, inventory - 96 ; fish / photo, stuff &ndash; 56.
     
  16. Like I said then.
     
  17. manc

    manc New commenter

    I think the OP was not bemoaning the lack of spelling ability in the population per se, but the inability of people who are paid to teach English to spell simple homophones correctly. My grasp of Hookes' Law is poor, but I'd expect a physics teacher to be pretty much up to speed with it.
     
  18. And that is perfectly reasonable, because physics is logical.
    People make mistakes with English spelling because too much of it is unreasonable and brainscrambling (e.g. see, seize, siege; rabbit - habit, men - many...) It sets up all kinds of anxieties in children when they first start learning it, and they stay with many people for the rest of their lives.
    Naturally good spellers who look down on people who are apt to misspell are like naturally gifted musicians who look down on tone-deaf people.
     
  19. We know.
    Can you not see that you are boring us with 'discoveries' that are no mystery to any of us? Your arrogant belief that we won't know until you tell us is just that, your blindness to the obvious. Everyone here speaks and reads English better than you and most of us have a clue how to teach it without being told that we're wrong and you are right.


     
  20. manc

    manc New commenter

    I've not a problem with people struggling with spelling, marsha.
    Should they be teaching English though?
     

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