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Teachers who say ' we was' .......

Discussion in 'Primary' started by crysys, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. crysys

    crysys Occasional commenter

    I sat through an assembly recently and squirmed as I had to listen to a young year 4 teacher addressing the great unwashed with such beauties as ' we was' and ' I fink.' I know we have to deal with children using these terms because it's what they hear at home...but surely not at school and from a teacher?? I am having to constantly correct these errors in kids' writing and have been doing so for so many years...will the time come when we give in and accept that the oral version becomes the norm? I appreciate that some teachers just ain't what they used to be...one asked me this week what an idiom was and when I quoted a common one, didn't know what it meant....sigh!
  2. What gets my goat is KS1 teachers who say f instead of th. How on earth will hteir children learn to speak adn spell correctly. ARGH!
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Nope the 'We was' and 'Me and Miss Minnie was pleased that...' gets on my nerves as well. Do they correct it in their children's writing? If so they must know it is wrong so why say it?

    But there are more important things to rock the boat about.
  4. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Whilst I understand your issues with such things, it's important to remember that any spoken deviances from Standard English and Received Pronunciation are dialectal, and it's wrong to suggest that they are, as such, incorrect. No dialect can ever be said to be 'incorrect', or for that matter 'correct'. You may well attempt to steer people, children included, towards SE and RP, but you should never tell them that what they are saying is 'wrong'.
    Writing such things is inexcusable though, of course. [​IMG]
  5. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Err...of course I meant 'deviations', and not 'deviances'...[​IMG]
  6. Agree with that Nick909. Glad someone else thinks the same - I was not going to reply to the OP until I saw another likeminded post! Correct the dialect and you are correcting the mother. Children need to be taught the difference between written and spoken langauge.
  7. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    I agree to an extent. We often have the debate in the staffroom about words like castle, grass, glass and where this invisible 'r' comes from. The arguments are in jest and most realise that there are different pronunciations. However, the use of 'we was' doesn't fall under this category.

    I also dislike when people (many teachers) add a 'k' on the end of anything.
  8. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    Why is it OK to tell them that their written English is "wrong", but not their spoken English?
    Or is it simply a matter of political correctness?
    BTW I am referring to grammar, not pronunciation.
  9. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    Well, yes. But there are occasions when formal spoken language is needed, in the same way as we teach the need for formal written language.
  10. inq


    I know I have to try really hard not to add a k to anything and something - if I go back to my parent's house everyone around there speaks like that, I know it's wrong. Likewise I have to concentrate very hard not to say, "give it me" when, as I'm constantly reminded by Mr Inq, that what I mean is "give it to me".
    I'm not a young teacher and appreciate that I should model correct speech but I consider both of the mistakes I frequently make as dialect - but as I no longer live in an area where it is acceptable then it just sounds wrong.
  11. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Because there is no such thing as 'wrong' with regards to spoken English, nor is there such thing as 'right'. There is Standard English of course, and as adults, most of us know when to adjust our speech to this, and I believe we should be teaching children about the use of SE (without necessarily referring to it as such), but not to the point where we're telling them that what they're saying is wrong.
    WP, we both know the extremes of this having taught where we've taught, after all. The number of times we must both have heard all of the "I day"s, "it wor me"s and "am yer"'s etc. throughout our careers, but I still wouldn't dream of telling them not to talk like that.
  12. 'We was..' instead of 'We were..' is a sad state of affairs from a teacher.
    If children do not hear correct grammar and be offered a chance to learn correct grammar, their choices in later life are somewhat reduced I suggest.

  13. I must add that I make plenty of mistakes with spoken and written English too.
    If you ask me whether I prefer to be correct or not, I would prefer to be correct at all times.
    I'm not worried that I have a Yorkshire accent but I would still prefer to be speak grammatically correctly.
    As primary teachers, I think it is part of our duty to try to speak correctly as far as possible.
    Perhaps I'm just old-fashioned.
  14. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Yes, despite all of the above, I do think that teachers should model SE as far as possible.
  15. I think children should be taught the correct speech for three instead of free - they are 2 different words, and when my yorkshire children start writing in their diary "I went twhite rose" they need to be told the missing word is "to" not "t". I understand previous posters comments that this is correcting the parents, but they should have been corrected when they were at school too!
    The thing that is really winding me up at the moment is "v" instead of "the" but if thats the way they speak should I just accept it? Then when they get to year 6 and still can't spell whose fault is it?
  16. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    True [​IMG]
  17. We should be teaching the children in our class to be bi-lingual. There's what is said outside, at home etc. and that's fine. But, when we need to do serious stuff, we speak properly and spell properly : water not wa'er etc. Acknowledge both, explain the differences and let them know which or both are acceptable - you've given them another life skill - bonus.
  18. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    It wouldn't be so much a matter of correcting the parents as trying to put a stop to hundreds of years of language and accent shift - it would be rather like trying to stop the tide from coming in with your bare hands - you will never do it, so don't bother trying. Why on Earth would you want the children to stop speaking with Yorkshire accents anyway? Or any accent?
    Part of the beauty of the language spoken in our country is the huge variation in dialect and accent, often meaning that locals can differentiate between people who live 10 or 15 miles apart. I watched a TV adaptation that was set in Wolverhampton over Christmas and felt aggrieved that many of the actors had Birmingham accents and the main character had an East Midlands accent! Think how Boltonians sound in comparison to Mancunians. Or how accents and dialects change as you move from Dudley to Birmingham to Coventry to Leicester to Nottingham. Covering such distances in the US, you would barely register any change at all, and some Australian friends were recently lamenting the fact that they can cross from one side of the country to another and not hear a different accent or dialect (although, apparently Queenslanders sound a bit different to those from the South-East!). We should be cherishing this, not trying to stop it!
    It's perfectly straightforward to teach children how and when to use a standardised form of English, and also to teach them that spelling patterns don't necessarily follow pronunciation patterns (after all this is true of even SE and RP). Most children cope with all of this quite well.
    Although, if children reach Y6 in your school thinking that 'the' is spelt with a 'v', then I'd suggest there are greater concerns than worrying about their accents.
  19. I appreciate that some teachers just ain't what they used to be

    I really hope you were being ironic when you wrote this. Otherwise, you've got quite a cheek to critise others for their grammar.

    A teacher at my school tells the children, "We was..." is playground talk. In lessons she reminds them to say, "We were...". As has been said, to infer that someone's dialect is wrong is not acceptable. However, children should be made aware that it's not standard English. We want them to succeed in life. If they use incorrect grammar in a job application they will appear very unprofessional.
    As far as I am aware this a a problem specific to the South East of England. Are there any other areas were, "We was" is the norm?
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Lots of my class say we was and I'm in the North

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