Sarah Ebner, reporter and blogger for The London Times’ education blog Schoolgate has bestowed a great honor on this blog, naming it one of the ten best blogs about education. I don’t know about that, but I appreciate the accolade. I hope British readers who happen by here do find something useful here. I have only taught British literature for a semester, but I will be teaching two sections this year, so look for more ideas for British literature here in the coming months.
Laura Diamond at the AJC’s education blog Get Schooled discusses a sticky problem: teachers who use poor grammar in communication with parents.
Many of us admit we have poor grammar and horrible spelling skills. So why do so many of us get concerned when we see these same faults in teachers?
Can you respect a teacher with poor grammar? Do you worry he or she won’t be a good teacher?
OK, so I admit I make typos on occasion, and I’ve even done it on handouts or assignments. If I catch them I correct them, but there have been times when I haven’t caught them because I didn’t proofread carefully. However, when I send e-mails to parents, I always proofread carefully. I am acutely aware that parents will have little faith in an English teacher who makes grammatical mistakes, and if my children had such a teacher, I would be concerned. I suppose my answer to Laura Diamond’s question depends on how bad the mistakes are. If I see an obvious typo in a teacher’s communication to me, I’m forgiving. If I see embarrassing grammar mistakes that indicate the problem is not proofreading but knowledge of grammar, I do question whether or not the teacher can be effective. Engaging students is great, but if you don’t have good communication skills, how much knowledge are you going to be able to impart? Honestly, good communication skills apply to everyone, and all teachers ostensibly have college degrees; therefore, I don’t think it is expecting too much to insist that they be able to communicate using proper grammar.
Teachers are also our models. When I was young, it never occurred to me that a teacher could be wrong about a fact. If my teacher said it, I thought it must be so, and when I was presented for the first time with evidence to the contrary, I remember questioning the accuracy of that evidence! I don’t think teachers need to be perfect, but they do need to be aware of how much stock students put into what they say and do, especially in elementary school.
Have you encountered this problem? What’s your take?
I created this presentation a couple of years ago when I was taking a Schools Attuned course. If I remember right, it was part of the course somehow. Feel free to use it if you feel it will help your students. I plan to post it to the class blog at the beginning of the school year so students can look at it at home.
Dawn Hogue has a great post on blocking access to Web sites.
When schools block web applications, especially the newer Web 2.0 tools, the opportunity to use and teach how to use these tools is blocked as well. What would be better than simply blocking everything would be to acknowledge that there are some risks associated with accessing information on the Internet and in creating an online presence and teach students how to be responsible Web content generators.
I checked out her resources page and imagine it will take me some time to sift through all the great stuff.
I began the process of adding more handouts and other content to this site. I removed some handouts I didn’t really think would be useful.
It made me wonder about content in general. What would be helpful? If I have it, I can put it up. I have some great research paper stuff that I need to scan, but I could put it up, too. Also, I have other handouts at school. Right now, most of my handouts are either writing or American literature, but I did add one handout for British literature. More should come as I gain more experience with the subject. I taught one section of it last year for a semester, but will teach two sections all year this coming year.
I’m not taking requests, mind. If I don’t already have it or don’t have a use for it myself, I don’t see the point in creating it, especially not for free. However, if I have it made up, and it’s just a matter of uploading it or even if I don’t have it but think I can use it myself, I can upload it.
Here’s a Power Point on the twenty most common writing errors:
Update: I know that the 20th slide isn’t rendering properly, but I can’t fix it because it’s SlideShare’s problem. If you download the file, it should be correct because the transcript is correct; however, if it’s not, you can easily change it.