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spelling entropy
confronting the heat-death of spelling knowledge
by erik lars myers (@TopFermented)
5.16.05
writing

It's bin coming four years. Since the advent of built inn spell-checking dictionaries inn whirred processors, it should have become obvious two us. Wee trussed computers too dew moor and moor fore us every day, and weave finally reached the point where knowledge of spelling has become obsolete.

It's sad, really. Thinking about it, learning how two spell was a very important part of my early education. That mite sound funny, butt ewe have too understand that eye grew up in an area wear English was knot the predominant language. Since aye was the nerdy little fat kid in school, my ability to reed, right, and spell was won of the only thymes (aside from chess club and fatty-fat-fat club) that eye felt like aye had a leg up on any body. "Yeah? Ewe mite bee able to beet the snot out of me, butt at least I can spell bettor than yew!"

Okay, maybe that didn't help my position any, butt it felt really good in the moment!

The thing is, back wen eye was in grade school, spelling was necessary. Unlike today's world, only a few people had computers to work on. Eye was lucky enough two have my parents bye me a good ol' Commodore 64 and a dot matrix printer, butt that was only inn hi school. Up until then, I had two rite my papers using my grandfather's old typewriter. Kids today mite knot believe it, butt typewriters back then didn't have spell check. We had too no how two spell all buy ourselves. Uphill in the snow! Both ways!

Nowadays, with sew much technology available, spelling is falling buy the wayside. People don't have two concentrate on it as much, sew it doesn't stay with them. It's knot as important too learn how to spell, since a spell checker is available two just about anyone who has too produce any sort of written document. That just leaves us won slippery-slope argument away from taking spelling out of the elementary education curriculum, all together. Butt that's okay. Spell checker will save us. So long as people no how to reed, weir still okay, write?

Inn fact, now that eye think a bout it, what good does correct spelling really dew four us, anyway? Just because somebody mite spell something wrong doesn't mein yew won't no watt there trying to say. They'll make up in speed watt they loose in clarity, and watts moor important inn today's speed-of-business whirled? Quantity oar quality? Aye think the answer is obvious. Wood ewe rather have a document dun quickly, and trussed spell check, oar spend thyme proof reeding to catch mistakes that mite knot even exist, anyway? The only problem yew mite run into is a homonym ore to, and anybody whose smart enough two ewes a computer should bee able too a void a simple homonym, right?

I mean, what kind of idiot cant tell the difference between blue and blew?

Sew, maybe this is a good thing, this burgeoning era of low-spelling knowledge. After all, are language won't evolve if were afraid to ewes it, rite? And watt stops people from writing moor than fear that they'll get something wrong? And how can ewe get something wrong if ewe have a good spell checker? With the ade of are trustee computers and they're big brains, weir on the cusp of a revolution! Wye yews arrs when we can ewes there's?

Maybe the thyme has come two get spelling out of our schools! Back when eye was in secund grade, if aye kneaded to no how two spell something, dew ewe no watt my teacher tolled me? "Look it up in the dictionary." Due ewe no how hard it is two look something up in the dictionary when ewe don't no how two spell it? I sea now that it wasn't an effort two teach me. It was just plane lazy! These daze, if yew knead too no how two spell something, awl yew have too dew is hit F7. That's progress, my friends. That's evolution. That is the future at work.

Its as easy as this: sew long as wee have computers two due it fore us, wee need know knowledge of it. Quit on spelling wile weir a head, and focus on things moor important, like sects ore whirled piece (oar both), and happiness is sure two follow.


ABOUT ERIK LARS MYERS

Writer, beer drinker, brewer. Not necessarily in the order. For more, check Top Fermented and Mystery Brewing Company.

more about erik lars myers

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COMMENTS

sandra thompson
5.16.05 @ 8:35a

My spellchecker's feelers have been hurt beyond consoling. I hope your happy now.

erik myers
5.16.05 @ 8:53a

Ehhhhxcellent.

There's nothing better than a good proof read. Just sayin'.

stacy smith
5.16.05 @ 10:21a

I tell my son to look things up all the time.

I'M So happY tHAT yOu DiDn't wRite thIS columN LikE ThIS! WtF Is uP wIth pEopLe thAt tyPE Like ThIs aNYway?

IT IS ALMOST AS BAD AS THE PEOPLE THAT TYPE LIKE THIS. THEY ARE SO FARKIN' LAZY THEY CANNOT SHUT OFF THE CAP LOCK KEY.

then there is the opposite those people never use the cap lock button nor do they know what punctuation is so everything blends together

And we cannot forget those that write an entire web page and don't insert breaks. This leaves the entire page as one huge paragraph that is impossible to read.

What gits me is theese peeps tink they are really kewl. *rolls eyes*

erik myers
5.16.05 @ 10:26a

Yeah.. I've covered my web page pet peeves.

You know spell check won't catch those capatilzation errors.

tracey kelley
5.16.05 @ 11:50a

I'm a horrible speller. Always have been, so I'm constantly looking things up. But there's no way you can rely on spell check!

erik myers
5.16.05 @ 11:54a

So has anybody been able to make it all the way through?

I had a bitch of a time proof-reading it.

jael mchenry
5.16.05 @ 1:58p

My editing process was pretty much, "Um, yeah, probably OK."

It infuriates me today that children and teenagers can't spell. I can't explain exactly why it matters to me, except that clarity is key in language, and it gets lost when yew donut bother to spill things write.

joe procopio
5.16.05 @ 3:16p

Erik, I'm nitpicking, but you've made some obvious mistakes here.

The first two paragraphs should start with "Its," not "It's."

"All" should be "awl."

"Grade" should be "grayed."

"Curriculum" should be "dealy."

Also "snot" should be either "snought" or, if you really want to push th envelope, "snacht."

I expect more from you.

erik myers
5.16.05 @ 3:22p

DAMN! I knew I would miss some!

Where are my editors!?

lisa r
5.16.05 @ 7:19p

A friend of mine would love this column. Come to think of it, our friendship is founded on being persnickety about spelling. That in and of itself is odd. *shrugs*

My personal opinion is that as the number of tests to determine students' progress increase, the amount of progress students actually make decreases. Why? For every test day at least a week, or more, of instructional time is lost while teachers teach students how to take the freaking test!

It seems to me that 180 days of instruction should actually amount to 180 days of, by golly, INSTRUCTION! Then again, with all the different types of new math, no one in good old Washington, DC can add well enough to figure that one out.

[edited]

juli mccarthy
5.16.05 @ 11:05p

My daughter is not a great speller - this surprises me because she is a great reader, and you'd think she'd at least recognize when a word doesn't look right. But, it turns out her teachers have never really graded for spelling (except in spelling, and by the way I once sent her spelling list back to school because the teacher had misspelled two of the ten words on that week's list.)

I've seen adults use the non-word "alot" a LOT, and when I point out to them that they have seen the phrase "a lot" in books their whole lives and it has NEVER been one word, they look at me like I'm nuts. Makes me want to slap them silly, I tell you.

lisa r
5.16.05 @ 11:18p

I think perhaps part of the problem is this huge focus on reading, without the accompanying grammar--how in the world are kids supposed to know if the spelling is correct for the way a word is used if they don't learn grammar? The three-- grammar, spelling, and reading--MUST be taught together. Otherwise, the three of them individually are worth about as much as a plugged nickel. A child cannot read for context if he or she cannot distinguish correct grammar and spelling from incorrect. If a child cannot read for context, a child is not reading--he or she is stringing words together.

tim lockwood
5.17.05 @ 1:49a

One of my favorite spelling peeves of late is the proper name Sheila. I have seen it spelled by the spouses of women named Sheila with the i and the l inverted - Shelia. It also appeared on at least one poor woman's credit card that way, too. This particular woman said she had all but given up on correcting the misspelling, and was surprised that I had even noticed. Most people apparently get the idea that, if it's in print, especially on something quasi-official like a credit card, it couldn't possibly be wrong.

And I have one particular grammatical peeve which can be summed up in a single word - apostrophes. You know what I'm saying.

erik myers
5.17.05 @ 8:35a

Yeah.. I find it absolutely infuriating that kids nowadays can't spell.

I feel like this should be easy basic knowledge.

The longer I go through life the longer I'm convinced that when I have kids they're either going to be home-schooled or going to private schools because public schools are clearly craptastic as of late and that to make it through smart, you pretty much have to be lucky.


(edited to correct a misspelling)

[edited]

jael mchenry
5.17.05 @ 9:03a

I'm starting to think that, as a parent, if you want your kid to be a good reader/speller/thinker, you've got to push that goal yourself. Which is a shame, since school's where they're supposed to be learning; but whether my (hypothetical) kids go to public or private school, I expect to be bugging them all the time to make sure they're learning what I think they should learn.

They will probably hate me for it. Or I'll get sick of trying and they'll all turn out saying "everyday" and "it's" in the wrong places.

tracey kelley
5.17.05 @ 9:42a

The love of reading has to be one of the very first things you teach a child - there has to be an association of discovery and delight there. Otherwise, they will block out learning grammar and spelling later in school. I found this to be true many times when tutoring.

However, just because someone doesn't spell well doesn't mean they're not smart, any more than bad test grades indicate a dumb student. But like Jael said - it all has to start with the parents. "Disguise" learning as fun and interesting, make it interactive, and children won't have a problem.

Lisa! Remind me to send you a copy of the article I'm writing on one of our science professors at the university. You'll LOVE him.

katie morris
5.17.05 @ 1:03p

Is it possible to teach spelling? I have some brilliant friends, English majors even, who can't spell to save their lives. I have always been a good speller, but I think that's because I'm a visual learner. If I see or read something (faces, words, etc.), I usually remember it. But if I just listen to a lecture and don't take notes, I won't remember much of it. So I think visual learners have the advantage when it comes to spelling. They can see a word and recognize it and know if it's wrong. People who learn better orally are not so lucky.

erik myers
5.17.05 @ 1:08p

Bah. It's lazy.

If they were really concerned about knowing how to spell, they'd learn. C'mon. English majors? You're in college, for crissakes. I can understand a typo now and then, but by the time you hit college you should be able to write a paper without a horde of spelling mistakes..

OR! You should at least be able to spell-check AND proof-read to get rid of them.

mike julianelle
5.17.05 @ 1:12p

God this is painful to read!

juli mccarthy
5.17.05 @ 1:14p

Not sure I buy that theory, Katie. It makes some sense logically, but this "learning styles" thing is fairly new. We didn't used to identify students' learning styles, we just taught whatever way necessary to get the information embedded. For some kids, that was spelling bees, for others, write the word out ten times and use it in a sentence.

English is a funny language with lots of weird rules, but the only way to teach kids the difference between to, two and too is to simply correct it each and every time it comes up.

sarah ficke
5.17.05 @ 1:50p

For one of my students' last assignments for the semester was to take a paper they'd written and put it up on the web. One of the requirements was that they had to have no spelling errors. Out of 17 students, 4 fulfilled that requirement. I put it down to 3/4 laziness and 1/4 ignorance.

katie morris
5.17.05 @ 2:07p

Well, it's obviously not a scientific theory. It's just my way of interpreting why some of my super-smart friends still write "wierd" and "congradulations." They read all the time, so it's not as if they have never seen those words before. I think their brains must be wired differently. For some reason, they can't just look at a word and know that it's misspelled.

juli mccarthy
5.17.05 @ 2:14p

Nope - I have to go with Erik on this one, Katie. That's just laziness. Had they been corrected early and often, they'd know better. My own personal spelling bugaboo is "acquire" - it makes no sense to me that there is a C in that word, it doesn't need it and I forgot it often. I received correction, and flat-out forced myself to remember, because I care about the impression my writing makes.

lisa r
5.17.05 @ 7:23p

The parent company of my company specializes in diagnosing and treating learning disorders. EVERYONE has some sort of learning disorder--some are just dismissed by the average teacher or parent or even medical professional as being a quirk of a person's nature.

Some people are good spellers, some aren't. Some are good visual learners, some aren't. Some remember every detail of a lecture on the basis of sketchy notes, others externalize as much lecture memory as possible by taking copious notes. Some do well at standardized tests and go down in flames with essay tests, and others vice versa.

All these are signs of mild learning disorders, and all are determined by the way a given person's brain is wired. I could go into a long-winded explanation of how all of this involves working and long-term memory and the ability to move info from the first to the second, but I won't. All I'll say is: be tolerant of others' particular learning quirks, and they'll be tolerant of yours. :)

katie morris
5.17.05 @ 8:14p

I knew my theory had to have some basis in fact! I used to be so envious of my friends who could sit through a lecture, take no notes, remember everything, and ace the test. I am the type who has to take copious notes so I can read it all again later to process and remember it.

lisa r
5.17.05 @ 9:00p

Keep in mind, folks: The brain is a complicated organ, and it's just like an electrical appliance--if all the wires aren't connected just so, all the functions don't work as well as they were intended.

Note-taking and list-making are what educational psychologists refer to as externalizing memory. Externalization is one of the techniques used to help ADHD sufferers cope, because they have trouble keeping information in working (aka short-term) memory for long periods of time. If they externalize it by making notes or recording it in some fashion, then there is less that the frontal lobe has to cope with moving to long-term memory at any one time.

Poor spelling is essentially a mild form of dyslexia if you think about it--instead of flipping letters or horribly scrambling them, the brain just seems to prefer to put select letters in certain situations. Spelling seems to be a societal litmus test for intelligence yet probably shouldn't be, especially if it occurs in the absence of other indicators of a lack of intelligence.

I took copious notes in college, and still do at work. But I'm also a visual learner, and remember vast amounts of information that I learn both through seeing and reading that way as well. I think the note-taking is my brain's way of preventing info overload. I suppose you could say I never met a piece of information my brain didn't like and want to keep. Tracey and Stacy will tell you that if I don't know the answer to a question they ask me, I love to figure it out and explain it.



[edited]

erik myers
5.17.05 @ 10:50p

Yeah, but the excuse of bad wiring only works as an excuse for a few people. I think that the majority of people are just too lazy to spell right.

Look at Sarah's example. 4 out of 17? C'mon. I can see maybe 1 out of 20 with a severe enough learning disorder that, by the time they hit college, they would have a difficult time picking up spelling errors during a proof-read after you've put a paper through a spell-checker.

I mean, really... the tools are there. You just have to use them correctly.

(edited to correct a misspelling.. again!)

[edited]

juli mccarthy
5.18.05 @ 12:09a

I'm VERY familiar with externalization of memory, because I have AD(H)D and have always used it as a coping mechanism, even before I was diagnosed. Plus I'm a synesthete, which gives me a slight edge over a lot of people when it comes to visual memory anyway.

Even so, you can't convince me that college students who can't spell is not a fairly new phenomenon. Truthfully, I blame the "Whole Language" teaching concept. Whole Language is a GREAT idea, HORRIBLY implemented.

lisa r
5.18.05 @ 12:22a

You're making the assumption that they've had exposure to the correct spelling, Erik. Not all teachers get it right, either. Not to mention, in some cases it's not a matter of misspelling so much as using the wrong word for the context. For example, many scientific words pertaining to body parts or secretions have noun and adjective forms that differ only by 1 letter: example, mucus and mucous. I see those mixed up all the time, along with many others. It's not a matter of laziness, it's a matter of lack of adequate training in scientific vocabulary.

To be perfectly honest, I've always been happier if my students got the concepts and missed a few spellings than got their writings letter perfect and couldn't string even the simplest facts together to form a concept. I made sure I gave them the correct spelling, but if they focused on the big picture and missed a few minor details, more power to them. They can look up the tiny stuff. However, I did make a point of correcting spelling and demanding that students use proper sentence structure.

If you must attribute the problem to laziness, be sure that you spread the blame beyond the speller to the current educational climate. Teachers want glitz and graphics to compete with computer programs and television for their students' attention, and that's just what the major textbook companies are providing to sell books. To learn to spell correctly, the majority of kids need to see words over and over and over again, IN CONTEXT. Today's middle school textbooks are so hyped up with background graphics that the kids can't focus on the text. They might be pretty, but all they do is confuse the eye. There is so much on the page to look at, the student cannot focus on what's important.

lisa r
5.18.05 @ 12:30a

I couldn't agree with you more, Juli. Then again, I learned to read mostly before I started school, but I distinctly remember sitting in Mrs. Wallace's first grade class at Speas Elementary and repeating the sounds that "th" and "ph" made, and getting in trouble for assuming Mrs. spelled "Miss" because it was shorter. I also distinctly remember spelling homework in third grade involved being able to use the vocabulary list for the week properly in sentences.

I have the uneasy feeling I'm going to be the parent from hell when I have kids, because I'm going to demand that their teachers challenge them. Heaven forbid homework assignments consist of looking things up on the internet and printing them out.

(Edited to remove word redundancy)

[edited]

erik myers
5.18.05 @ 10:49p

You're making the assumption that they've had exposure to the correct spelling, Erik.

Absolutely. I assume that teachers will be doing their jobs and.. well.. teaching. And if they aren't, they should be fired. When did people stop being held accountable for their jobs?

Far too often, though, I think students slide by on inadequate knowledge simply because the pressure is there to show the gov't (damn you, No Child Left Behind!) how well students are doing.

I'm a huge advocate of failing students when they don't perform well - and when you meet a certain level, say, college, that includes being able to express yourself correctly on paper.

I understand that it's difficult to learn the differences between things like 'mucus' and 'mucous' but that's what kids go to school for, and if they're going into a field that requires that knowledge and they can't figure it out, then that's just not cool.

Do you want to go to a doctor who doesn't know the difference podiatry and pediatry?

Being able to communicate coherently is what makes this world click. I'm not going to throw in any bullshit "slippery slope" arguments, but I really feel that spelling is an incredibly essential part of that.

If you're an English major, and you can't spell, maybe you should be either:

a) working to correct the holes in your knowledge

or

b) studying something else

I have a very low tolerance of ignorance that doesn't directly lead to learning.

lisa r
5.19.05 @ 8:09a

I agree that people should make every effort to learn to spell correctly, as someone's ability to spell creates a first impression in their written communication.

However, as in the case of the majority of words in your article, it's not an issue of being able to spell correctly--it's a case of knowing which synonym is the appropriate word. That's not a spelling problem. That's a grammar problem.

I despise standardized testing. It rewards too many students who are able to guess their way through multiple choice tests, and is not a true test of knowledge and skills.

I've also taught in college and had this discussion with other teachers in the science field, and quite frankly, your characterization that most incidences of poor written communication skills in adults in people who are otherwise intelligent being the result of laziness is so much fecal matter. Especially in the field of science. It shows in their ability to demonstrate understanding of complex concepts in verbal communication. And when you have that sort of disparity between verbal and written communication skills, it's a good bet there's a learning disorder of some sort.

As far as kids learning proper communication skills in English as they are going through school--have you been in any middle school classrooms lately? I have. Teachers have to deal with all sorts of interruptions and impediments to teaching. Disciplinary problems with kids who bounce off the walls. Kids being pulled out of class for club photos for yearbooks. Kids being pulled out by guidance counselors for course scheduling. Morning and afternoon announcements that go on interminably. And the worst of all, having to stop teaching new material to review for standardized tests, then wasting more days giving the tests--all of which thrive on fact memorization and regurgitation, not concepts. Not to mention the number of days school is out completely or dismissed early every quarter. Teachers have to stop and check students agendas to be sure they have all their assignments noted. Worries that if they do not pass enough students to keep the district's federal education funds they'll lose their jobs. How any of them manage to teach anything at all during a given class period is a miracle in and of itself.

And if students actually learn something in class, many of them may go home to parents who don't have the time to encourage kids to practice what they learned. Rehearsal is an incredibly important step in moving information from working memory to long-term memory, and building the neural networks in the brain for all those skills you deem indicative of a person's worth. Brains don't come completely formed with complete pathways at birth. It's like road construction--permanently ongoing. But things have to happen in the right sequence for the brain to build those pathways.

Edited t

[edited]

erik myers
5.19.05 @ 8:36a

That's not a spelling problem. That's a grammar problem.


Ah.. I'd disagree entirely. It's a reading problem. I was never taught grammar (because I went to a shitty public school!) and I know how to avoid homonyms just fine (comma splices, though? look out.). It's called going over your work before turning it in. Regardless, spelling and reading are linked - they deal with the same thing: words - and if they aren't linked, they should be.

I appreciate that you're telling me that the system of public schools is broken, but that doesn't make it okay. If it's broken, it should be fixed.

And no, I don't know how.. but, "Wow, teachers have it tough." isn't a good reason to churn out stupid kids.

If they have it so tough, and the system is so broken, maybe they should all quit their damn jobs and put the government in a predicament where they NEED to fix the system because the teachers won't tolerate it, any longer. Give them pay raises, allow them more control over curriculum, give them better tools, whatever.

But being complacent and going along with a broken system is only hurting things. Sympathizing with them is only enabling them to continue to dredge students through a system that doesn't work.

And if being too lazy to proof read your work, or getting someone else to proof read it, to make sure you don't have errors when you're in a professional field is considered a learning disability, then color me stunned.

If that's the case, why bother with spell-checking in the first place? Just chalk everything up to learning disability and call it done.

[edited]

stacy smith
5.19.05 @ 9:00a

Where to start?

I know of a high school graduate that was pushed through the system not being about to read or write above a grade 4 level. The reason? They didn't want to spend anymore money on him, so it was easier just to push him through the grades to get rid of him.

Schools here in MA don't teach anything other than MCAS material. Depending on who you listen to, would depend on the answer given.

The school commissioner says it's the lack of teachers. Teachers say that it's a parent/student problem.
Students are sick of being under the constant threat of not graduating if they don't pass all these stupid tests.

The real problem is that the federal goverment got involved with the school system. It is not supposed to be that way. Just as schools were never meant to have 40-50 students per classroom.

Kids that "bounce off the walls" are labeled as being trouble makers, or they have some sort of learning disability that somebody pulled from the sky.

As a parent of one of those children, my son doesn't have a learning disability. He was bored! Give him something new and interesting to learn and all that obnoxious behavior goes away.

While kids his age were just learning colors, shapes and basic words like "cat" he already knew all of that. Because he was at higher learning level than his peers, myself and his father were the problem. After all, it isn't "normal" for parents to actually take the time to read to their children every night before bed. Most parents don't have time, so how dare we go above the "norm."

This lip service was given when the boy was in daycare. Not even in the school system yet and they were already blowing smoke up my fourth point of contact.

Agendas are another sticky issue. I'll pick on the teachers union as they deserve it amongst other things.

The teachers union makes up it's own rules to some degree. They have to stick within federal goverments boundries, but beyond that, they are pretty much given a free hand to so as they wish.

Instead of teaching elementary children how to read or write, it is considered more important to teach first graders about HIV and veneral diseases. Don't forget all "in depth" images of penises and vaginas scattered about the book to ensure that the point sticks in the minds of these kids.

How many of these kids really care about vaginal secretions? When I was that age, I wanted to be with my best friend Chip so we could tear up the sidewalks with our Big Wheels. It was fun until the tires caved in.

Just by using my pathetic home state as an example, I think there are some considerably bigger issues with kids not being able to spell that go far beyond "The No Child Left Behind" act and hyperactivity.

sarah ficke
5.19.05 @ 10:46a

What gets me, though, is that by the time a student reaches college they should start taking responsibility for the things they know and don't know. In the case of the students I'm dealing with, they have agreed to get a higher education and it is their responsibility to learn to fill those requirements. Spelling should be being taught to kids when they're young, and if it isn't, that isn't their fault, but at some point they need to take the initiative to learn what they're missing.

tim lockwood
5.19.05 @ 11:38a

Maybe we're taking the wrong approach here. Those of us who turned out with an ability to spell, read, and form complete sentences did so for a reason or a set of reasons. Can anybody think of one particular thing a teacher did or didn't do that influenced how well you performed in school in these areas? Or was it more parental influence, or what?

This is an honest question. It's entirely possible we'll never get to the root of a teacher's success, if for no reason but for the fact that we were seven and eight years old at the time, and who's paying attention to teaching techniques? But if you can think of anything, that would be a good start. I'm asking myself the same question too ...

erik myers
5.19.05 @ 1:52p

Personally, I think I learned how to do read and write in self-defense.

juli mccarthy
5.19.05 @ 2:02p

Truthfully, Tim, I had good teachers who took points off for spelling and grammar. I also had a burning desire to read - I never had the patience to sit still while someone read to me, and I pestered my mother so much ("What's THAT word? How 'bout THAT one? What's THAT?") that she taught me to read out of self-defense.

There's a lot of talk here about teaching, and some discussion on the board about the five-paragraph essay. Someone pointed out that the essay style in and of itself isn't the issue, but that students don't make the mental transition from "the teacher said five paragraphs" to WHY the teacher said five paragraphs. Either the teachers are failing to impart this information, or the students are failing to understand it, and either way it's a problem that needs to be addressed.

Similarly, I've heard many people complain that learning to diagram a sentence is pointless, but I disagree. I never diagram a sentence in my "real" life, but understanding parts of speech and how they work together is helpful - diagramming is a visual tool that lays a foundation for good writing.

tracey kelley
5.19.05 @ 2:06p

I believe it's hard to take initiative (read: care and understand it's important) for something when you haven't been taught to do so.

AT HOME.

I think all the above reasons are why we're seeing a growing increase in home-schooling. Some parents -want- to take control over how the children learn.

But there has to be some other responsibility. As a homeowner, I don't mind that 33% of my taxes are specifically designated for schools. As a property owner, I don't (necessarily) mind that my land doubled in county value to help pay for a new school.

What I mind is wondering if my return on investment has any value.

lisa r
5.19.05 @ 9:44p

Look. All of us here have one thing in common--we all have an ability to communicate in written format. It's very easy to look at someone else and say, "they would be like us if only they'd...". But not one of us here has lived in that other person's shoes.

Yes, Erik, I have a habit of using too many commas. I also used "synonym" earlier when I should have used "homonym". The commas are probably a manifestation of my brain's tendency to multi-task when I think. In the grand scheme of my daily life, "homonym" falls into the "I don't need to keep this word in active memory--I can look it up" category. I have enough science vocabulary cluttering active memory as it is without adding grammatical terms to the mix. But just to make you happy, the next time I see my high school senior English teacher I'll beg her forgiveness for my transgressions against the English language.

erik myers
5.19.05 @ 10:19p

So not my point. :)

erik myers
5.19.05 @ 10:20p

In fact, you touched on it.

"I don't need to keep this word in active memory--I can look it up" category.

That's all people need to do. That's all I ask.



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