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Thursday, January 8, 2015

A study of more than 200 secondary teaching undergraduates identified high rates of error in general spelling.

When I read articles like the following, and the main group mentioned is the Union, it does make me wonder what the motivation behind the article is.

No teacher will be perfect and in fact no professional is always one hundred per cent correct. My own experience with teachers is they're generally pretty good. With my child's teachers when I asked two teachers from the same year level for the spelling of a word, they used different spelling variations. I thought that could be better. I also asked the English coordinator whether it should be likes and dislikes or like's and dislikes. The answer to me is now obvious, but at the time I struggled with some apostrophe usage. My problem is I often see both forms used which can lead people to use the wrong form or doubt themselves. The answer I received was, "they'd have to ask their partner as they were better than them at that type of thing". Not particularly good for mid-level secondary school.

Even then I still consider this type of issue to be relatively minor. As long as people try to continuously improve their level of skill, in time their knowledge, experience and expertise will exceed all but the most talented students.

Let's be fair. I've watched my skills improve in certain areas over time and I believe that is true for most people. Obviously those who don't meet a minimum acceptable standard for their subject area may need to think again about their choice of occupation if it will impact others they're there to help.

The one thing I do miss that I believe should be provided in online articles, is a link to the actual research. The media tends to exaggerate for a better story and often research articles get published to help the profile of the researcher. Ultimately however a lot of effort goes into the research and most academics I feel try to genuinely provide balanced information. Access to the raw research rather than just snippets of information to grab media attention would be welcome and appreciated.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

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