Judith Wheeldon has aptly produced as fine a piece of writing you’re likely to find in any newspaper to hail officialdom’s belated recommitment to literacy in schools.
For 40 years we have cruelly turned aside from the needs of children wanting to master our complex, subtle and wonderful language and refused to teach them the skills to understand how English works. Without this understanding, their use of English is condemned to remain far below their potential.
It is as if we taught mathematics without the tools of addition and subtraction, without times tables and an explanation of fractions, but still expected to get good mathematical thinking, analysis and problem-solving from our young people.
Challenges loom, though. We need to find personnel and programs to get teachers literate. And we should find, identify and, if necessary get rid of, the ideologically driven idiots who brought about this situation in the first place.
This person could perhaps provide a hint:
“We are looking at a whole range of technical things and it doesn’t have soul,” Anne Feehan, principal of Melbourne’s Camberwell Girls’ Grammar, told The Weekend Australian yesterday.
“Relationships are at the heart of good teaching and it is at the heart of excellent schools, and until they get the relationships right a technical solution isn’t going to be engaging for the teaching staff who have to deliver it. Teachers need to see how the child is at the centre of the curriculum, not the content.”
“. . . doesn’t have soul”? Fergawdzakes!
It’s a worry when the head of a school – a school that, by the way, charges tens of thousands a year in fees – never learns. Guess that’s where you’ll find the next crop of doctors’ wives.