Sunday, July 12, 2009

Well Received

The Department of Education or is that the Department of Schools, - education being viewed as a form of elitism - constantly tells us that examination standards are improving. When I left school in the dark ages of 1974, 'A' Level passes at grade 'A' were almost remarkable and I recall, how much I struggled with English Literature essays.

So, this morning, I'm surprised to see one newspaper story which tells us that research from Exeter University has discovered the 'bleedin obvious' that if 'kids don't speak and spell proper', then their prospects suffer, both in their examinations and in trying to find a job after leaving school. Apparently, thanks to the relaxed standards regime of the last decade or so, many children are writing down their words as they would speak them and it's far from any collective idea of standard or 'received' English.

Here are some examples giving concern to the examiners:

English literature A-level

"It's like, yea, Cleo is a player" – referring to Cleopatra in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

"He's always spouting off" – referring to Orsino from Twelfth Night

"So anyway, Viola's had it with Olivia and is fuming with her." question on Twelfth Night

"Hamlet is a laid back mummy's boy who needs to move on."


GCSE English

"Heani referz 2 poetri as wen humn xperiens cumz 2 life" – an essay on Seamus Heaney's poem Digging

"I was well bored."

"f*** off"

Now, I can't imagine for one moment, even being entered for an 'A' Level English examination if my vocabulary was as limited as the examples above. It's not a matter of elitism, it's one of expression and opportunity and suggests that the system is letting children down very badly indeed. After all, even the workhouse schools of the 19th century, would expect children to be able to recite their multiplication tables and have a basic command of the structure of the English Language, both written and spoken.

Finally, having watched the BBC series Torchwood, for the first time on Friday, has anyone noticed a dramatic, political or indeed social engineering connection between, Torchwood, Dr Who and East Enders? There's enough content there I believe, for a university thesis on how the BBC appears to be following a particular agenda in shaping our view of contemporary society.

2 comments:

Richard Card said...

Or "The Professionals" going back decades Simon ?

There was CI5 who could arrive and tell local plod to "Buzz off it is CI5 jurisdiction now". Then off to hold a minister to account.

Of course it was handy that a useful source of information could always be found on Doyle's former Metropolitan beat. "What are the Russians up to with a mini sub in the Thames". And sure enough there would be a whisper from Doyle's former narks.

We sat and watched ex SAS Bodie pout in his new law enforcement Czar role.

To enjoy the prog we merely had to overlook Magna Carta. "WE will appoint as Constables only those who know the law of the Realm and are minded to keep it well" ?

Not even the slightest flexibility there for a non-Crown body to stick its nose into law enforcement or admin of justice.

First CI5 did it as entertainment and now MI5 and community support officers do it in reality.

Call me Infidel said...

Both Labour and Conservatives have been responsible for a continued decline in educational standards but it seems to have accelerated under the current regime. It bothers me because in order to get the UK back into some kind of profitable shape in the future we will need a well educated workforce. The Chinese and Indians seem to have no problem churning out highly educated people and maybe we should adopt their teaching methods. As it is Britain will continue to decline with generations of unemployable people and a government obsessed with equality and diversity. Don't even get me started on the latest Harperson outrage. Minority quotas for the honours system. The sooner this shower are voted out the better.

As for the Bloshevik Broadcasting Corporation this anachronism is in dire need of root and branch reform. Their latest attempt to smear the Conservatives with 24/7 coverage of the Coulson non story shows that they have an inherent left wing bias. It is clear to me that behind the scenes a Joseph Goebbels type character is pulling their strings. Most likely it is Lord Mandlesnake. I doubt it would be popular but the Conservatives should consider making the BBC News a subscription service. If people want to pay to watch propoganda they can. Better yet introduce a bill so that in future TVs and set top boxes will have to have an encryption chip built in. This would be easy with the move to digital and then if people want to watch BBC they can pay a subscription fee.