We are on the verge of raising a generation that can't spell or do simple math


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Profile Bob DeWoody
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Message 1309075 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 1:46:57 UTC

And computers are pretty much to blame. It's one thing to use computers as a tool to do our work and provide a communications link to the rest of the world but it seems to me that the current school generation is depending so much on computers that they wouldn't be able to function without them. Example, a cashier at a store can't make change if the cash register fails or the power goes out. Young people can't spell without a spell checker to clean up their mistakes and most do not even bother. There is now speech recognition software that not only spells for a student but also modifies composition to correct syntax errors.

OK, the really smart students probably learn the basics well enough to function without the help of all our electronic devices but I sure pity the rest when the power goes out and the last battery dies.
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Message 1309076 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 1:54:02 UTC - in response to Message 1309075.

I think you are probably right about the ability to write a comprehensive item, be that a letter or report etc.

But as a one time instructor of electronics, which in the main part I gave up in the mid 90's. I would say we are already into the second generation that cannot do simple arithmetic without a calculator or computer.

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Message 1309080 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 2:03:03 UTC - in response to Message 1309076.

I would say we are already into the second generation that cannot do simple arithmetic without a calculator or computer.

+1;
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Profile Chris SProject donor
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Message 1309176 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 9:03:44 UTC

Bob, you are 100% right.
WK you are 100% right.

We all know there is a problem, and what it is. The burning question is what do we do about it? Commerce and industry are fighting back by many firms not employing school leavers, until they have had a t least 1 or 2 years at an FE College. But that disadvantages those who can't or won't go to College, and puts extra strain on the FE sector.

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Message 1309195 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 9:47:07 UTC - in response to Message 1309176.

Bob, you are 100% right.
WK you are 100% right.

We all know there is a problem, and what it is. The burning question is what do we do about it? Commerce and industry are fighting back by many firms not employing school leavers, until they have had a t least 1 or 2 years at an FE College. But that disadvantages those who can't or won't go to College, and puts extra strain on the FE sector.


The problems with maths, I am personally convinced, need to be sorted out a long time before the students reach 16 years.

Unfortunately I don't think the teachers necessarily have the correct skills in the students early years to rectify this problem. The DfE is to toughen the basic skills required by teachers, but the new tests haven't been posted yet and they have taken down the old tests.

Department for Education - Expert panel to toughen up tests for trainee teachers

My niece first told me about these tests when she decided to be a teacher, was a bit shocked when I said they were easy and that I thought the Maths test "was an insult to intelligence".

And I guess that the required levels in the US are no higher as she now teaaches in Flagstaff, AZ.

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Message 1309202 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 10:10:53 UTC

One problem:
The confusion between Mathematics and Arithmetic.

Arithmetic is the application of Mathematics to solve simple numeric problems, like working out the change from a shopping bill (I was going to say how to divide up a restaurant bill, but that involves philosophy and diplomacy as well...)

Taught properly arithmetic is very easy, the rules are simple to follow, and always apply.


Mathematics is a whole science, the manipulation of abstract ideas, concepts and devices to arrive at a means of solving a problem, which in itself may be an abstract or a real scenario.

How many children cannot perform simple arithmetic exercises such as multiplying two numbers, each less than 12, without recourse to a calculator of some form or other?

And how many children learnt by rote that arithmetic is hard by a "well meaning" adult?
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Profile Chris SProject donor
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Message 1309216 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 11:19:16 UTC
Last modified: 23 Nov 2012, 11:35:15 UTC

Do you want to know one good reason why I gave up on all this a few years ago, and just walked away?

College lessons were entitled "Application of Number". When I said what on earth did that mean, I was told that "we daren't call it maths any more, else the students will be totally turned off, and won't come to classes". I'm 100% serious, you couldn't make it up. Want some proof?

Application of Number

A generation ago at least, people naturally took it for granted that a school leaver could do basic maths and arithmetic. Not these days folks, lt's a "Key Skill" that you get a certificate in! I'm sure if I look hard enough there is probably a certificate in the "Key Skill" of signing your name in joined up writing.

Now then, pay attention at the back there, the best is yet to come. You can get a qualification for getting on and off a bus!!! Don't believe it?

PUblic transport

AQA nonsense

And people wonder why education in the UK has gone down the pan .....

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Message 1309229 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 12:09:36 UTC - in response to Message 1309216.

Sweet Jesus! If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe it! & the course takes 10 hours?

Next on the agenda will be a course taking 20 hours on how to wipe one's butt!
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Message 1309255 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 14:07:10 UTC

From the AQA Nonsense link

Course 81931
Using a Locker In A Public Sports Facility
1) Select the correct coin
2) Insert the coin and open the locker door
3) Place his/her belongings inside
4) Lock the door and remove the key
5) Return to the locker and remove belongings

If courses like this were for disabled kids I could understand but this appears in their general course list.

Have a look at the rest of their site. It's scary

T.A.

Profile Bob DeWoody
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Message 1309348 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 18:42:06 UTC

I started to title this thread "We are raising a generation of idiots and morons" but I was afraid it might be taken as too offensive. Now I don't know.
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Message 1309354 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 18:48:17 UTC - in response to Message 1309348.

I started to title this thread "We are raising a generation of idiots and morons" but I was afraid it might be taken as too offensive. Now I don't know.

And they are going to expect a paycheck because they are entitled to one.

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Message 1309389 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 19:15:29 UTC - in response to Message 1309076.

I think you are probably right about the ability to write a comprehensive item, be that a letter or report etc.

But as a one time instructor of electronics, which in the main part I gave up in the mid 90's. I would say we are already into the second generation that cannot do simple arithmetic without a calculator or computer.

I came into this thread to say basically the same thing...

You are a little late Bob, even my generation is full of those people.
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Message 1309392 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 19:17:07 UTC - in response to Message 1309176.

Bob, you are 100% right.
WK you are 100% right.

We all know there is a problem, and what it is. The burning question is what do we do about it? Commerce and industry are fighting back by many firms not employing school leavers, until they have had a t least 1 or 2 years at an FE College. But that disadvantages those who can't or won't go to College, and puts extra strain on the FE sector.


Strict parents and strict schools. No more coddling. Spankings and smacking of hands by teachers when necessary.



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Message 1309408 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 19:33:43 UTC - in response to Message 1309392.
Last modified: 21 Mar 2014, 18:20:29 UTC

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Message 1309423 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 19:50:49 UTC

I couldn't agree more Bob and it's very discouraging to me.

I lecture at high schools and colleges every year about Disabilties, Discrimination & Tolerance.

At the end of my lectures, I give the students an assignment to write (preferably type) a one-page review of what they got out of my lecture. It helps me to make sure my message is coming across clearly and I hope it helps the material sink on them a bit.

Half of them are filled with smiley faces, 0's and x's and the spelling is ABSOLUTELY ABOMINABLE.
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Message 1309467 - Posted: 23 Nov 2012, 21:32:27 UTC - in response to Message 1309229.

Sweet Jesus! If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe it! & the course takes 10 hours?

Next on the agenda will be a course taking 20 hours on how to wipe one's butt!

I know for a fact some folks where I work must have failed that part.
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Message 1309630 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 7:05:40 UTC - in response to Message 1309348.

I started to title this thread "We are raising a generation of idiots and morons" but I was afraid it might be taken as too offensive. Now I don't know.

Going by some of the recent news items, I think your original title might have been more accurate.

Ofsted: teachers packing lessons with 'bite-sized' exercises
Pupils risk suffering “death by a thousand worksheets” as poor-performing teachers attempt to fill their lessons with boring exercises, according to the head of Ofsted.


Summer-born children 'struggling with maths'
I'm one of those, I didn't struggle with maths, but the teachers failed to recognise, until the final exam results came out, that I was probably the best. But by that time had not recommended me for higher things.

Maybe this and a previous report August babies are less likely to go on to top universities, says study things will change.

And maybe they might start looking seriously at the quality of the teachers. Bad teachers can cost pupils 'half a GCSE'

So should we leave education to the teachers and the politicians. Because if the child comes from a poor family, is born at the wrong time of year and is lumbered with poor teachers. They are screwed.

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Message 1309639 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 7:27:04 UTC

Well that's nailed the debate on numeracy, but what about the written language?
Blurf's comments about the completion of his course feedback form rings so many bells.
Laying aside the American miss-spellings of English words there are a few things that really are down to poor teaching, I'll start with one of the worst.

The use of the wrong word pronounced "ther" or "thair".
There are three major words, each with a very different meaning:
First "THERE": adverb
1. in or at that place ( opposed to here): She is there now.
2. at that point in an action, speech, etc.: He stopped there for applause.
3. in that matter, particular, or respect: His anger was justified there.
4. into or to that place; thither: We went there last year.
5. (used by way of calling attention to something or someone): There they go.

Second "THEIR": pronoun
1.a form of the possessive case of they used as an attributive adjective, before a noun: their home; their rights as citizens; their departure for Rome.
2.(used after an indefinite singular antecedent in place of the definite masculine form his or the definite feminine form her ): Someone left their book on the table. Did everyone bring their lunch?

And finally "THEY'RE": Contraction of "They are".


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Message 1309671 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 9:54:03 UTC

There can be three main reasons in the UK why adults cannot spell adequately.

1. As an experiment during the 1970's, kids were taught to spell phonetically. It was argued by educational psychologists that they learnt far more quickly to communicate, and that they could tidy up the spelling later. It didn't work and we have a whole generation that can't, and never will, be able to spell correctly.

2. We have a significant proportion of the population where English isn't their first language.

3. A combination of poor teaching, laziness, and shorthand texting.

There are probably many others.

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Message 1309738 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 12:04:53 UTC - in response to Message 1309671.

Phonics, it appears, is still the prime way to teach reading it seems. And is coming under increasing criticism Teachers' unions urge rethink of phonics checks.

The people who insist on this method being taught, it spite of much evidence to the contary, really ought to be locked away.

Studies over a long time have shown that phonics is only part of the equation, and that word recognition, spelling and comprehension all need to be taught at the same time with writing.

A starting place might be to read this 1998 Research http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/000000488.htm which mentions a news report in 1990. (Thanks to my niece Sarah, for this, and about 200 other articles she said it would be good to read on the subject.)

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