Friday, 4 March 2011

Out of the mouth of babes...

So yesterday I had driven to Bristol to go into a school to carry out two focus groups for work. En route home I had to go via Okehampton to pick up my daughter and her grandmother to bring them to Plymouth where her mum was showing in an art show.

Anyway, the discussion in the front of the car turned to China and the TEFL course I had registered on. In an earlier blog I had mentioned that I was a bit worried that I didn't really know much about grammar and I said in the blog that I couldn't actually remember being taught grammar at school.

I had mentioned this to the head of science at the school I was at over a cup of tea in the staff room earlier that day. He told me that he had had the same experience and in the 1960's teaching grammar was out of fashion. He said that it had driven his mum barmy and she had been constantly on at his school about it.

So that had solved the mystery of my lack of knowledge about grammar. I was thinking that either the school was crap or I had been spectacularly dim. It was strange because I could remember being good at English, especially with my writing, being told I had a 'good imagination' (and that's what comes of being a reader I believe). (I guess my parents were not that bothered)

So with that mystery solved I was recounting the story to grandmum who was sitting in the front of the car with me. The story then moved on to discussing bits of grammar like nouns, verbs etc. I mentioned that I didn't know much about them and in fact had only just found out about things like the past participle and the gerund.

Then out of the back of the car came. 'Daddy are you talking about a 'gerund'?' she's says correcting my pronunciation of the word. I say 'yes' in a surprised manner. Daughter then goes on to explain to the amazed adults in the front of the car what a gerund is and how it is used.

Daughter is 12.

Who says British education is crap?

1 comment:

  1. A word of encouragement from a teacher, useful indeed! I was taught grammar at school, but this was in the early sixties. I guess later in the sixties it was the effect of the new Wilson Labour administration: enter stage right a host of new wave academic educationalists, who clearly deemed it unfashionable to learn the structure of a language, that just speaking it was sufficient; perhaps they forgot that we still have to write it down from time to time!