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TOT2: modern education, cultural differences, and Goethe



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 29th 14, 02:49 AM posted to uk.tech.digital-tv
Bill Wright[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,381
Default TOT2: modern education, cultural differences, and Goethe

1. This evening I was asked to help a secondary school pupil with his
homework. The child had consulted various sources and had produced a
reasonable bit of work. The only thing was, the standard of English was
uneven. I pointed out the worst bits and he was able to think of
improvements. But when we got further into the work I came across a
sentence that was so bad the only option was to completely re-write it.
I explained the problem and together we arrived at a far better result.
But then he looked at it and said, "Oh no, I can't put that. She'll
think I just copied it from the internet."
"Why will she think that?"
"It doesn't sound like me." So we altered it so it 'sounded like him'.
The alteration consisted of a carefully judged worsening of the sentence
structure, not to make it unintelligible, just to make it less fluent.
It now sounded as rather as if it could have been written in a circular
by a middle manager. The same problem arose a few more times.
Then we came to a section where for the life of me I couldn't think of a
way to express the point that didn't use a particular phrase, one which
I happen to know because I studied that subject years ago. The boy said,
"Better not put that, because she won't know what it means."
So it seems that the art of skilful essay writing these days is to read
up on the subject then write up your version, deliberately degrading
your English so the teacher will believe it is your original work. Also
you must bear in mind the educational standard of the teacher!
The serious point is that this child could write much better English,
but had been trained to produce stuff below his real capabilities so
that he would not be suspected of 'just copying from the internet'.
There's something fundamentally wrong with teaching methods here, I think.

2. Also this evening I learnt something about cultural differences
between ourselves and our North American cousins. I can best explain it
thus: suppose an Englishman were to visit someone's home and the
discussion turned to domestic garages and workshops. He might say, "I
have quite a big garage and a nice workshop. I'm very lucky." The North
American might well say (OK folks I'll be honest, he did damned well
say), "I gotta garage a lot bigger than the one you have here, and my
workshop is bigger than this whole house." This said without any hint of
boasting, just as a statement of fact. A bald statement of fact, and one
which I think the more empathetic British chap would most likely avoid.
He would only provide a comparison of his facilities with those of his
host if it were dragged out of him by wild horses.
Another quotation to which I have recently been exposed, this also from
a North American, was "Gee whizz, this really is a one person kitchen!"

3. What an evening it's been! At midnight I learnt how to pronounce
'Goethe'!

I wrote this mail after drinking beer, lager, and rum steadily for six
hours, so apologies for any errors, and for the rather relaxed style.

Bill
  #2  
Old December 29th 14, 08:12 AM posted to uk.tech.digital-tv
Brian Gaff[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,003
Default modern education, cultural differences, and Goethe

Nothing wrong with your writing, my posts tend to be lacking in
spellchecking as I just cannot be patient enough to sort them all out.
Maybe I'm just getting lazy. I suppose I should just think about posterity
as assuming the archives keep on growing folk will be able to read our
mumblings for many years, though why they should eludes me
In the old days letters were thrown away, and spoken word was transient.
However the generations now not only can preserve the spoken word and
images, but now the writings which would normally have ended up in the bin.
Funny old world.
As for teachers. In my view, no matter what the standard of English the
teacher may have, they should be able to spot a person whose English is
good. Not everyone can be good at English, and indeed in my day some of the
teachers admitted as much but did understand how to tell that a pupil was
trying and was potentially better than they were. A bit worrying if they are
not encouraging this now.
Brian

--
From the Sofa of Brian Gaff Reply address is active
"Bill Wright" wrote in message
...
1. This evening I was asked to help a secondary school pupil with his
homework. The child had consulted various sources and had produced a
reasonable bit of work. The only thing was, the standard of English was
uneven. I pointed out the worst bits and he was able to think of
improvements. But when we got further into the work I came across a
sentence that was so bad the only option was to completely re-write it. I
explained the problem and together we arrived at a far better result. But
then he looked at it and said, "Oh no, I can't put that. She'll think I
just copied it from the internet."
"Why will she think that?"
"It doesn't sound like me." So we altered it so it 'sounded like him'. The
alteration consisted of a carefully judged worsening of the sentence
structure, not to make it unintelligible, just to make it less fluent. It
now sounded as rather as if it could have been written in a circular by a
middle manager. The same problem arose a few more times.
Then we came to a section where for the life of me I couldn't think of a
way to express the point that didn't use a particular phrase, one which I
happen to know because I studied that subject years ago. The boy said,
"Better not put that, because she won't know what it means."
So it seems that the art of skilful essay writing these days is to read up
on the subject then write up your version, deliberately degrading your
English so the teacher will believe it is your original work. Also you
must bear in mind the educational standard of the teacher!
The serious point is that this child could write much better English, but
had been trained to produce stuff below his real capabilities so that he
would not be suspected of 'just copying from the internet'. There's
something fundamentally wrong with teaching methods here, I think.

2. Also this evening I learnt something about cultural differences between
ourselves and our North American cousins. I can best explain it thus:
suppose an Englishman were to visit someone's home and the discussion
turned to domestic garages and workshops. He might say, "I have quite a
big garage and a nice workshop. I'm very lucky." The North American might
well say (OK folks I'll be honest, he did damned well say), "I gotta
garage a lot bigger than the one you have here, and my workshop is bigger
than this whole house." This said without any hint of boasting, just as a
statement of fact. A bald statement of fact, and one which I think the
more empathetic British chap would most likely avoid. He would only
provide a comparison of his facilities with those of his host if it were
dragged out of him by wild horses.
Another quotation to which I have recently been exposed, this also from a
North American, was "Gee whizz, this really is a one person kitchen!"

3. What an evening it's been! At midnight I learnt how to pronounce
'Goethe'!

I wrote this mail after drinking beer, lager, and rum steadily for six
hours, so apologies for any errors, and for the rather relaxed style.

Bill



  #3  
Old December 29th 14, 08:16 AM posted to uk.tech.digital-tv
Woody[_5_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,799
Default modern education, cultural differences, and Goethe

"Bill Wright" wrote in message
...
1. This evening I was asked to help a secondary school
pupil with his homework. The child had consulted various
sources and had produced a reasonable bit of work. The
only thing was, the standard of English was uneven. I
pointed out the worst bits and he was able to think of
improvements. But when we got further into the work I came
across a sentence that was so bad the only option was to
completely re-write it. I explained the problem and
together we arrived at a far better result. But then he
looked at it and said, "Oh no, I can't put that. She'll
think I just copied it from the internet."
"Why will she think that?"
"It doesn't sound like me." So we altered it so it
'sounded like him'. The alteration consisted of a
carefully judged worsening of the sentence structure, not
to make it unintelligible, just to make it less fluent. It
now sounded as rather as if it could have been written in
a circular by a middle manager. The same problem arose a
few more times.
Then we came to a section where for the life of me I
couldn't think of a way to express the point that didn't
use a particular phrase, one which I happen to know
because I studied that subject years ago. The boy said,
"Better not put that, because she won't know what it
means."
So it seems that the art of skilful essay writing these
days is to read up on the subject then write up your
version, deliberately degrading your English so the
teacher will believe it is your original work. Also you
must bear in mind the educational standard of the teacher!
The serious point is that this child could write much
better English, but had been trained to produce stuff
below his real capabilities so that he would not be
suspected of 'just copying from the internet'. There's
something fundamentally wrong with teaching methods here,
I think.

2. Also this evening I learnt something about cultural
differences between ourselves and our North American
cousins. I can best explain it thus: suppose an Englishman
were to visit someone's home and the discussion turned to
domestic garages and workshops. He might say, "I have
quite a big garage and a nice workshop. I'm very lucky."
The North American might well say (OK folks I'll be
honest, he did damned well say), "I gotta garage a lot
bigger than the one you have here, and my workshop is
bigger than this whole house." This said without any hint
of boasting, just as a statement of fact. A bald statement
of fact, and one which I think the more empathetic British
chap would most likely avoid. He would only provide a
comparison of his facilities with those of his host if it
were dragged out of him by wild horses.
Another quotation to which I have recently been exposed,
this also from a North American, was "Gee whizz, this
really is a one person kitchen!"

3. What an evening it's been! At midnight I learnt how to
pronounce 'Goethe'!

I wrote this mail after drinking beer, lager, and rum
steadily for six hours, so apologies for any errors, and
for the rather relaxed style.




You should do it more often - that was a 'good read.'


--
Woody

harrogate three at ntlworld dot com


  #4  
Old December 29th 14, 09:10 AM posted to uk.tech.digital-tv
Norman Wells[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 949
Default modern education, cultural differences, and Goethe

Bill Wright wrote:

I wrote this mail after drinking beer, lager, and rum steadily for six
hours, so apologies for any errors, and for the rather relaxed style.


I think I can improve that for you, Bill:.

"I'm hammered. If you don't like it you can **** off."


  #5  
Old December 29th 14, 09:25 AM posted to uk.tech.digital-tv
Norman Wells[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 949
Default modern education, cultural differences, and Goethe

Brian Gaff wrote:
Nothing wrong with your writing, my posts tend to be lacking in
spellchecking as I just cannot be patient enough to sort them all
out. Maybe I'm just getting lazy. I suppose I should just think about
posterity as assuming the archives keep on growing folk will be able
to read our mumblings for many years, though why they should eludes me
In the old days letters were thrown away, and spoken word was
transient. However the generations now not only can preserve the
spoken word and images, but now the writings which would normally
have ended up in the bin. Funny old world.


But nobody will read our mumblings, even if they are available. In the
past, not much was keepable but, in connection with what was, someone
did all the sorting out of the worthwhile from the dross and kept just
the worthwhile, like important letters. Now everything is just a
jumble, and no-one will have the time or, I suspect, the inclination to
go through any of it. It's information overload.

And you can add most photos and videos to the digital archives of
worthless dross we've created too.

  #6  
Old December 29th 14, 09:55 AM posted to uk.tech.digital-tv
Indy Jess John
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,240
Default modern education, cultural differences, and Goethe

On 29/12/2014 09:25, Norman Wells wrote:

And you can add most photos and videos to the digital archives of
worthless dross we've created too.

Not just digital collections. A friend of mine was executor for her
godfather. Among the assets was a collection of 36,000 mounted colour
slides. Just looking through them to see what was worth keeping was a
job and a half.

Jim


  #7  
Old December 29th 14, 04:04 PM posted to uk.tech.digital-tv
Bill Wright[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,381
Default modern education, cultural differences, and Goethe

Woody wrote:

I wrote this mail after drinking beer, lager, and rum
steadily for six hours, so apologies for any errors, and
for the rather relaxed style.



You should do it more often - that was a 'good read.'


Thank you.

Bill
  #8  
Old December 29th 14, 04:04 PM posted to uk.tech.digital-tv
Bill Wright[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,381
Default modern education, cultural differences, and Goethe

Norman Wells wrote:
Bill Wright wrote:

I wrote this mail after drinking beer, lager, and rum steadily for six
hours, so apologies for any errors, and for the rather relaxed style.


I think I can improve that for you, Bill:.

"I'm hammered. If you don't like it you can **** off."


I wish I'd thought of that.

Bill
  #9  
Old December 29th 14, 10:53 PM posted to uk.tech.digital-tv
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 204
Default modern education, cultural differences, and Goethe

On Monday, December 29, 2014 9:55:37 AM UTC, Indy Jess John wrote:
Not just digital collections. A friend of mine was executor for her
godfather. Among the assets was a collection of 36,000 mounted colour
slides. Just looking through them to see what was worth keeping was a
job and a half.


My mother was in a similar position.

She realised that the notebook she'd thrown away 6 months before was, in fact, the index to the whole collection.

Owain

  #10  
Old December 31st 14, 06:06 PM posted to uk.tech.digital-tv
Another John
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 61
Default TOT2: modern education, cultural differences, and Goethe

In article ,
Bill Wright wrote:

....
So it seems that the art of skilful essay writing these days is to read
up on the subject then write up your version, deliberately degrading
your English **so the teacher will believe it is your original work**.


Errrrmmmmm -- am I missing something?

He read up on it, OK.
He wrote his stuff, OK
He then asked his Grandpa(?) to help him, and Grandpa carefully goes
through it all, improving it... to the point where it looks like
someone else (perhaps Wikipedia) wrote it. Surely at this point your
argument breaks down? It's NOT his original work!

Not that he is alone: I'm sure many, many parents and grandparents help
their kids to do their homework, thus upsetting the natural balance of
grading in class.[1]

OTOH, it can be argued that helping kids do their homework is genuinely
improving their understanding and their self-expression, and is an
excellent form of tutoring.

Don't answer until you're ****ed again Bill.

John

[1] My own two sons were NEVER helped with their homework: one refused
all help and preferred to do 'all his own work' (much to our relief);
the other, mysteriously, never seemed to have any homework - claimed
he'd done it all already. (We should have pushed the latter much harder
to show us: he was the one that could have done with parental tutoring,
but I ****ed up any chance of this by being far too overcritical, early
in his career: if only I'd known better :-{)
 




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