Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The New College Student

I ran across this story in the Baltimore Examiner last night. It discussed "The Sad, Sad State of College English." The story talks about a retired community college English teacher who, over the years, collected sentences written by her students. These sentences show that high school students are graduating from school unable to write a basic sentence or spell simple words. Some of them show a complete lack of historical awareness or ability to think clearly. Here's a few of my favorite examples:

It’s good I’m doing something with my self; Therefore, I can do better in the foochure.

I flought to Chicago.

Benjamin Franklin discovered America while fling a kite.

Jogging on a woman’s ovaries can be dangerous to her health.

My brother and I took a fairy across to Martha’s Vineyard.

Christopher Columbus sailed all over the world until he found Ohio.

According to the teacher who collected these sentences this problem, which has gotten worse over the years, is caused by a lack of reading. Reading, he says, exposes you to language used correctly, to vocabulary greater than your own, and allows you to slow down and think about what is being said. Students struggle with reading and don't like to read. The result is young adults who can't write a coherent sentence or express themselves clearly. Their language is limited to slang and colloquialisms.

Further, this inability to use language properly is not found across all student populations. The article states that adult students are willing to put in the work necessary because they understand what it takes to succeed and are willing to put in the effort. International students are also willing to work very hard to succeed.

What does this mean for us? We cannot compete in the world market if the majority of our students graduating from high school cannot think clearly or articulate themselves. Something has to change.

Fortunately, some parents are beginning to make the changes necessary. As more and more students are pulled out or kept out of our public school system, more and more students are being taught to read well and write clearly. However, it isn't enough to help just the small percentage of students who are homeschooled, something has to change to improve the outcomes of public school, as well. When will the American public finally rise up, demand better results, and be willing to support solutions that will work?

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Suswan said...

I gotta say, if any fool tried jogging on MY ovaries it would be bad for THEIR health! ;-)