Saturday, July 09, 2005

Solution to SEL

From an Objectivist. Of course.
Remember that teachers are responsible for teaching, and parents therefore have a right to demand more of the schools their children attend. Advocates of the Whole Language approach complain that parents want them to teach grammar and spelling and punctuation, and they seem to regard such demands as evidence that they are dealing with a benighted population. Be one of those benighted parents. When Johnny brings home a piece of writing on which Miss Apple has lavished her praise but not her instruction, take it to Parents' Night and ask her why Johnny is still spelling according to his own private system, doesn't know that an object of a preposition can't be the subject of a sentence, and has yet to write anything beyond a single page. And get angry when Miss Apple tells you that Johnny's self-expression and developing sense of himself as a textual producer are more important than spelling or punctuation, which are merely conventional. Bolder assaults are also possible. The students I tutor sometimes show me notes from their teachers in which the language is mishandled within an inch of its communicative life. Get in the habit of sending these notes back to the school's principal with your corrections. In other words, be obnoxious, if that's what it takes to make sure your child is being taught what he needs to learn by a person competent to teach him.

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