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(Boston Globe)   "Students today cannot write a complete sentence," says Professor Rochester from the University of   ( divider line
    More: Obvious  
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12390 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 May 2003 at 11:38 AM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

319 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-05-27 10:57:57 AM  
Lame headline. But in a good way.
2003-05-27 11:40:58 AM  
It may have gotten worse, but it was the same way when i gradiated high school in 1985...
2003-05-27 11:41:03 AM  
2003-05-27 11:41:03 AM  
2003-05-27 11:41:51 AM  
Reading Rainbow to the rescue of all students who
2003-05-27 11:42:21 AM  
I don't get
2003-05-27 11:42:37 AM  
It's because they're stoned. "Dude and then he started to pull the sign out of the...what was I saying? shiat dude."
2003-05-27 11:43:15 AM  
They are too busy hazing the juniors to care.
2003-05-27 11:43:27 AM  
Thanks to my technical writing class in college I am a real smart writer.
2003-05-27 11:43:32 AM  
And don't even get this professor started about when he visits Fark and sees how people cannot understand what the proper use of "irony" is...
2003-05-27 11:43:39 AM  
Don't believe every thing you
2003-05-27 11:43:48 AM  
[image from too old to be available]
2003-05-27 11:43:52 AM  
Big deal, someone has to mop the floors and drive the taxis in this world.
2003-05-27 11:44:04 AM  
ah Galt.. umm nevermind. I had something to say, but I'm too damn
2003-05-27 11:44:24 AM  
What do you mean I can't write a complete
2003-05-27 11:44:53 AM  
Good headline.
2003-05-27 11:46:11 AM  
Professor did his research in Fark forums.
2003-05-27 11:46:18 AM  
One of my best friends teaches composition for freshmen, and he says most of the kids are totally dumb and lazy. Yeah, they are the product of a shoddy educational system, blah blah blah, but he tries to get them to improve and they don't want to. Most of them see no problem with being bad writers, but when they get their grades they start to cry and beg for a better grade. Mind you, these kids are not from impoverished inner-city schools...they are all pampered rich brats.
2003-05-27 11:46:35 AM  
I agree with what this professor is saying because I have a lot of friends who cannot write complete sentences and I think it has something to do with the educational system which is why I'm going to register to vote except that I can't today because I have to get my gums scraped.
2003-05-27 11:47:01 AM  
The world needs ditch-diggers,too, Danny.

/Judge S.
2003-05-27 11:48:00 AM  
Hey, I need closure on that anectdote!
2003-05-27 11:48:08 AM  
You would be dismayed to hear how English grammar is butchered by the middle school students I interact with each day.

The school is in a poor neighborhood. Now I know why people from poor neighborhoods never seem to be able to escape: Their education is so weak that no employers will want to hire them.
2003-05-27 11:49:28 AM  
So the kids coming up these days are not nearly as smart, but they are ruder and more ruthless.
2003-05-27 11:49:29 AM  
Yes, they'll all become leaders of industry in the 'Ya want fries with that' sector.

Please weep for the future.
2003-05-27 11:50:08 AM  
people still write?
2003-05-27 11:50:14 AM  
Of course no one coming out of high school knows how to write. The last thing we'd want to do is offend students by subjecting them to a vicious tyranny of standards such as mandatory writing skills. Besides, they can always sue for their college degree when their professors try to fail them.
2003-05-27 11:50:45 AM  
Can I axe you a kess-chun?
2003-05-27 11:51:15 AM  
Well said, DickieCrickets.
2003-05-27 11:51:21 AM  
I think that the dismal percentage of posters who actually bothered to read the article is indicative of why things are bad for our education system.
2003-05-27 11:51:43 AM  
The teacher said she did not want to read more than 1 typed pg cuz it took too long. So an honors and AP student had only learned 5 paragraph themes. No wonder colleges teach so much remedial!!! yes, this is a world of text msgs and e-mail, but we still have resumes and reports and even parent letters to complain to the school...
/even MORE thankful my kids are privately edumacated!!(smile
2003-05-27 11:52:06 AM  
Reminds me of that stand up comedian who compared letters sent home from wars:

Civil War: Dearest Marie, this frosty morning finds me wracked by the fiery pangs of your absence, etc..

Gulf War: Dear Mary, it is farking hot fighting the sand monkeys, don't fark nobody till I get back.
2003-05-27 11:52:10 AM  
Still, it seems like the teachers could be doing things to combat this. I had a couple in HS who constantly came up with creative writing assignments that the nerds in the class would be VERY unlikely to be able to cheat on. Not to mention, if it's on the Internet, it's on Google. You could probably test the honesty of most papers by Googling a line from it - especially if it's a line you don't think the student would have written by himself.
2003-05-27 11:53:06 AM  
Most people are idiots. Just take a trip to your local multiplex or Walmart to confirm.
2003-05-27 11:53:17 AM  
I taught writing this past year to freshman.

Many of them did not have college-level writing skills, but there's virtually nothing you can do to "fix" them in one semester. I tried, and some improved. But overall, many slipped through with C and C -'s when they still have a lot of work to do.

I still think the complaints about a lack of writing skills are overstated a bit.
2003-05-27 11:54:59 AM  
Man, she's valedictorian and she's only wrote a single 3 page research paper? And she's enrolled in AP classes?
2003-05-27 11:56:47 AM  
Yeah, but when people elect a president who says "misunderestimate," it's obvious that nobody cares about English anymore.
2003-05-27 11:58:09 AM  

Good point.

And with the tax cut and enormous deficits, no one cares about basic math either.

It's amazing--everything can be turned into a political flamewar. Gotta love it.
2003-05-27 11:58:31 AM  
Who are these people kidding? Most college educated adults these days can't write a coherent sentence.
2003-05-27 11:58:40 AM  
Written on my door message board in my upperclassman dorm last week: "Brett, Your hot. Love, ?"

I need to start setting booby traps around here. The more I interact with college students the more I think my degree will mean nothing.
2003-05-27 11:58:48 AM  
05-27-03 11:52:10 AM WizardX You could probably test the honesty of most papers by Googling a line from it - especially if it's a line you don't think the student would have written by himself.

There's actually a website that teachers can go to that does this. If I remember correctly there was a high school teacher who caught a bunch of students by using this method, and then got sued by all of them for failing them out of the class. They won too If I remember correctly. I wish I had the link to the articles handy.

Amazing world we live in, no?
2003-05-27 11:59:13 AM  
Dawn Damron, cochairwoman of the English department at Chino High, said most teachers concentrate on making sure students can ''coherently write a five-paragraph essay,'' because that is the type of writing that students must complete on timed standardized tests.

This article seems to be little more than a thinly vieled excuse to gripe about the drawbacks of standardised testing. I don't like the standard tests either, but that's no excuse for the ape-like grammar skills of today's highschool students. My own experience tells me teachers are the main problem. Very few of my English teachers attempted to teach anything resembling the English language.

My favorite "English" teacher was a fellow who had previousy been employed as an entertainment scheduler aboard Carnival cruise ships. He succeeded in avoiding the subject of English for an entire academic year.
2003-05-27 11:59:37 AM  
I love giving a grammar quiz on the first day of class. Looks something like this:

Name one noun:
Name one verb:
What do you need to make a complete sentence:

I have to stop giving them though, because it's giving me migraines when only 5 out of 23 pass. I'm just going to assume they're grammatical morons and go from there. *sigh*

This article really didn't tell me anything new.
2003-05-27 11:59:48 AM  
Can't use google to catch plagiarism that isn't on the web---ie, papers borrowed from friends or frats.
2003-05-27 12:02:16 PM  
Students can't write, Mr. Teacher? Here's a thought - TEACH THEM TO DO IT! Actually earning your summer vacation from the other side of the big desk is a little rough.


2003-05-27 12:03:11 PM  
I hope this trend continues, as it makes my mad writing skillz more marketable.
2003-05-27 12:04:23 PM  
The circle of life:

Cutbacks to school programs by vote-grubbing asshat politicians with their "lower taxes" mantra prevent some of the litercacy-challenged individuals from getting the help they need to get over the hump.

Someone gets outrged, like this prof, and writes a stinging letter to the local paper.

...The politicians read these articles, lick thier chops and say VOTES! The pols then promise to solve this problem if they get elected. They bring in those "standardized tests" as a cure all. John Q public falls for it hook, line & sinker and votes the asshats in.

Teachers want to keep their jobs. If too many students in their classes fail the tests, the teacher's performance looks bad, so he teaches his kids simply t pass the test, at the expense of the rest of the curriculum.

Everyone's happy for a while. Fat-forward 10 years. Someone noticies the kids really aren't learning anything usefull, and, the "standardized tests" gets the blame, plus the tests are expensive to administer! More outraged editorials ensue.

Policians see this, and come up with the solution to eliminate these tests. The voting public then falls for it again and asshat politician gets back in. Money gets voted to schools to educate the kids properly.

Another 5 years later: Politician seeks an "angle" for re-election and proposes less taxes by cutting school funding...
Someone writes an editorial that kids are illiterate...

And the circle of life continues...the universe is unfolding as it should...

/been on this planet too long
2003-05-27 12:04:59 PM  

Teaching writing isn't so simple. You can't just teach students grammar for 10 weeks and expect them to write polished, sustained arguments. There's a lot involved, including development, use of evidence, research, etc. and from my perspective there just isn't time to do it all in one semester.

More writing in every class a student takes is the best way for them to improve---practice works wonders, especially at a young age.
2003-05-27 12:05:06 PM  
Dear Professor,

Start giving failing grades to papers that you can't read.

Thank you.

/Problem solved
2003-05-27 12:05:23 PM  
I had an evaluation once were a student wrote:

"Sams an excellent teacher. I learned so much about righting from her. I right one hundred per cent better cause of her. Shes nice to. I think shes someone I can kick back and have a bear with."

I could hear the chair of the department laughing all the way down the hall.
2003-05-27 12:05:51 PM  
Good news for the folks who can.
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