Huh? Say what?
All of my elementary teachers certainly subscribed to the vocabulary-building theory of education, especially Mrs. Johnson in the 4th grade with her regular spell-downs even as we were lined up for dismissal or recess. Turned me into the Internet spelling fanatic that I am today!!!
Words are the building blocks of thoughts.
Great article, until he starts going off on Core Curriculum Standards.
All centrally planned, top-down curricula will ultimately be geared to the lowest common denominator. The answer is in motivated and knowledgable teachers given the autonomy to place higher expectations and motivate students and impose consequences for failure.
We are having this fight right now in Texas as C-SCOPE is being imposed on teachers despite what their knowledge and experience tells them to teach. We need to train and employ more good teachers.
He makes some excellent points, but I almost stopped reading when I saw his use of the feminine pronouns as the default near the beginning of the piece.
Strongly disagree with the idea of starting 2-year-olds in preschool unless their mothers are complete idiots. Funny, I don’t think I have ever met anyone from my Boomer cohort who went to preschool (quite a few of us did not even attend kindergarten), and my generation’s reading and writing education was in many ways far superior to that of our children’s. And the verbal abilities of later cohorts are truly abysmal.
I disagree with his idea of kids learning the meanings of words by context. When I went to Catholic school, they gave us dictionaries and expected us to use them.
To expand your vocabulary: (1) Read from the Great Books, and (2) use the dictionary on unfamiliar words (or words which seem to make no sense in the context — there might be another meaning you haven’t learned). It also helps to read the etymology of the word.
I’ve developed the habit of writing out words and conversational shortcuts that others abbreviate. (Like “et cetera”).
It makes it easier for others to read what I write, but I do it for myself.
Good habits can help you achieve your goals. Bad habits determine your destination.