10 thoughts on “What do you call more than one curriculum?

  1. Andrew,

    Should gaol be spelt correctly (gaol) or incorrectly (jail)?Should we use the correct definition of one billion (one million million) or the incorrect definition (one thousand million)? Should we spell labour, colour, valour, honour and the like correctly (with the u) or incorrectly (without the u)? I have signalled my own preferences by my choice of correct and incorrect labels in the above. I suspect I have a preference for archaic forms of English!!!

    Regards,

    Damien.

    Like

  2. Damien – You are on the losing side in gaol/jail, and on billion – all major institutions and newspapers have now standardised on thousand million. I think on billion now-eccentric definitions should be stamped out, since obviously such a usage could seriously mislead readers.

    Usage is still mixed on the other words. Pam Peters suggests ‘or’ when that’s what we would used in derived words, eg it is colorful, not colourful, and therefore she prefers color. But I tend to use ‘ou’, and I think there is a particular case for it on ‘labour’, where it helps distinguish it from the Labor Party.

    Like

  3. Proves the point doesn’t it. This, however, is a diversion. The issue is that primary and secondary education standards have fallen, not that the minister has a technically orientated speech writer. Given the malign neglect the feds practice in respect to tertiary education, I’m not convinced they’d be any better at the school level.

    Like

  4. Correct usage elsewhere suggests that Bishop/her speechwriter did know the difference (as I did when I wrote my wrongly-worded post) but wrote the wrong word and did not notice on re-reading, because we tend to ‘see’ what we think should be there.

    While I believe that English-language skills are not as well taught as in the past, the standard should not be the past, but the future. The critical point is that too many students do not acquire the literacy levels needed for the jobs they aspire to hold.

    Like

  5. I’m inclined to agree with most of what you said. But I’m sure what ‘the standard should not be the past, but the future’ means. Does it really matter if we spell “jail” not “gaol”? (I was taught, the former, at school as being the correct spelling.) Probably not. But I have had to tell students that SMS is not appropriate for any written work, including exams.

    Like

  6. Andrew,

    I suspect you are right in terms of what I “should” use for gaol and billion. Language is, after all, a communications tool. Nonetheless, I still prefer the archaic versions!!! Another area in which I prefer the archaic version of English is on the plural for words that end in x. Examples include: one matrix and multiple matrices, one appendix and multiple appendices. I suspect that this is based on latin (I think I may have either read or heard thast somewhere), although I could be wrong. There appears to be a trend towards using matrixes and appendixes, which simply do not sound as nice!!!

    Regards,

    Damien.

    Like

  7. I’d be more worried that she wants to turn curricula into dogma. More to the point, if schooling 25 years ago failed to teach Ms. Bishop properly, where is the evidence that it’s now worse? Law professors complaining about the english skills of their students reflect far more on the strange language that lawyers use rather than the rest of us.

    If you want to see the last bastion of archaic english usage, look no further than a legal document. I would suggest it is the legal profession that is out of step rather than schools.

    Like

  8. I have wondered whether the need for remedial English language classes at universities (if true, rather than just a politically convenient generalisation from a few isolated cases; and if aimed at Australian-educated students, rather than foreign students) might reflect the much larger participation in universities rather than a failing secondary curriculum.
    Put simply, when fewer people went to university, and were drawn almost exclusively from the upper academic echelons of high schools, you’d expect a higer literacy rate than now, when universities have opened their doors.
    NB: This isn’t a criticism of the massification of higher education.

    Like

  9. Hans – That might be some of it, but I am convinced that there has been a real and signficant decline over the last 15 years. I see errors from students at ‘sandstone’ universities, such as not knowing how to create simple plurals correctly, that I never used to see among the military cadets I taught in the early 1990s – and they were not selected primarily for their academic ability.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s