An English Enthusiasts’ Lament

A linguist wakes from a terrible nightmare. In her dream she finds herself in a society where English education has been made mandatory. Educators, school systems, and the state are put in charge of this vital project. Studies are commissioned, committees are formed, and decisions are made- all without the advice or participation of a single working Linguist or English expert.

Since Linguists are known to use an array of words this must constitute the “language of English.” It is imperative that students become fluent in how to use an array of words if they are to attain any degree of Linguistic competence; indeed, it would be ludicrous to expect a child to write a high class essay without having a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of writing and spelling.

In their wisdom, educators soon realise that even very young children can be given this kind of English instruction. In fact it is considered quite shameful if a student cannot construct a paragraph by third-grade. “I’ll have to get my child an English tutor. He simply won’t apply himself to his English homework. He says its boring. He just sits there staring out the window, making up silly stories.” (Hmm…how many talented writers can relate to this one!)

Waking up in a cold sweat, the Linguist realises, gratefully, that it was all just a crazy dream. “Of course!” she reassures herself, “No society would ever reduce such a beautiful and meaningful art form to something so mindless and trivial to just focus on perfect writing with no expression or heart; no culture could be so cruel to its children as to deprive them of such a natural, satisfying means of human expression. How absurd!”

We need to show children that writing is a natural means of expressing feelings and creativity. Yes.. we need structure and all— but realistically the best pieces of literature I have read come from the heart actually lacking grammar and an extensive array of words!

I certainly will be encouraging creative writing in my classroom!


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