It is so nice to read you!!
Imho, I am glad if the education ministry is trying to address the problem of lack of grammar knowledge in England. DS has been through the primary school system here and, concerning that aspect, I have to say it has been a disaster that I have still not yet addressed.
Does he know that there are different kinds of conditionals? No, he doesn’t. He roughly knows about the second conditional, as for the fourth and fifth, argh... When he will be over his teenagers’ years and be a bit more receptive, I hope to show him that he has still a lot to learn…. things that sadly he would have never learnt at school.
When I arrived many moons ago in the UK, completely ignorant of the lack of grammatical education in British schools, I had a class of adults at intermediate level. I had to teach them the French passé composé. Well, unfortunately or not, I am a ‘purist’, so here I went, full of joy
, teaching first a lesson about the passé composé with verb ‘avoir’, then the following week, a lesson with passé composé with verb ‘être’… and at last, to teach them the agreement of the past participle with the preceding direct object, I introduced my learners to this poem by Jacques Prévert:http://blogs.transparent.com/french/lea ... s-prevert/
In term of planning, I thought that I was alright, that my scheme of work was progressive and I did not anticipate any problems as I never had any when I taught these concepts to school children in another country before. However, to my biggest astonishment
, I did meet some problems as one or two of these adults could not grasp the difference between a subject, a verb, a direct object ….
I was really not expecting this!
And I had learnt to say ‘a doing verb’, and other simplifications!
But I was a ‘green’, you see.
I had arrived in the UK in August and was starting to teach the next month, having yet no cultural understanding of the situation whatsoever.
When I shared the cause of my astonishment with my head of department, he was not surprised at all and even said that he does not bother too much if his students are not able to grasp the subtleties of the French grammar, knowing these agreements is not really important for them. It is true that most of my student learnt French just for pleasure and to go to France, not to sit examinations.
I have left teaching many years ago to take care of my DS’s eleven + and his transition into secondary school. If I do go back to teaching one day (I have a medical background, so I have to explore also these career routes)
, I wonder what I will do when teaching the passé composé:
- If I teach in secondary schools, no problem, my expectations will be high because of the examinations my pupils will have to sit.
- But if it is in an adult centre, maybe I will have to recognise the learners who wish to master French grammar from the others who just learn this language for fun and their holidays in France. I honestly do not know and in fact, it will depend of the students in my class!
Therefore, I am rather glad that the actual government aims to raise the standards.
When my American friend came to Leeds for a semester as part of a degree in English some 30 years ago, she was flabbergasted to realise that what American children learn in good secondary schools in her State in term of grammar was being taught in the UK at university level.
There is definitely a problem, which needs to be addressed!
I am fully aware many people will oppose my views… I am going to ponder on this quote by Winston Churchill:You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
PS: I haven’t looked at the issues in the test papers that Michael Rosen (whose poetry I appreciate very much)
has raised. If such issues exist (and I believe him!
), that means that the test papers did not receive enough thoughts when they were written and this problem needs to be addressed too!
PS2: forgive me my misuse of Standard English!
and any typo