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Weblogs in high school english?

By Talez in Culture
Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 06:40:10 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

It's often been said to me that communication is one skill that many people lack or are poor in. Why not use a weblog in high school english classes?

I admit it. I can't spell well, I have a poor grasp of grammar and my ability to construct sentences is nearly non-existant.

I didn't do well in my final year english class. It was all analytical and generally boring as watching bat shit dry on a wall. While I don't think that analytical english in general is bad, I do think that analytical english isn't one of those "life skills" that I oh so often hear about.

Instead of boring the hell out of students by making them read plays and books that don't intrest them, why not provide a public school weblog. Students can hold discussions on anything that intrests them and to raise awareness on specific issues.

Of course, you dont want immature little punks coming along and hijacking the weblog so teacher and student moderation privelidges not only have to be fair, but they also have to be balanced. Too much bias towards the students and you get too much crap coming through. Too much bias towards teachers and you get censorship on issues that are touchy yet still acceptable.

What I would recommend is that moderating be divided up halfway between teachers and students. For a school with 100 staff and 1000 students, a teacher's vote would be worth 10 times more than a student. Of course, if its that big an issue, the students can make up for it on volume.

Possibly once a week, the teacher can run through techniques for such skills as sentence structure, good grammar and even some spelling touch-ups. I'm sure students that want to be taken more seriously by the faculty will jump at the chance. I'm sure even more will if good weblog posters (those with insightful stories and comments) earned extra credit on English units.

I may be wrong, after all, I'm not the teacher, just the son of one. Maybe someone can figure out a better way of doing things, any comments would be appreciated :)



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Are weblogs just for nerds?
o Yes 32%
o No 49%
o Only in highschool 18%

Votes: 65
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by Talez

Display: Sort:
Weblogs in high school english? | 34 comments (33 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
A weblog in a high school? (3.50 / 4) (#1)
by terpy on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 01:29:31 AM EST

SOunds nic ethe way you describe it, kind of a geek concession. But seriously, this is just a giant flame war waiting to happen, and it's all the nets weblogs need too; an army of well trained trolls coming out of highschool... Now I'm sure this would work well in smaller group situtations or maybe environments more conducive to academics than my high school was...

<joh3n> BUKKAKE: the final frontier
<joh3n> these are the stories of the starship: jizziprize

Oh god... (2.33 / 3) (#3)
by Signal 11 on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 04:06:00 AM EST

Please... not another weblog by a disenfranchised youth... we've got online diaries.. erm, and slashdot.. for that!

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
Creative Writing (4.20 / 5) (#4)
by adiffer on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 04:17:04 AM EST

You would probably learn a lot by trying this and seeing how it works. The politics surrounding the education profession is quite amazing as you may already know since you are related to someone in the business.

If you have the skill, try setting up a Scoop site and then talking to someone who teaches creative writing at a local high school. They just might go for it since it provides a mechanism for students to provide feedback on the works of other students. Treat it as a one semeester experiment and be prepared to provide the technical support the teacher will need.

A direct experience like this would teach you more than you would probably expect about high school english, the teaching profession, school district administration and local politics. If you succeed, you will have proven that one person CAN have a positive impact.
-Dream Big. --Grow Up.

Unlikely to try such an experiment (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by ry2me on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 01:59:44 PM EST

If you have the skill, try setting up a Scoop site and then talking to someone who teaches creative writing at a local high school. They just might go for it since it provides a mechanism for students to provide feedback on the works of other students. Treat it as a one semeester experiment and be prepared to provide the technical support the teacher will need.

In my experience as a public-school student for four years, no teacher was ever willing to really try something new. Many of the teachers had been working in their profession and subject matter for many years and were unwilling to change. My conjecture on such behavior is that they all share the philosophy "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" People havn't been complaining about their teaching styles and as a result, they probably assume it's all working. For the most part it probably is, so what would their incentive be to change it?

Basically, I would be quite surprised if any high school teacher would participate in such an experiment. But then again, I can be quite a pessimist; you just might be right.

[ Parent ]
There's a reason for that (4.00 / 2) (#16)
by Karmakaze on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 04:55:31 PM EST

In my experience as a public-school student for four years, no teacher was ever willing to really try something new. Many of the teachers had been working in their profession and subject matter for many years and were unwilling to change. My conjecture on such behavior is that they all share the philosophy "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Public school teachers are punished for innovation. I've seen a history teacher officially reprimanded for bringing in photocopies articles for his students. The objection wasn't the content, it was that you're not allowed to supply any materials not on the list or include any information not on the government approved syllabus.

After a few years of this sort of grinding down, most teachers give up on innovation - it only gets them a rep as troublemakers.
[ Parent ]

When/where? (none / 0) (#19)
by brotherhayashi on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 07:54:44 PM EST

Under what circumstances was the teacher reprimanded? With the quality of textbooks in some places, teachers who bother to use outside sources to provide alternative viewpoints (or writing that doesn't insult the intelligence of the students) should be given a gold star. On the other hand, a former history teacher of mine was reprimanded for bringing in a group of students on the weekend to repaint her classroom (which was sorely in need of a new paint job).

[ Parent ]
The issue was... (none / 0) (#30)
by Karmakaze on Mon Jan 21, 2002 at 09:43:29 AM EST

The issue was that he was doing too much extra, and it would make the other teachers look bad.
[ Parent ]
teaching method calcification (4.50 / 2) (#17)
by adiffer on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 05:08:21 PM EST

I understand your point. Many teachers would not want to participate for a variety of reasons. Having been a teacher, though, I know that some would.

One way to look at a project like this is from a sales perspective. Most potential clients will turn you away at the door but a few won't. With those few, you stand a chance of actually getting one of them to buy your idea and participate. You only need one to buy in, so you go door-to-door until you find one or get too depressed and stop.

The market would actually be a little broader than the creative writing classes. One should also be able to reach out to the journalism teachers.

A project like this has a definite potential to attract small sponsors and the media if organized properly. It also has a built in sunset clause allowing the promoters to get out of it if they discover its not for them.
-Dream Big. --Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

I'm Using Weblogs! (none / 0) (#33)
by willrich on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 08:26:18 AM EST

Just to let you know, I'm a high school teacher using weblogs in my classrooms already! So don't lose hope...

[ Parent ]
familiar environment (4.57 / 7) (#5)
by kubalaa on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 05:38:12 AM EST

Not everyone likes weblogs as much as you do. It'd make equal sense to assign everyone to write song lyrics, or participate in debate, or work for the school newspaper, or read Gödel Escher Bach, or paint scenes from The Lord of The Rings. People learn in different ways, and one learns different things from a weblog than one does from writing an essay about The Grapes of Wrath. Maybe the ideal education includes both.

You're essentially complaining that weblogging seems like an educational activity, so you want to get credit for it. Well guess what, in the Real World you don't get points for learning -- you do it because you enjoy it, and because if you don't you'll be stuck working for Mickie-D's and won't be able to hold decent conversation with your friends. You want points for participating in a weblog, or reading War and Peace in your free time, or helping with a GNU project... well, here you go, you get an "A" from me. The first lesson of school should be that learning is its own reward, and self-motivation, not getting a good grade, is the key to success.

Dunno ... (3.33 / 3) (#6)
by Ranieri on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 08:22:35 AM EST

I actually enjoyed reading "Pride and Prejudice" and "Great Expectations" in school. But then again i realize i'm fairly atypical.
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
And the Canterbury Tales (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by wiredog on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 09:22:49 AM EST

Although, if the parents had actually known what was in the tales, they would have rasied hell. "He plumbed you! In a pear tree! I saw it!" from "The Knights Tale". "Plumbed" is a bowlderized translation of the original Middle English, but we all knew what it meant. Especially as the text we had the Middle English on one page, and the translation on the facing page.

Lee Mussof, my High School English teacher, was a great teacher. When we studied Romeo and Juliet she pointed out all the dirty jokes in the text. Many of them are opaque to the modern reader who doesn't know what a maidenhead is. A little study reveals that R&J is a bawdy comedy in act 1 and, with a few minor changes in timing and action, would remain a comedy.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Different Venue perhaps? (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by Elkor on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 09:08:28 AM EST

It is an interesting idea, but I think many of the other posters have good points about the venue you are trying to approach.

However, my gf is going to college as a Communications Major, and this might be an excellent idea for a course in on-line communication. Remove all paper from the course, require students to submit their work either as posts to the site, or via e-mail to the teacher (or to a mail list?). Perhaps add a web host (geocities style) to the process so they could submit presentations in web format.

How about that as an alternative? It narrows the scope of your idea, but it might make it more feasible to get started. Then, after it has been in place and debugged, it can "trickle down" to the High School level.


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
been there, taught that (3.50 / 2) (#9)
by buridan on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 09:32:05 AM EST

actually quite a few people use weblogs or variations thereof to teach classes now, i actually teach all my classes via related asynchronous methods via the web. The only problem pedagogically is maintaining course focus. I do it by giving the students a place to do things unrelated to the course, but in any case, people use these all the time.

[ Parent ]
Examples? (none / 0) (#32)
by willrich on Wed Jan 23, 2002 at 08:23:25 AM EST

I'm looking for other places where weblogs are being used in the classroom. Can you send some my way?

[ Parent ]
Big in ESL (none / 0) (#34)
by TON on Tue Feb 19, 2002 at 12:05:06 AM EST

Dave's ESL Cafe is a very successful site for English as a Second Language. It's really a discussion forum, not a weblog. Have a look. I used to have a quite a bit of luck with it.

"First, I am born. Then, the trouble begins." -- Schizopolis


[ Parent ]

Practice makes perfection. (5.00 / 2) (#10)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 11:19:16 AM EST

Language includes several activities: read, write and talk. Your idea involves only writing in a very limited scope (one does not write the same way an essay or an speech as one writes in a weblog).

You need also to talk: that means read loud, give speeches, presentations, have dabates.

And how are you going to learn the words and the rules of the language? I would observe the greatest craftspeople that ever used English as their tool: Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, Hemingway, Nabokov, Capote, Tolkien, Dickens, Whitman, Steinback, Morrison, Rushdie, Poe and who knows how many more. You have to read, you have to see how it is properly done, you have to let your brain assimilate how the best of all used that language that is your own.

1000 teenage primates typing madly against Shakespeare? You are joking for sure.

Those who sleep can't sin.
Those who sin, sleep well.

internet + education (4.33 / 3) (#11)
by j1mmy on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 11:31:32 AM EST

i took a course during my senior year in college that dealt with how the internet has influenced media. part of the course was that we would use the internet to promote discussion and whatnot. we had two venues:

1) the class discussion board (basic threaded forum) which we all had to post to on a semi-regular basis. we had to start x threads there during the course and make y responses every week. our posts couldn't be mindless blather. we had to discuss things relevant to the course.

2) chat rooms. yes, we would spend a class session every now and then in a computer lab, chatting on computers instead of actually talking to eachother. very, very surreal. during one session, a non-member of the class came in and started working on something. the class discussion turned to how he smelled bad, had weird hair, and one girl went so far to mention that he had no butt. much to our amusement, our professor agreed. he must have been really unsettled when, as he leaves the room, everybody in the lab erupts in laughter.

the discussion board worked out well for that class. the chat room episodes were less successful, though mostly due to technical problems (the professor settled on a very flimsy chat service and we couldn't convince her to change).

one of my philosophy classes in a previous quarter also did the online discussion board thing, requiring so many posts a week. we were told that our discussion grade in the class (a quarter of our total grade) would be based our participation on the board and in class itself. the discussion board was woefully inactive. class participation was dismal. I only made two comments during the course, both in class:

"my name is so-and-so and i'm a computer science major." (first day of class, introduce yourself)
"have a nice day." (said to the prof. as i handed in my final)

i still swung a B in the class. somehow, discussion completely failed. i like to blame it on the subject matter being horrendously dull and poorly presented. then again, maybe i and my classmates are all morons.

a weblog-style format may or may not work. consider the audience, the topics, and the point. will this really help spelling and grammar? i doubt it. take my post, for example. the grammar's more or less acceptable, but i haven't capitalized much of anything! i would imagine any high school forum would have it's fair share of 1337-5p34k, LOL's, :) and other internet-only language.

also, i question the usefulness of a weblog to encourage discussion or raise awareness in a high school environment. even in the largest of high schools, you know quite a few of your peers and word-of-mouth (including the daily announcements) disseminates information quickly enough. if you want to discuss a topic, you've probably got friends who are interested in it too. there's also school clubs that can promote discussion of numerous topics, and student government if you want to get involved in the politics of your school.

online forums excel where the members are geographically diverse and/or unavailable to interact at the same time of day. a single high school doesn't fall into either of these categories. a better proposal might be to build a discussion forum for your high school and others in your area. this way, you're talking with people your own age that you otherwise might never meet.

reading and writing (5.00 / 3) (#12)
by ucblockhead on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 12:01:24 PM EST

Instead of boring the hell out of students by making them read plays and books that don't intrest them, why not provide a public school weblog

Perhaps a weblog is a good idea for teaching kids how to write well. However, it won't teach you what you get out of reading plays and books, which is how to read well, how to recognize good writing, how to gain knowledge, etc, etc.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

Bah (4.25 / 4) (#14)
by J'raxis on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 03:25:41 PM EST

A weblog where the writers have high-school level grammar and communication skills. Are we not just reinventing Slashdot?

— The Sarcastic Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

WebCT (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by clarioke on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 03:25:44 PM EST

WebCT is implemented at my school and many others. It allows professors to post handouts and notes (useful to the scatterbrain in all of us), allows professors to give online quizzes (so I hear, I've never done it, but I hear it's quite successful), allows professors to post grades (good for the academic nerd in all of us), as well as has an online bulletin board system and a chat room.

The online postings of handouts, notes, overheads and grades pleased those of us who are entirely unable to keep our heads together.

The bulletin board system was used in one of my classes as a sort of Q & A between students and prof. The class was a C++ and it was great. An ethics class used it as an assignment in and of itself. Groups were formed, each group had an ethics case study and posted said case to the board. Each student was required to post at least one unique response. ('Yeah, that's what I think, too.' doesn't count.)

This worked, sort of. People were shy about posting things, people were more afraid of disagreeing online than they were in the classroom. People were also caught up in the requirements instead of the flow of online conversation. As the prof said each person must have one unique response, most people did just that: One and only one response. Not a lot of discussion comes from that.

Most people who post on k5 are used to an online forum. Those who are not comfortable in this environment, such as most of a class, I'd imagine, create somewhat stilted discussions.

Another problem that hasn't yet been addressed: Access. Even in my college class this was a problem. There are people who live offcampus, in their own places, who don't bother to pay for internet service in any form. There are the same people who spend limited time at school, who hold full time jobs, who just don't have the same time to spend on the weblog. This is a problem which would also be existent, more prominently, in high school when kids are reliant on their families and the central computer.

Just my $.02.


WebCT (none / 0) (#21)
by Jordan Block on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 08:36:05 PM EST

unfortunately, online learning systems, and WebCT in particular, have horrible interfaces.

I've taken a number of courses online, and this is a major problem with all of the different interfaces.

[ Parent ]
today in english (2.00 / 8) (#18)
by nodsmasher on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 06:41:55 PM EST

today in english i took a test on cantubury tails
that was 47 minutes that could of been beter spend sleaping, trying to get up the curege to talk to girls, or one of many other things that will actully matter in life
i feal it was life wasted
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
Why are students so down on English class? (5.00 / 3) (#20)
by brotherhayashi on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 08:26:21 PM EST

Talez, this comment isn't directed at you in particular, so please don't take offense.

All of you who think that English class was boring as hell and utterly useless, what's your problem with English class? From Talez's description, his class is pretty typical; the students spend their time studying the finer points of English grammar, reading literature, and, hopefully, doing some writing of their own.

I agree with Tezcatlipoca; the best way to learn how to communicate better is to study the work of the masters. Beyond that, I can't believe that you can possibly hate everything that you read. In past English classes, I've read 11 or 12 books and perhaps a dozen shorter passages. I've liked some of them a lot: Grapes of Wrath, Beowulf, Grendel, Slaughterhouse Five, Hamlet, MacBeth; I've hated many of them: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hard Times, Billy Budd. Either way, I'm glad that I've read them. I know now what kind of stuff I like to read, and, on those rare occasions when I have free time and sit down and read (though I've made a pledge to try and sift through an ever-growing stack of books on my bookshelf this year), I can better choose books that will be fun to read.

No, that's not a typo: reading stuff can actually be fun. Around the time the first LoTR movie came out, I cringed every time that I saw a posting to the effect of "I've read the LoTR series 38 times and counting." Assuming LoTR is 1500 pages long (approximate length of my edition), the phantom commenter has read 57,000 pages. Instead of reading the same book over again, he could read the Bible, the Qu'ran, the entire works of Shakespeare, the Dow De Jing, and about a half dozen works. My point: reading, like vitamins and exercise, is good for you, even though it may suck now. The literary criticism that I've been exposed to in school has been mostly Formalist (New Critic, I think?); we mostly analyze the techniques that the author uses to construct the piece instead of any sort of meaning that can come from the piece (I guess that goes back to the postmodernist "all ideas are equal" politicial correctness that seems to have infiltrated everything). Looking at literature that way gets a little old (and the essays get to be formulaic), but it's certainly not the worst thing in the world (and we do get to make fun of the Freudian critics: the best essay I've seen involved interpreting every reference to "matter" in the play to Hamlet's love for Getrude).

Sigh...looking at the above, I've gotten a little off topic, but the apathy present in high school students (I'm one of them...at least for another five months) sucks, and I don't think that weblogs will change that. At this point, though, I'm not sure what will.

About my situation... (none / 0) (#22)
by Talez on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 09:43:05 PM EST

Firstly, I graduated in 1999. This is looking in retrospect.

Now, in the final 2 years of high school here, students are required to take a TEE level english course for university acceptance. There are 3 levels of highschool english here:

* Vocational English

This basically prepares the blue-collar destined students for the workforce. It teaches them basic reading and writing skills so that they can communicate without confusion or ambiguity(sp?) in the workplace.

* TEE English

This is the english you *have* to take to get into uni. The only way you can get out of it is to do a harder english unit. This should be teaching the communication skills required for tertiary studies.

These skills *SHOULD* be things like taking effective notes, proper spelling and grammar, how to write persuasively, how to write an essay, how to write a report. Instead we have to learn crap like "The author has given a cryptic message in this piece of writing. Anyone who finds it gets an A".

This is not a life skill I use in university at the moment and I doubt I will use it unless I discover some passion for the english language. I don't write a sonnet and hand it in to my lecturer and I doubt he'd give me any marks for orginality.

This class was also heavily biased towards reading. We did little writing apart from essays. While the teacher red-penned our work that we handed in, we were never properly taught things like how to properly structure a sentence and advanced uses of paragraphs. I know I would have rather come out of my english classes being able to type decent setences rather than the huge, 3 line monstrosities that I always seem to come up with.

Ever seen Office 97 being used by a high school student? Miles upon miles of green underlines :P

* English Literature

This is the hard stuff. Basically, you do all the analyse the underlying crap type stuff you do in TEE english but instead of analysing a work a month, you analyse a work a week. It provides a broad selection of works that students can and do study. It is basically a tour of the writing styles of both Australian and international authors.

I'm not saying that high school students should be denied access to classes like English Lit, I'm just saying that we should work on getting the up and coming generation highly proficient in the language rather than reading connisuers (sp?)


Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]
And mine... (none / 0) (#23)
by brotherhayashi on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 10:21:05 PM EST

I'm in the US. Here high school (grades 9-12....appoximately ages 15-18) students have to take four years of English to get a HS diploma (or at least they have to in my state).

At the public high school that I go to, there are three levels of English courses:
* Standard English (your Vocational English)
* Honors English (your TEE English; college-prep English: designed to be taken by kids who intend to go to college)--around here, the students go through a book full of short pieces and excerpts from longer ones written by authors from various time periods; the stuff in the literature book may be supplemented by outside reading
* pre-AP/AP English (your English Literature)--a "college level" English class that has more outside reading and more writing, especially the timed essay (mostly poetry or prose analysis) that's on the test that all students have to take at the end of the course; those who pass the test, designed by the <a href="http://www.collegeboard.org">College Board</a>--the same people that did the SAT--a lot of college exempt people with passing scores on the test from taking freshman English classes

In addition, at least in this area, 11th grade students are supposed to be studying American Literature and 12th grade students are supposed to be studying British Literature. I don't think that I've never read anything by an Australian, sorry :-(. Do you have any suggestions?

I also would like being asked to write more, but my desires fit into a college-like (soon.....) situation in which I have less classes to deal with and more time to study each of them in depth. Right now, I'm taking six classes (really five + a chemistry lab), and I'm not sure I could handle being "challenged" in all of my classes at once.

Re: "this author has a cryptic message," as I mentioned before, we got out of that a long time ago; we've moved on to "write an essay analyzing this poem in 40 min; if you don't pick up on the subtle tone shifts and the sexual imagery, you don't pass"

Also, there are no requirements as to which English classes you must take to get into college. the US History class I took last year also emphasized writing a great deal, but from a slightly different angle; this emphasis was probably because the US History class was also AP and half of the exam is writing.

I don't think that it's possible to separate getting the up and coming generation highly proficient in the language and reading good literature; to learn to write well, one must have some examples to draw from. Many of the people that I talk to don't read at all in their free time, thus when it comes time to read something for school reading is difficult and discouraging and they take the easy way out. Most of the newspapers here are written on an 8th grade level (14 years old), and 16% of the residents of my state (25-30% of the nation IIRC) have a college degree (= four year undergraduate university degree). I'm not sure what needs to be done to get people reading and writing more. Unfortunately, I've yet to see any evidence that the situation was any better at any other point in history. If only education were funded adequately and the military had to hold bake sales to buy bomers....

[ Parent ]
Oh - I thought you meant weblogs WRITTEN in high-s (3.50 / 6) (#24)
by gidds on Fri Jan 18, 2002 at 10:29:45 PM EST

Shame.  I was hoping this story would be encouraging people to use proper English in their posts!  [fx: sigh]  Let's take the first two paragraphs, shall we?

...my ability to construct sentences is nearly non-existant.

Ditto your ability to spell: it's `non-existent'.  (We'll leave spelling-checkers for the next lesson.)

I didn't do well in my final year english class.

Was that the one that taught the use of capital letters?  `English' is a proper noun, so it gets a capital letter.  (I'll be generous and not list the many other occurrences of this one...)

It was... generally boring as watching bat shit dry on a wall.

Wouldn't `...as boring as...' look so much better?

...one of those "life skills" that I oh so often hear about.

`I oh'?  `I oh'???  (All together now: `It's off to work I go'!)  The hyphenated `oh-so-often' would seem to fit your needs here.

Well, I hope that was as much fun for you as it was for me :)  Seriously, though, if it takes five minutes to write a post, and six thousand people each spend twenty seconds reading it, then they'll spend four hundred times as long reading it as it took you to write.  Isn't it worth spending a few extra seconds making sure it's written in good English?

This message was sponsored by the Campaign for Real Pedantry.  CaRP, for short.


LOL (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by Talez on Sat Jan 19, 2002 at 04:33:44 AM EST

You just proved my point :P

Thank you! :D


Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
[ Parent ]
You are the boring one. (1.66 / 3) (#26)
by m0rzo on Sat Jan 19, 2002 at 03:34:35 PM EST

Yes, that's right - you are boring. It's up to you to make your English class exciting and interesting. That's what I did.

Firstly, regarding your spelling and grammatical skills; that is your fault. It's funny how other people manage to sit down and digest the finer points of the English language but not, it seems, you.

Analytical skills are a life skill. It's about opening your mind to the ideas of other people throughout history - seeing things through the eyes of them, realising their thoughts and emphasising with them. What boring people we'd be if nobody bothered to write down their thoughts and musings. Writing is what makes us human. The creative writing of those before us also serves as a lasting testament to the times they lived in.

I'm a student. I know what English lessons are like. Being a student who sees what goes on, I know how apathetic and mindless most of my fellow frats are. Instead of reading something that could actually inspire them and do them good they'd rather sit down and read some trashy, low-rate, mediocre comic book. If I was condemned to read that kind of junk for the rest of my life and forced to write some ridiculously nouveau, mincy web-log I'd rather be illiterate.

Realise how utterly ridiculous your proposition actually is please. Just because you find fantastic, genius works of literature "boring", you want to condemn everyone else to lessons focusing on improving grammar and spellings. How incredibly f*cking patronising. 18 years old and we still need to be told how to construct our sentences? I was reading Dante's Inferno at the age of 2. I don't need some jumped-up, just-out-of-teacher-training-college Lehrer trying to teach me how to read and write.

In conclusion you are not only boring but absolutely useless; an arrant annoyance. Go read a book...

My last sig was just plain offensive.

Weblogs in edu (none / 0) (#27)
by scloh on Sun Jan 20, 2002 at 09:10:31 PM EST

Actually, in the past year or so there has been an emerging conversation on a similiar topic amongst bloggers who are also teachers, learners, or otherwise interested in education. This conversation centers around the potential for weblogs as a writing tool to promote collaborative writing, writing for the sake of writing, and to build communities amongst learners.

Check out the conversation at these edublog sites. You'll also find examples of how teachers are using weblogs in the classroom.

[alterego], my personal weblog
Schoolblogs, free hosting for education
a place to write

This post made me realize something. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
by mindstrm on Mon Jan 21, 2002 at 12:33:40 AM EST

For the past years, I've been thinking that the Internet has caused people's composition skills to go down the shitter. At first, most errors were intentional, for effect (R U my friend? Sez who?), and for speed.

There was always a time for highly abbreviated net-speak and a time for proper english. (Online forums were usually for proper english.)

Nowadays...I see so much more crappy English.
And I'm sure mine has become worse as well.

But it just occurred to me after reading this... perhaps it's not actually the net that's making grammar worse, it's just showing us how bad most people's grammar really is. After all, many people use the net today whom, if they were around 10 years ago, we would never see their writing skills post-highschool.

Yes! (none / 0) (#29)
by rusty on Mon Jan 21, 2002 at 01:49:49 AM EST

I've come to this conclusion as well. In fact, I'd go a little further, and claim that the net is actually helping our writing skills overall by providing more of an impetus for more people to express themselves in text. And writing in text implies reading text, and the more reading you do, the better your writing gets, overall.

Of course, the flip side of this is that reading and writing tend to be self-reinforcing. Ever notice that some errors are really common online, and how persistent they are? "There shoes were untied," "Here, here! I shouted," are two that leap painfully to mind. The rebirth of writing is going to change the language, eventually, and already is in a lot of ways.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Working example (none / 0) (#31)
by lordpixel on Mon Jan 21, 2002 at 11:08:07 AM EST

>After all, many people use the net today whom, if >they were around 10 years ago, we would never see >their writing skills post-highschool.

Oh dear! Perhaps:

After all, ten years ago the writing skills of many of the the people who use the net today would never have been seen post-highschool.

The proposed revision is still clunky. We could try removing some of the redundancy:

After all, ten years ago we would never see the writing skills of many of the people who use the net today.
Or perhaps post-highschool is acceptable as an adjective?
After all, ten years ago we would never see the post-highschool writing skills of many of the people who use the net today.
Lest the reader take offence at this posting, I should note its tone is intended to be humourous. That said, the original sentence is particularly inelegant.

I am the cat who walks through walls, all places and all times are alike to me.
[ Parent ]
Weblogs in high school english? | 34 comments (33 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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