Are English and grammar classes failing our youth or are kids just not paying attention?

Question:Is it just me or do people have a bad habit of mispelling words and not using proper grammar? I see a lot of grammatical errors nowadays as well as people using "there" instead of "their" and vice versa. This is mostly among the young adult, teen-age populaton.

Is the education system on English and grammar failing our kids or are they just not paying attention? The elementary school I attended back in the 80s and 90s was unfailingly strict with the English language, going so far as to requiring students (2nd through 8th grades) to complete homework assignments known as "dictation" (students had to write different sentences over and over again). I admit that this helped me shape my grammatical usage as well as the grasp of the English language. Schools should implement this to help kids improve their language skills.

Still, I have a low tolerance for people who cannot write English properly, with the exception of those with learning disabilities.

Any thoughts?

Both. In many classrooms, the curriculum [what is taught, how much time is spent teaching a certain topic] is determined by the teacher. The decision is made based upon the teacher’s opinion of what is important and necessary. However, students are also not paying attention and they are not taught by parents and/or society that good grammar is important [reference email style of writing]. Luckily, the recent surge of interest in testing and standards, will help to take care of some of these issues.

That being said...I would like to point out that the educational issues and priorities for each school and district are actually set by parents. If you review public perception and parental behavior toward education over the past decade, there is a definite correlation with problems that we have had in the educational system. As a teacher, I remember NUMEROUS parent conferences, report cards, and phone calls warning of an impending failure and possible retention of a student. After the decision was made by all of the teachers, it would be overruled because the parent didn't want their student to be held back a grade--despite the fact that the student failed all of his/her classes. The student was moved to the next grade, where he/she continued to earn failing grades, and was eventually moved up again.

This very long story is pointing out the fact that the recent surge in interest in testing is a direct result of the many complaints about students graduating from high school without learning how to read.

My final answer to your question is the student, teacher, principal, district officials, and parents are ALL responsible for the misuse and/or inability to use grammar properly. It requires a team effort, and if one member of the team does not believe in the outcome... everyone loses. Sadly, most of the blame is currently being placed on the teacher and the schools, rather than everyone equally.
No. It's all individual. I'm almost 16 and I have no problem typing correctly. Also, more than anything, it's not sentence diagramming or "dictation" that has improved my grasp of the english language. It has been Latin that has helped me the most. So insist on teaching latin instead, which we both know will never happen. So basically, no to everything.

Yes I know this sounds pretentious and kind of condescending, so you can call me a patronizing punkass. I'm kind of being one right now.
Well I just finished high school so I think I can represent some of America's youth in answering this. Young kids just don't care. Its about that simple. Young kids like to live for the present, and they aren't motivated to get a great education. Lot's of kids in class don't pay attention in English (because I guess its boring), and its partly the fault of the Teachers. We didn't really get taught correct grammatical practices, we just were taught how to analyze english. And also to answer your question, immigrants are coming to America and they don't (heh contraction) even bother to learn our language.
It is because the teachers we have now don't focus that much on grammar anymore. The only teacher I've had that has ever taught me proper grammar was my English teacher last year and my 1st grade teacher. Teachers seem to focus more on vocabulary and literature instead.
If you are going to analyze the situation we are in now, majority of the youths are having a hard time in their English communications but you cannot blame it all in schools. There are factors today which causes the rampant deterioration of our English skills. First, majority of youths today have cellphones and they love sending text messages. They find it cute to abbreviate words and everything and since they do this every day they get used to it to the point of not even remembering the correct spelling. Secondly, the "taglish" conversation. I really hate this the most. They say it is cute but I find it nasty. Because of this, the English conversation skill declined a lot and to make matters worst, some television shows are conversing in "taglish".

Doing a dictation assignment will not do. It is not the schools who are lacking but because of different laws "protecting" the rights of the students, teachers cannot discipline them properly. Most of our students are contented in coming in and out of the school but try to ask them if they learn anything. If I may suggest, why don't we give back the freedom to the teachers instead? and since we do have lots of money alloted for education, why don't we give workshops to enhance the English skills not only of the teachers but the students as well. They can also bring back tv shows educating the people like pahina, math-tinik etc. instead of showing naruto, bleach, etc. Surely, those shows helped us a lot right?
Dear "Christian Writer" (Just a Guess),
Kids today may have a lower tolerance for boredom, but that isn't all bad. I teach first and second year college students world history, and I agree there is a surprising deficit in grammar. Yet it varies from student to student just as it did when I was in grade school and high school (during the sixties). I doubt we will see boring repetitious exercises reintroduced in 'modern' education. The grammatical errors
bother me too, but not a great deal. It's a picky and minor point compared to the dearth of actual thinking. On my first day of med school the dean told us that the hardest thing to get students to do is "think". "It is hard work to actually think," he said. I'm happy if my students make the effort to think and not just try to learn (history) by rote memorization which was the old boring way. With the availability of computers, the days of memorizing data should be over. Actual thinking and using information for 'synthesis' is our cerebral advantage.

Perhaps it is a combination of both. When I went through school during the sixties and seventies in Canada, English grammar was drilled into us extensively and more often than not we were quickly corrected by our teachers and parents whenever we slipped up and made errors. Over the last twenty years various foreign language teachers have told me that the main difficulties their students are having in learning a new language is not having a good foundation in grammar so when they use terms like gerunds, past imperfect, subjunctive, conditional and so forth, the students are completely lost. These observations tell me there are problems now with respect to some students having good grammatical foundations.

When beginning university, I was taught that there is really no such thing as good writing; there is only good re-writing!
When you write a paper or quick missive your mind is concentrating so hard on the subject matter at hand that it is very easy to slip up and make errors in grammar or especially spelling. I have to be careful because I also work a great deal in the Spanish language as well as having studied French and recently basic Latin. You can easily cross thread the spelling of words that are very similar among the languages and I will be the first to admit that my spelling is not the best at times. It is necessary that I check my work before sending it on to the boards. Fortunately we have the luxury of spell check in this day and age.

As I have mentioned on similar topics before, answers fly into these forums faster than greased lightning. Some people are complaining and asking why people are giving the same answers as those above but they fail to realize when you go to give your answer there is often zero answers shown yet after one or two minutes of writing you send in your thoughts and suddenly see ten or twenty people have replied already.
It seems these forums are more of a race to answer fast and collect your points so I can see how people either use sloppy spelling and grammar as a short cut or a new form of short hand.

Based on my observations, I tend to be quite tolerant regarding grammar and spelling while understanding that these writings are not university style thesis or term papers. On the other hand, this situation may be a two edged sword because such habits of ignoring grammar, spelling and not checking over your work may well get entrenched in your brain and carry on into the professiional or semi-professional macroworld where your employers, peers and clients will not not be so forgiving.


Overall I’d say kids have their priorities mixed up. They put priorities in the wrong places. Odds are, the kids are sitting their daydreaming about cars, and video games instead of listening to the teacher. Look at it from their point of view: How much grammar skill does it take to deface a wall with gang signs?

I think this happens because the parents don’t push their kids. On the way to work, I saw a man wearing a breathing machine walking around picking up trash. Most of my friends whom have kids can’t even get them to pick up after garbage they dropped in their own front yard.

I didn’t spell so well for a different reason: I grew up in poverty. I was an “A” student in everything except English. I didn’t see it as a priority like math and so forth. I could not see my future in a job where it was important. Consider the fact that I grew up in a “blue collar” community where most everyone was going to be working jobs that didn’t require writing skills. Also most people, in my community were Spanish speaking. None of them cared about writing English correctly.

Now that I am 41, and educated I spell pretty well, because of all the essays I have had to write over the years. No I might not be as good as others, but I am a software developer, what do I need to spell?

When I was younger (early 20’s), I would get criticized by people who had such good grammar. The one thing I noted about them, is they can’t do much of anything else (like balance a check book, or check the oil in their car). Is that another type of mixed up priorities?

BTW: I write software that runs on banking terminals, like ATM’s and credit card terminals. I have seen mis-spelled words in prompts on ATM machines.

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