This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Fountain Pens: a rant.

Nevile Gwynne. the author of some well-selling books on grammar, has written a hilarious article in The Telegraph newspaper, in which he gives us some practical suggestions for improving our children's education.

As I agree with Mr Gwynne that knowing some grammar is a good thing, I expected to have considerable sympathy with his point of view.

I was rather startled, however, by Mr Gwynne's suggestion that the brighter primary school children should start learning Greek at eleven or twelve, particularly since in Britain children have left primary school before they've reached the age of twelve. Mr Gwynne's proposed ban on all computers, at home and at school, was also deeply surprising. 

Most bewildering of all, however, was his suggestion that science should not be taught until the age of fifteen, and even then only as a single subject, with Chemistry, Biology and Physics being allocated a term's study each.

Mr Gwynne follows, of course, in a long line of educationalists whose core belief is that there can be finer result of any educational system than themselves. We might smile fondly and move on, were it not for a truly egregious error in Mr Gwynne's article.

The first item on Mr Gwynne's list of subjects to be studied at primary school children is this:

'Handwriting with fountain pens, correctly held'

Fountain pens? 

As I'm sure you're wondering yourselves, how on earth are the poor children supposed to learn to write a fluent cuneiform using a fountain pen?

Word To Use Today: arrogance. This word comes from the Latin arrogāre, to claim as one's own.

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