Saturday, February 23, 2013

words fail me

Read this sentence:

"Transactional theory is when you let children chose what they wanna do or what they wanna wear."

This worries me.

It worries me a lot because this line is taken from a college level paper that was written for a college  class in early childhood development...meaning that the student who wrote it is headed for a career in education. God help him if he ends up teaching my grandchildren to write like this!

Here a few other choice samples (presumably proof-read prior to submission) from this class :
  • He study investigated that the group of 132 children and parents.
  • As expected, the children with a chronic.
  • The study is civically limited.
  • Researchers have come up with an exact number of roughly... 
  • Question: Explain the importance of person-first language.
Answer: Person-first language is important
  • Question: Give one example of "nuture's" influence on development.
Answer: Parents smoke marijuana in front of child, child becomes a pothead

You don't have to know anything about early childhood development or introductory psych. to know that there is a problem here. And here:

"The people feeling or hope is higher in the social notion."

...which, coming from an ESL student, might be excusable. What is not excusable is the fact that this line was followed by several sentences in perfect, erudite English...that were obviously copied without citing the source (aka. plagiarized). And it was SO OBVIOUS.


In one 2-page paper every single sentence ended in an exclamation point! That's downright wrong! I can't imagine it!
And since when did the words (I use the term loosely) "wanna" and "gonna" find a niche in essay exams and research papers? It worries me.

If you teach K-12 English, please explain to me how these students are allowed to go on to college. It isn't fair to their college professors to have to grade papers that look like this:

And it isn't fair to the children who they will some day teach.
Do you want them teaching the children in your family?
...words fail me.
In my next post I'll share a few of the questions I have as a newbie to the world of publishing. Maybe you have the answer I need.



  1. What worries ME is that I've seen even worse mistakes in college papers. And there are, I'm sure, many different reasons that such students make it out of high school, but one of them is that some school administrators will directly or indirectly tell teachers to pass kids through or use excessively lenient grading rules because failing too many students would hurt the school's numbers, ranking, and funding. It's absolutely sickening and depressing, especially when - like you point out - education majors have poor writing training and just perpetuate the cycle.