Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spelling is not an unnecessary skill

Duke University is going to sponsor the local spelling bee for this region of North Carolina. I'm very happy to see this since we haven't had a regional spelling bee for over a decade when the school district decided to do away with spelling bees since they thought the bees put too much pressure on the children and celebrated an unnecessary skill in these days of spellchecks. I used to direct the spelling bee at my middle school and was thrilled to see kids studying lists to compete in the school competition. I was furious when the district did away with the competitions for their fatuous reasons. A decade later, I see how spelling skills among even the brightest students have greatly deteriorated.

Just because their computers can run spellcheck doesn't mean that it is unnecessary for students to know how to spell. So cheers to Duke for bringing back the spelling bee to this area of North Carolina. May this be the rebirth of elementary and middle school teachers actually teaching kids how to spell.


Bachbone said...

Thirty years ago, my wife was teaching college Freshmen English and English Comp classes when the department chairman decided it was time to institute "free writing" in all classes, and no prof was allowed to correct for grammar, spelling, punctuation, ideas or coherence! A couple of years later, Freshman English was eliminated as a required course. A student could only be "encouraged" to take a remedial course in English comp if the high school transcript showed some evidence of deficiency. Naturally, very few chose to take one. It's no wonder half the population can't write a coherent paragraph, can't help their kids with homework, and can't understand when their political leaders are lying.

John A said...

Rely on Spellcheck or such? They have their place, but -
---Context: decide between there/their
---sounds-like: is "thare" acceptable? (nb - should be capitalized: Abraham's father)
---How about a word I happen to like, zythum? Do they even have it?