This is a very big question to ponder. Many people are questioning how how our educational system is teaching anything. But when it comes to vocabulary, I think our educational system is severely failing. All you have to do is talk to high school graduates to know how true it is. So very few know words that really aren’t that hard and are used quite often in today’s world. They only want to use slang. Typically, they are ignorant of actual words. And our educational system is producing them.
Students today are progressing with little to no growth in their vocabulary. The bulk of the words they normally use and understand tend to be slang. Anything more than two syllables stumps them. That’s a shame.
Here are a few examples. Too often I hear adults say that they will borrow me an object. They mean they will loan me the item, but they always say borrow. When I corrected one person, they told me I was wrong and needed to go back to school. Okay…. This is a simple word that is used incorrectly.
Another one involved a discussion of a book. A woman kept calling the words outside of dialogue as dialogue. I commented on that was narrative. She cussed me out and told me that a publisher had told her that and I needed to get an education. Okay….
You need to understand the words you are using. Words are a communication tool with precise meanings. If you don’t use them right, the wrong message is delivered. Chaos ensues.
Lack of Funds
It all comes down to money eventually. Every decision is driven by dollar signs. While they claim they are looking for the best interest of our children, money outweighs those decisions nearly every time. I say nearly because re-election can also be as strong.
Where is all the money going? Mainly to salaries and bad decisions. Now, I want to discuss salaries here. I am not saying teachers should be paid less. In fact, they do not get paid enough to deal with everything that is shoved onto them. From my experience with the school systems, they tend to spend their money where the latest ‘hot’ topics are.
Poor Educational System
Overall, public education is very poor. I know because my three children have gone through the public system as well as myself and my husband. We are very familiar with it. Too many times our children would struggle with a subject and the teacher would just shrug his/her shoulders. My oldest couldn’t stay caught up in math. The teacher said she’d have to hurry as they had a schedule to keep for the state. When I asked if he could meet with her after school, he said he was too busy. The principal said it was up to us to keep her caught up. What do we pay the teachers for? I ended up pulling her out of school for the rest of the year and the next to homeschool her. It was only then she was able to grasp the concepts and excel.
One teacher docked my daughter points on an essay about the Rosetta stone. He said it was not written in Ancient Greek, Demotic, and Hieroglyphics. He said that was wrong because the textbook said Greek, Latin, and hieroglyphics. Sorry but I have a history degree, and my husband has his master’s in it. The textbook is wrong. The stupid teacher said that he has to follow the textbook. What are we doing in our education system when we hire teachers who cannot think for themselves?
My son who is in the gifted program says that most teachers barely teach and focus on things that have nothing to do with the subject matter. When asked, the teachers say that the principal or the school board is telling them to focus on those other things? Why not focus on teaching?
Too often the schools think they control the world. I have been to meetings where you would think we were at some world summit. They were upset that one person got to talk more than the other though they had nothing more to say.
Finding solutions with our educational problems is never as easy as it seems. Nothing will be unanimously approved. Why? Because everyone wants only what they want and not what the overall system needs. There has to be some give and take.
I guess we have to start off realizing that vocabulary is important. Schools do not seem to think of it as such maybe because they aren’t focusing on the scores of that section of education as they are the bigger subject areas. Vocabulary is a minor issue to them. But it is far from minor in the future of our nation. As the vocabulary of a culture diminishes so does its ability to appreciate its past and understand its future. Communication becomes more difficult especially if one has to use specialized methods such as legal.
I love how Scholastic.com explains why vocabulary is critical in our society. The site points out how “words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication.” (http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary) We need to get awareness to educational boards.
It starts in the home. We need to work at teaching our children a better vocabulary as we increase our own and use it appropriately. If we are homeschoolling, we have a better chance to teach our children to have a wide range of words to use and understand the world around us with. If our children are in public and/or private schools, we have to get involved and appeal to the ones in charge. Remember that it is the squeakiest wheel that gets the grease.