SAVE OUR LANGUAGE

May 25, 2014

Michael Gove is a divisive figure and he has aroused the anger of many in the education establishmnent. I am not going to argue the rights and wrongs of his methods here. What is not in doubt however is the sincerity of his desire to improve the quality of education in this country, nor of the need for it to be improved.

This was borne out for me last night whilst watching the Champions League Final. When watching football on television I like to keep an eye on Twitter; the banter is often very witty and can liven up what otherwise might be a dull match. During the first half of last night’s game, one of Real Madrid’s players, Gareth Bale, missed an easy chance to score. Twitter at once came to life. That is when I saw this tweet. “Bale should of scored.”

From the author’s Twitter profile, I know this is the work of someone who has completed his education – someone who has been through years of schooling, and has completed the process without knowing the difference between “of” and “have.” Could there be a more obvious example of how our education system has failed our youngsters over the past several years?

We are the custodians of the greatest language in the world. It is the language of Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Hardy and Churchill; across the Atlantic, Lincoln, Kennedy and Martin Luther King used it beautifully and powerfully.

Many of the greatest thoughts expressed by mankind have been articulated in the English language and yet today we have young people leaving school unable to speak it or write it properly. That is a national disgrace and it is something which must be addressed without delay.

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