Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why Can't the English.....?

The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, recently made a pledge that every child in the country should have Internet access.
It would have been more to the point had he said that every child in the country should have access to a good education delivered by competent and disciplinarian teachers.
We almost all make use of the internet in some way or another – but it is not an educational or teaching tool. Quite the reverse. Much of the information that might be gleaned from it is erroneous or heavily opinionated and a bit like listening to the speakers in Hyde Park.
The idea of students rushing to Wikipedia, that cornucopia of mis-information, instead of conducting serious research, might appeal to the instant gratification brigade but it’s not going to do much for education.
And, rather than being glued to a computer screen, perhaps something could be done about the speaking of the English language. As Professor Higgins remarked, “Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?”
Having just returned from a sortie through Britain on public transport, I can honestly say that most of the conversations I overheard might just as well have been in Urdu for all the sense they made to me.
However, on reaching my destination, a charming old English style village pub that would have warmed the heart of John Major, it was an enormous relief to find that I could understand the bartender perfectly.
He was, of course, Polish.


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