Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Trussed up and out-educating

 Elizabeth Truss' neologism caught my attention the other day. But out-educating is not alone:
We need to believe that if England started producing vast numbers of nuclear engineers or top flight mathematicians – more of the world’s leading companies would want to headquarter here.  {My formatting, but you know what she means. Regrettably. }
But the more notable bit of  word-smithing is here:
This optimistic vision is ambitious. And our ambition must be to out-educate the rest of the world.
What is out-educating? Presumably it is meant to mean something like 'do better at the job of delivering education'. But it is flamboyantly inelegant, and laden with inappropriate overtones that belong rather in the MBA classroom or a Western movie script: out-flank, out-gun, out-draw....

What really takes the biscuit though is this 'paragraph' [I'm using the term loosely; it has a space before and after it, and a capital letter at the beginning]:
Or our reforms to improve the quality of teaching – expanding programmes like Teach First, so that top graduates from the best universities are working with more children than ever before. We have just expanded this to nurseries so that well-qualified graduates are helping improve the vocabulary and communications of our youngest children – and we are offering generous bursaries to attract the brightest graduates into the teaching profession, and the toughest schools. 
This may seem a bit harsh. It's a speech, after all, and this is the last in a series of tick-boxes. So it'd be out of order to require a finite verb in the main clause of the first 'sentence'. This series, although it's difficult to work out the structure of this section, seems to have started here:
That’s what the academies and free school programme is doing– spreading the freedoms that independent schools have, to all schools.

Nonsense They're spreading those freedoms to a few privileged state schools: EXTENDING PRIVILEGE is what they're doing, at the expense of the huge, under-funded. under-resourced, more or less dilapidated rump of ungentrified state schools.

But going back to that Teach First bit, what does 'We have just expanded this to nurseries so that well-qualified graduates are helping improve the vocabulary and communications of our youngest children' mean? (apart from the faintly risible attempt at PC marketese of  'improve the communications'). These are pre-school children. They don't have or partipate in communications. They communicate. (Or are the highly qualified graduates teaching them about the technologies underlying e-mail, perhaps?)

But I have an index to be getting on with. (It should be hitting the Kindle Store some time next week.)


Update 2014.05.08.15:05 – New footer:

 Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources: over 40.700 views  and nearly 5,700 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with nearly 2,1

00 views and nearly 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.

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