The “Christmas Tale” stars a pair of robbers, named Bob and Bill, who raid a jewellery store in broad daylight to steal a manger full of rubies and emeralds.There's a similar theme at work in a grammar exercise recently given to primary school children across the Estuary in Sheerness. We know this because one parent was so 'shocked' that she was apparently obliged to go to the local press and have it reported, complete with carefully posed photographs.
In an exercise designed to test the appropriate use of the pronouns 'I' and 'me', children had to complete the following sentence:
Hand ..... the money before ..... put a bullet through your head.Could it, perhaps, be part of the continued attempt to reflect modern urban society in the school curriculum? And, if so, can we look forward to the same thing emerging in, say, Maths,
If Liam and Kane steal £140 and divide it in the ratio 3:4...Physics,
Sayeed steals a BMW and drives it into a wall at 70km/h....or Biology?
How can Shanice and Ami use this graph to record the growth of their cannabis plants...?Educational orthodoxy demands that work set should be as relevant as possible to the lives and interests of pupils - though it's not clear whether that would extend to a crime-themed nativity play in an area which had recently seen several armed robberies - which raises some interesting questions about the test paper's provenance.
We do know it was downloaded from the generally respected Times Educational Supplement resource-sharing site. It's an excellent example of the spurious authority lent by the imprimatur of the internet; an unquestioning teacher seems to have handed it out without the proof reading which would have detected the rank illiteracy (or devious trap) of asking pupils to use 'I' or 'me' to complete:
When I asked the Scotsman if he enjoyed haggis, he looked at me and said ‘Och .....’I doubt the 'bullet' sentence caused any lasting damage, though it does seem unnecessarily crass to include it in a grammar exercise for primary-age children. What concerns me more is the idea of teachers indiscriminately trawling the internet for off-the-peg lessons and homework with no guarantee of quality.
Over the past 50 years, the nature of education has shifted from imparting knowledge and skills to teachers being expected to keep pupils - or 'learners' - entertained. The result has been a desperate scramble for novelty while trying to satisfy the demand for constant exhaustive record-keeping - senior management and inspectors love brightly-coloured progress charts and graphs - and a corresponding lack of consistency in what some of us would call the basics.
Borrowing back a comment I left at Julia's place recently, on a post highlighting the effects of this degeneration,
Truly we have an education system at which the rest of the world can only wonder!