Frightening things are going on in English primary schools.
Never mind the destructive stress-testing of both teachers and pupils, a new, sinister hand is upon the education tiller.
Our glorious language is under threat from the Department of Education who are devising new forms of grammar and determining that their new rules are right and anything else is wrong. Pass or fail.
Primary school children in England are being taught new rules of grammar.
Exclamation marks must only end sentences that begin with “what” or “how”. Crazy!
Fronted Adverbials anyone? I’m affronted!
Just as English children get to grips with their language – finding out what fun it is to roll new words around the tongue – just as they gain confidence to describe and joke and pun, playing with the most elastic language in the world – they are now to be bound in a straightjacket of rules that make language a dull, tedious, academic subject that is either right or wrong – pass or fail.
We all know one reason why this is happening. Creativity and individuality cannot be easily graded. Playing is not proper learning. Grammar can be checked in tick-boxes – nice and neat for Google and Big Data
Why would politicians want to waste so much time and effort curtailing the language when there are other pressing and important things for them to deal with?
This is not the English we know and love – the language of Shakespeare, Milton, Churchill, Dahl and JK Rowling. This is censorship. This is New Speak – a top down imposition of how children are expected to think and express themselves. “Think our way or fail.”
English is the world language precisely because its rules are so elastic. English bends and sways, ingests and accepts new ideas but never breaks. However badly it is written, it always delivers.
Imposing rules of grammar is the thin end of thought control.
This ominous meddling needs nipping in the bud right now.