Teachers Lack Basic Grammar
by Elissa Lawrence The Sunday Mail, 18/6/2000

TEACHERS may be sent back to school for English lessons.

An Education Queensland spokesman said courses would be considered amid concerns over the standard of grammar in our schools.

In Britain, 25,000 teachers were ordered to take courses after an inquiry exposed serious failings in primary school teachers' knowledge of grammar.

"Education Queensland will look with interest at the program being provided to teachers in England," the spokesman said. "It is quite likely a generation of teachers in all western countries have some constraints on their grammatical skills as a result of certain educational strategies in schools and teacher training, popular during the '60s and '70s. As a result, some teachers in both government and non-government schools may have missed out on learning the importance of grammar and structure in English."

Christopher Bantick, a teacher and education consultant, said a generation of teachers educated in the 1960s and '70s was not taught formal grammar at school and now lacked the ability to teach children basic punctuation and sentence construction.

He said progressive teaching strategies that promoted creativity among children had left a legacy of poor writing skills.

"The result is a generation of teachers who don't know their grammar," he said.

In the UK, the Office for Standards in Education Inquiry found students, particularly boys, were failing to achieve adequate levels in writing because their teachers didn't understand basic punctuation and grammar.

Queensland Teachers Union president Julie-Ann McCullough yesterday rejected the need for the courses, dismissing claims that teachers lacked formal grammar training as "outrageous".