13 July 2010

Language in K-12 learning materials

Today is Tuesday. My morning newspaper (THE HINDU) came with the weekly supplement `YOUNG WORLD’.

Although the contents in the weekly column `HeyMath’ were child-friendly and challenging from the mathematics point of view, I have my own reservations about the level of English in the `Brain Teaser’ problems. Following are excepts from the list of problems:

c. Two different candles are lit…

d. A class of students were given two problems to solve…

Students may learn mathematics well by using such contents. But at the same time they may end up learning wrong English, from the above two examples, as follows:

Example c. "Two candles" itself means different candles. What is the need for the word "different"?

Example d. It is grammatically wrong to say, "A class of students were given two problems to solve..". It should be "A class of students was given two problems to solve.."

I view any sentence in English which is grammatically incorrect or which contains unnecessary and ambiguous words as reader unfriendly, especially when readers are students. What do you think?

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.