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DOI

10.14221/ajte.1991v16n1.3

Abstract

Anyone engaged in marking student essays at tertiary level today cannot fail but to be aware of the increasing inability of students to express themselves in grammatically correct and cogent argument. The problem is even more serious when is prevalent among those students who are studying to become teachers. Lists of "school-boy howlers" derived from the students' essays are no longer funny, rather they are symptomatic of a crisis in literacy that is facing the educational systems of the nation. Testing of students within the Faculty of Education at Curtin University has shown that passes in Year 12 English examinations are of little use in predicting the ability of students to use language correctly or to be able to write effectively. Staff have difficulty in correcting errors because students no longer know the basic structures or understand the terminology. Is it being revisionist to call for an end to the laissez-faire approach of the creative writing curriculum and for a return to a more structured study of language? Do recent changes to the language curriculum, at least in Western Australia, indicate a response to community demands for more structure? This paper examines these issues in the light of an increasing inability of Education graduates to ensure their pupils achieve an acceptable level of literacy.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

10.14221/ajte.1991v16n1.3