GPS Subversion Finale

The final three: it is time to finish with this. I have presented a similar exposé before on this blog, more than once, and the tests keep coming back. It isn’t that I think what I have to say/satirise will have an impact and thus am disappointed when it doesn’t. I do this essentially as a catharsis for my deep and genuine anger. So I will, no doubt, do again. The only way these tests will be ended is when teachers themselves refuse to mark them. It is this simple. We should not collude.


I simply disagree with the premise of this question. It is ‘easy’ to deduce that one should have a question mark. So what? It is the notion that the other three require an exclamation mark which annoys me. Lest anyone thinks I am not concerned with ‘accuracy’, or appropriate, sensible and meaningful punctuation use from students, that’s adamantly not the case. In my experience, students over-rely and therefore over-use exclamation marks in an attempt to declare exclamation! [You see, my use is apt]. I think we should encourage students, probably as they continue maturing as writers so not necessarily aged 11, to explore vocabulary further, but the words ‘hilarious’, ‘loved’ and ‘laughed [so much]’ carry enough weight of meaning here to not need a superfluous addition to that. Does this seem pernickety here? Perhaps, but it is the repetition of such inane premises in so much of the questioning that matters – this is one example.


My last spoof answer this year. But really – what matters more: knowing a ‘word class’ or appreciating the purpose and effect of word usage?


I don’t know the answer to this. Does this bother me? Yes and no. As an English teacher and writer I feel I should know. But it really doesn’t matter if a student, or anyone, can’t name the grammatical term.

I can imagine/understand [though ultimately not care] if a teacher would be disappointed that a student couldn’t name this having been taught explicitly, and probably relentlessly to the test and such feature-spotting exercises. I once read a teacher writing proudly about how her KS2 students could knowingly use such technical features – and quite complex ones – as if this was a significant achievement. No, it’s a dog, a clever one, doing tricks. I think it is sad [I’m being polite] when a teacher foregrounds this over students being writers. And enjoying writing.

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