Secret Teacher: My pupils’ creativity is being crushed by the punctuation police

Jul 25, 2016 by

Children should be dreaming up quirky characters and gripping cliffhangers. Instead they are worrying about semi-colons and the passive voice

“Sir, can you read my story?”

It’s a request that fills me with dread, because I know what will follow.

I will read the story and delight at how well developed the characters are, how effectively suspense has been built up and how great the ending is.

But none of that matters. All that matters in year 6 are the interim teacher assessment frameworks. These make it clear that writing an engaging story is of secondary importance – what really counts is being able to use the passive voice, chuck in a modal verb, employ cohesive devices and throw in some semi-colons.

I read the story. It’s good and the author is rightly proud. However, it doesn’t have many sentences starting with conjunctions and it is lacking colons and semi-colons. According the government-devised scheme for judging writing, this child is not working at the expected standard.

I have no choice but to convey some of this in the hope that this pupil will include some more fronted adverbials next time and please the powers that be. There is no room for discretion or negotiation in the framework.

Source: Secret Teacher: My pupils’ creativity is being crushed by the punctuation police | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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