I love Michael Rosen!

 It’s because he comes right out with it. And the ‘it’ he’s been coming right out with lately is about the punctuation and grammar expected of primary school children.

Here’s a piece I shamelessly lifted from his Facebook page;

To summarise this morning’s adventures in SPaG-land: a) many teachers are teaching that ‘fronted adverbials’ are ‘adverbial phrases that come before the main verb’ as with, ‘In a great hurry, he left the house’ and these are not ‘clauses’ because they DON’T contain a verb. 2. On this morning’s mock SPaG test, my son had a sentence that contained a clause (i.e. with a verb) that came before the main verb and he was asked to choose if it was a conjunction, a relative clause, a noun phrase or a fronted adverbial. The only feasible one is ‘fronted adverbial’ BUT it contains a verb.

So now we have the possibility that we have two overlapping categories, ‘fronted adverbial’ and ‘subordinate clause’ i.e. a ‘subordinate clause’ coming before the main verb would be a ‘fronted adverbial’ along with an adverb, or an adverbial phrase. If a subordinate clause came after the main verb, it would not be ‘fronted’.

That piece of useless information, used to terrorise 10/11 year olds and their teachers is today’s bit of wisdom from Rosen. Thank you.

Poor kids! Have you ever heard such a load of English codswallop? Have you any idea at all how this is supposed to enhance a child’s experience of writing or encourage them to do it?

Neither have I. He talks about it again on his blog.

Now I know I’m not in the same league as Michael Rosen and his wonderful poetry and writings, but I think I can get my messages across fairly okay, but I have had absolutely no idea what fronted adverbials look like even if they leapt up and hit me in the face like wet fish! I have actually managed up till now without knowing. And even more amazing people read and like my stuff!

Connoisseurs of English will no doubt revel in these types of language recipes – but let’s save it for the connoisseurs, for when they’re older, and not push it on poor little kids who don’t give a fronted adverbial and would rather be out playing football, which incidentally would serve them a lot better.

Thank goodness for Michael helping to show this current idiocy in education for what it is.

And thank goodness there’s home education for those who want to opt out of it!

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8 thoughts on “I love Michael Rosen!

  1. Yikes! If it makes a literate 38 yr old feel confused and stupidly inadequate, goodness knows how the kids feel! 😛 To be honest, I would need to look up the meaning of grammatical descriptions (adverbial whatsits) if I really needed to know – but hang on, no I can’t say I’ve ever needed it despite having a pretty good knowledge and application of the English language.

    • Quite! Absolutely! And these days we all have the Internet to look up such terms – if we ever needed them! I think most people will have learned, graduated, worked quite happily without, but let’s press them on ten year old’s and watch them squirm!! Not!! 😉 Great to have you here!

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