A student who joined my writing tutoring class recently had gotten 97% in grade 9 English, yet the writing she showed me had many grammar problems and was difficult to follow in places.
I asked her how it was possible to get 97% in English with such problems.
She replied that she knew she had lots of grammar problems and that she had asked her teacher for help. However, her teacher replied that in her class, “we only focus on big ideas – we don’t worry about little things like grammar.”
1. Tiger moms' efforts hide what's really happening in the classroom.
2. There are NO specific standards for what children are supposed to know.
3. Teachers don't know how to teach grammar. Not even English teachers with many ESL students are required to know how to teach grammar.
4. Most of what is taught in English is irrelevant for 98% of students.
5. Widespread grade inflation hides what's happening in the classroom from parents.
The problem ISN'T that students don't have the strategies and skills to understand a text. The problem ISN'T that they don't know how to skim and scan or make predictions about a text. The problem is that they understand the text only at the word level, but not what the whole thing means or how the ideas fit together. All of their brain power, their working memory, is devoted to understanding the words and there's no spare capacity for general understanding of what it means.