Mon. Apr 6th, 2020

It looked coming | Society

It looked coming | Society

The problem of orthographic misprints has been climbing levels and has reached one of the highest, that of the tests to acquire the status of official teacher in secondary education. This is clear from information, as interesting as depressing, appeared in this newspaper last Saturday. Yes, he saw himself coming.

We found out by reading it that in the tests of this year, almost 10% of the vacancies were vacant, despite the fact that ten applicants were presented for each one. Apparently, the spelling and grammatical errors were decisive for the failure of "a not insignificant number of opponents".

I agree with the evaluations made by the teacher Amparo Medina-Bocos to the journalist: when the current professors were children they did not require spelling, and now they "do not know how to teach it" (nor, consequently, demand it).

It is common to hear secondary school teachers complaining about "how they get" primary school children. To those of Bachillerato expressing the same complaint with respect to those of the compulsory secondary school. And the university students lamenting the level with which students leave the institutes and colleges. Now it is the judges of the oppositions to the teaching profession who will blame the mess to the professors of the university. The circle has been closed, the chain of lamentations has been crowned. One for another, and the house without sweeping.

"I accuse myself of having relaxed in Philology the level of demand to avoid major escabechinas"

I have been a language teacher in secondary education and now I am a professor of Philology at the university. And I accuse myself of having – in the latter – relaxed the level of demand to avoid major escabechinas. If you have subtracted points from the grades, grading the discount according to whether it was a lack of literal spelling (one point) or accentuation (half a point). I acknowledge having done it, yes, even though something in my own mind told me that, in the case of an aspiring philologist, it would be plausible to be more severe with the faults of the first type; or that he should not get the pass, down from ten to five, an examination that, deserving for its "content" the highest grade, at the same time suffered from ten lacks of accentuation (a circumstance that in practice is never given, because expression and content go hand in hand, but at least it was theoretically possible). The paradox is that applying these criteria has earned me a certain reputation as "hard", a probable sign that those of other colleagues were more benevolent or perhaps nonexistent.

(I would like, in parentheses, to correct a small inaccuracy in the information published in the newspaper. He gives to understand that lack of accentuation and punctuation are not spelling but "prosody". It is not like that: they are misspellings as much as those that pertain to the use of letters. Prosody is not the spelling of the accents of intensity and intonation, it is the very manifestation in the oral expression of what accents and punctuations reflect in the writing).

For the article that I comment I come in knowledge of disturbing things. For example, that "some regions have begun to penalize now" ¿Now? So late? Does that mean that until now they did not?

Another is that the same scale that generates remorse is adopted, but nothing less than to be a language teacher, in the tests of the Community of Madrid. And in those of other subjects one is applied that is half of severe – or double of benign-: 0.50 points for each fault and 0.25 for each tilde. This means that a candidate can obtain a position as a professor of various subjects with ten spelling mistakes "properly said" and twenty spelling mistakes (which are also strictly speaking spelling mistakes). One language, with half, which are still too many.

"I can only hope that the courts of the oppositions to teachers are ratified in their desire to demand and even raise the level of it"

He also worried about reading, at the end of the information, that most of the participants were interim professors. That is, as stated there, they had to previously obtain the CAP (Certificate of Pedagogical Aptitude) or overcome a master's degree in teacher training. And worst of all: that the day after do not overcome the tests to be officials returned to the classroom to continue exercising their work, as interim.

Having recognized myself as co-responsible for the present situation, I will not be given much credit if I proposed solutions. I can only hope that the courts of the oppositions to teachers are ratified in their desire to demand and even raise the level of it. Let's see if that reverberates backwards in the previous levels: university education, entrance exams to the university, Baccalaureate, Compulsory Secondary Education, primary.

Two last considerations. One: it has a crime that causes us problems with a spelling like ours, much simpler than the orthographe of French or spelling of English, and with a system of accentuation much sharper than the Italian. "But man," I say to my students, "if we can not complain, if we have a spelling that we do not deserve."

And two: this happens in a country where it was known that the oppositions to the corps of high school professors – now dismantled – were even more demanding than those of entry into the faculty of the university.

Pedro Álvarez de Miranda He is a member of the Royal Spanish Academy.


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