Writ­ing skills crit­i­cal in ed­u­ca­tion

The Manica Post - - Education/entertainment - Mor­ris Mtisi

PER­FECT speak­ing must be com­ple­mented by per­fect writ­ing. If lan­guage learn­ing must be com­plete, both speak­ing well or ef­fec­tively and writ­ing must be de­vel­oped with equal re­fine­ment. Have you ever re­alised that today’s chil­dren from as early as ECD speak English very well? Some of them are more flu­ent than their teach­ers.

They speak real Lon­don English and twist their tongues so beau­ti­fully you can mis­take them for black Amer­i­cans. They bal­ance their tenses and hardly breach ac­knowl­edged rules of gram­mar. Their tense con­trol is per­fect. They will amaze you with their flu­ency and con­fi­dence. All that is fine!

I want to re­mind se­ri­ous teach­ers of English Lan­guage that while speak­ing English like a nightin­gale is fine and an added ad­van­tage in many in­stances and cir­cum­stances in life, writ­ing is more crit­i­cal.

All ex­am­i­na­tions are writ­ten and not spo­ken.

That needs no over-em­pha­sis. If you speak English bet­ter than Churchill and Obama put to­gether, but can­not ‘speak’ ef­fec­tively and in­tel­li­gently to the ex­am­in­ers in writ­ing, you have ma­jored in a mi­nor.

Speak­ing well im­presses a prospec­tive boyfriend or girl­friend...a fu­ture wife or hus­band. It is good for courtship, film-act­ing and ra­dio or tele­vi­sion show-biz. It’s good for im­age mak­ing... there is no doubt about that.

Those who speak bet­ter, win spouses ear­lier than la­conic, dreary, bor­ing, te­dious, lack­lus­tre love can­di­dates. Some politi­cians win votes through flam­ing or­a­tory...beau­ti­ful and pow­er­ful speeches.

There is charm and power in beau­ti­ful speak­ing. But you need to make sure you are not breach­ing ac­knowl­edged rules of gram­mar. You need to make sure you can cor­rectly spell those words you pro­nounce and enun­ci­ate so mu­si­cally and en­tic­ingly. Be­sides that, re­mem­ber speak­ing gains sense and mean­ing by ges­tic­u­la­tion, body lan­guage, in­to­na­tion and enun­ci­a­tion. All th­ese lin­guis­tic dec­o­ra­tive ac­com­pa­ni­ments are ab­sent in writ­ing. There­fore your writ­ing must be solidly ef­fec­tive and uniquely flavour­some. Weari­some, unin­spir­ing, hum­drum writ­ing is a chronic dis­ease.

This ver­bal pan­demic is re­spon­si­ble for our na­tional low-pass rate syn­drome.

We have too many stu­dents who can­not write skil­fully and in some cases, hardly mean­ing­fully. And much more of them who can only speak well but can­not write well. In case you have for­got­ten! Al­most ev­ery year more than 75 per­cent, some­times as many as 80 per­cent do not pass a min­i­mum of five sub­jects in one sit­ting.

English teach­ers, lis­ten! Pi­o­neer lin­guis­tics sci­en­tists or re­searchers like Noam Chom­sky talk about a Lan­guage Ac­qui­si­tion De­vice (LAD). This is a hy­po­thet­i­cal mod­ule of the hu­man mind posited to ac­count for chil­dren’s in­nate pre­dis­po­si­tion for lan­guage ac­qui­si­tion...it is there em­bed­ded on the hu­man brain...God given.

It is a tool hard-wired to help the child to rapidly learn and un­der­stand lan­guage.

This is the de­vice that nat­u­rally en­ables chil­dren to learn speech fast. But there is no such de­vice that nat­u­rally de­vel­ops writ­ing skills. This must come from the teacher.

It is a course which de­mands spe­cial tech­niques and skills. Never ever ig­nore this as­pect of lin­guis­tic de­vel­op­ment.

Good writ­ing presents more durable skills than good speak­ing. Good writ­ing skills make ex­am­i­na­tions eas­ier. Ed­u­ca­tion re­volves around good speak­ing, but is sus­tained by good writ­ing. Good writ­ers write for all...good speak­ers speak to a few. Lest you for­get!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.