You are probably used to something from me daily, if not five posts in a day. I truly have nothing to write about. Holidays next week. I will be better then. But as I know you all hang on my every word, here is one I prepared earlier that I held back because it was so badly written. You get the unedited version. Original date 8.58 pm, May 02, 2006.
Where has this man been for the last forty years? Even when I was at school ever so many years ago, a mix of modern and 'traditional' books or texts were used.
There was some Shakespeare, boring and I still don't care for it, and some traditional English poetry. I think one of my English teachers was a dyke as she was very focused on a poem, and hence we were, by whoever, called I think Christobel. I am sure there was some girl on girl references. The Ancient Mariner wasn't a bad tale. Stupid bluddy 'I saw a host of shining daffodils'. Bah! Was acid around when that was written?
For pleasure, I read poetry by Banjo Patterson at home, or stories by Henry Lawson. Far more interesting and relevant to a bush boy. I would read aloud to the family sometimes. It was guaranteed to send them to sleep in one minute flat. I can still recite Mulga Bill's Bicycle and it is as funny today as it was then, It just occured to me that there may have been a bit of stealing from Wind in the Willows. Mulga Bill's shiny new machine? Toad's flashy new car? Both came to grief with the latest technology.
But at school, we covered modern books too. Portnoy's Complaint was scandalous at the time. I was intrigued with what he did to the liver that was to be that night's family evening meal. (No, not that intrigued, besides we never had offal in our house). The Pigman by Paul Zindel was a great book and lead me to read more of his writing.
These books were new and interesting and I would devour them with a passion. Boogger the boring old stuff.
So, PM Howard wants a return to traditional texts and thinks students are being taught 'dumb English'. Children do need to be taught proper English and they should be taught a lot more of it. They need to read and read a lot, but it does not matter so much what it is so long that it is good writing. It does not have to be by studying boring old tomes.