Make Grammar Cool Again

I can’t remember if grammar used to be cool, or if I’ve always been out of touch and grammar was never cool. In any event, the one thing I know for a fact is that, currently, grammar is not cool. Any user of social media can attest to that – grammatically correct Tweets, Facebook statuses, or YouTube comments are basically ‘unicorns’ – after a while, you may begin to doubt whether or not they actually exist. Why is this the case, you ask? I really couldn’t say for certain, but I think it has something to do with culture. Hard work and virtuous self-improvement used to be cool, but you know what’s cool now? Making money easily, living a lifestyle that eliminates the need for work, showing off, having flashy possessions, etc. Where has my country gone, I ask?

drum rollThe bottom line is, from a young age, Americans are having ingrained in them this idea that working is lame. In order to get a good job, or a decent job, you need to be successful in school, right? And what is part of the scholastic curriculum? *Drum Roll* … Grammar! Let’s lay this out so it’s nice and clear:

-Not working is cool.

-Working is uncool.

-Do well in school to work.

-Grammar is a part of school.

-Disregard grammar: Become cool.

Pretty simple, right? Additionally, young people idolize celebrities who similarly disregard grammar and traditional means of education. Visit the social media accounts of one hundred celebrities and see for yourself how many of them actually know the rules of grammar, care about the rules of grammar, or are even aware that there is something that exists called ‘the rules of grammar’. If someone strives to emulate an uneducated celebrity, it seems pretty unlikely that they themselves would try to become better educated – even though from their perspective, it’s a far more realistic means towards having a functioning life.

So, what do we do about this grammar-neglecting epidemic? Do we allow society to devolve to the point at which the English language is lost to history and we communicate with different sounding grunts and various pitches of shrieks? No! We fight back. As a wise person once said – I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way. We must do a better job of not only educating our children, but of instilling in them a sense of how important grammar is. Therefore, I offer two proposals:

Firstly, let’s do a better job of using grammar checker software and making sure our children use grammar checker software. We’re lucky enough to live in 2016, a time in which programs like WhiteSmoke and Grammarly can help teach us about our grammatical shortcomings and how to improve on them. These aren’t just your basic, misplaced-comma mistakes either – these programs will help make you a better writer across the board. Take advantage of them! Edumuch has a bunch of info about these programs as well as how to use proper grammar.grammar-neglecting epidemic

Secondly, I propose that we glorify only our well-written and educated celebrities. Instead of the Kardashians or LeBron James, please follow Bill Nye the Science Guy, Neil Degrasse Tyson, George R.R. Martin, and J.K. Rowling on Twitter today. Thank you!

Why Standardized Testing Stinks

Standardized testing is inherently flawed – that much is clear. The question is, how do we go about improving our processes which are reliant on standardized testing to function efficiently? The bottom line is, standardized testing does a terrible job of measuring important qualities, such as any kind of deep or critical thinking, and more so, all test takes take the same exam under the same multiple choice conditions – a system which doesn’t account for a number of important differences and factors that can and should be weighed by our education system.Standardized testing

These tests are not remotely objective – the only objectivity that comes into play in these tests is the scoring. Deciding which material the test should cover, how to grade answers, and how to administer the exams is completely subjective. For example, if there is one student who knows 80 percent of the course material superbly well, and one student who knows 20 percent of the course material well that the first student doesn’t know, but only that 20 percent, and by chance the exam disproportionately weighs that 20 percent, the first student will be unfairly screwed by the system!

Test Scores Aren’t Reliable

Test scores are not entirely reliable given the issue of measurement errors and such, meaning that a score may vary depending on the day due to a number of different unpredictable factors within the exam as well as the student. Test scores don’t necessarily reflect tangible differences among people either; tests are intended to sort students based on performance, but measurement errors can come into play and disrupt certain factors and consistencies, artificially and unfairly hurting certain students.

Tests do not even reflect knowledge about how students learn – essentially, as people and our way of thinking and learning has evolved, standardized testing has remained exactly the same, which is obviously flawed and illogical. Cognitive and psychological developments aren’t considered in standardized testing, which is unfair for students.

Bias is something that cannot be removed from standardized exams by definition. Inevitably certain material and information will be more strongly represented in testing than others, which skews the results in that we aren’t getting an accurate idea of what the student knows of the whole of the material, only of that specific material that has been chosen. Additionally, research shows that teachers do not even find the scores and results for students from standardized testing to be helpful! If teachers can’t learn and benefit from standardized testing, what use is it continue to make students take standardized tests.

It’s time to introduce testing into the 21st century. Nearly everyone concedes that standardized testing is outdated and inefficient, but the protocols and procedures that are supposed to be standard themselves are keeping the same old not-helpful systems in place, hurting everyone in the process. My recommendation would be to begin phasing out standardized testing slowly, so as to learn which replacement for it works best over time and via trial and error. If we begin doing this now we will most certainly be able to build a better education system for our children. We here are all about self improvement so it’s important for us to promote ideas that create a better future.