Today I looked at the web site of an examination board to see a new English language syllabus and was invited to look at a promotional video, complete with shots of the board’s web site pages and pictures of English teachers reading solemnly from prepared texts. Over several minutes they tried to tell me how much better this syllabus and its associated paperwork would be for other teachers and their students.
The “Education Industry” is going mad. In a fraction of the time all this took I could have read all of substance that was said, in a succinct paragraph or a list of snappy bullet points. If you are over 42 you may well remember the summary paper that was part of the O-level English language paper. This test really sorted the sheep from the goats for we had to read with intelligent understanding and write accurately and concisely. Now, it seems, not even the examination boards can do this. Important skills are being lost because we expect too little.
The written language can convey much material quickly when written well, and provide a record. Studying English that has been written well can also help us to speak out convincingly, purposefully and to good effect. I have now written a second English text book, for young adults and those who wish to help them. Read the introduction at: https://www.peterinson.net/better-english/