Time for a ‘great debate’ on schooling?

Headmaster Anthony Seldon’s calls for an urgent debate on the future of education, because it’s become “formulaic and mechanised”, have received widespread coverage in the media. So is he right – do we need another shake-up, or is that the last thing that should be on the agenda?

Writing in The Observer, Anthony Seldon, political commentator and headmaster of private school Wellington College, called for a new education debate – 35 years after James Callaghan called for his great debate because of apparent public concerns over informal teaching methods. This paved the way for the national curriculum.

“Our schools and universities are geared towards the requirements of the 20th century, with students assessed on regurgitating information, but often incapable or unwilling to think independently,” argues Dr Seldon, in his Observer piece (14.2.2010).

“Concerns are now heard that the new focus on league tables is narrowing the quality and breadth of education,” he says.

“‘Punch-drunk’ with constant reforms”

The Daily Telegraph quoted a spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families, who said Dr Seldon’s view was “very negative”. And the Telegraph also reported John Dunford, secretary general of the Association of School and College Leaders, as saying that “changes were unlikely to be popular with staff who were already ‘punch-drunk’ with constant reforms”.

Meanwhile news blog EducationState welcomed the call for a debate, but one that is “genuine and open to all”, not one monopolised by what it describes as “Establishment figures”.

* Are we teaching pupils to think or just to pass exams? Is it time for a Great Debate, or is that the last thing pupils and teaching staff need? What do you think?

21 thoughts on “Time for a ‘great debate’ on schooling?

  1. As a teacher of science since 1978 I deplore the fact that what goes on in our schools is reduced to getting students to jump through hoops to pass exams. The curriculum is fragmented and incomplete, with no time to explore the really exciting stuff. So, yes, maybe it is time for that debate.

  2. Teach8ng with a 3 Part lesson plans etc is far too formulaic. One never knows in a History lesson where EXACTLY the lesson may go because of pupil responses to questions. What we should seek to achieve in the end of their time at school is pupils who can think for themselves, be questioning and not easily satisfied, who are tolerant and unselfish and who are in a;; senses of the word: EDUCATED. in brief a person who has acquired cargo for life’s long journey, who realizes the beauty of music, art, etc and above all is a human being.

  3. I ended my 40 year teaching career a few short years ago and left feeling frustrated. I have worked in higher, vocational and school sectors in Austrlia and overseas, managing, teaching in the classroom and working in curriculum, registration and audit.

    The changes introduced and poorly maintained by federal and state governments over the last 15 years has resulted in a measurable deteriation in the design of programmes, programme implimentation and the standards regulation of educational benchmaks.

    A few short years ago, teacher training entry standards were lowered. As a consequence, teaching strategies have now been reduced to blindly following the pages of published text books rather than the innovative design of teacher driven resources and assessment items that would meet the needs of the student and the many different classroom environments, presented to staff every semester.

    For me personally, the senior school sector came as the greatest disspointment of all.
    I saw very little evidence of documented planning or schemes detailing learning strategies or student study guides. What I found was rushed lists of topic headings and the photocopying of pages from text books and online web pages, often completed just before the start of the class.

    Very few teachers recorded strategies about where they were going and failed to document important historical records. Many experienced and mature casual staff were rarely provided with teaching resources other than the odd word game or video that the students had so often seen a few weeks before. Clearly, casuals were not employed to teach.

    At one metropolitan school I can remember having to use a team managed text book that was only available for alternate classes as there were not enough copies in the library. When I enquired about any evidence of planning, I was informed by school staff and the teachers union that schemes and progress records were the intellectual property of the teacher.

    On another occasion I was asked to conduct an english comprehension examination and given strict instructions to read from a text book to my grade class. The students informed me that only 50% could read the examination text.

    Vocational training has suffered a similar fate. There is valid and reliable evidence that our skill shortage is underpinned by the many thousands of poorly educated and trained gradutes that seek employment every year.

    Our governments need to understand that if we are to face a future and manage global warming, pollution, diminished oil reserves (5 years) and other natural resources, we had better get our act together. IT driven systems and programmed learning strategies are a poor substitute for the delivery of effective learning strategies and teaching students to manage their learning.

    An effective teacher can teach a student core skills in a air conditioned tin shed or even a
    new sports hall (thank you Julia)

  4. I totally agree. The kids I teach can’t bear it when it’s not spoon-fed. They’re so used to not thinking that when they’re asked to they protest!

    I think the whole school system- except, that is, the private schools- need to be done away with and some form of military style requirement take over. A lot of the secondary schools I go to are in impossible situations with very demoralised staff.

  5. As the song says “Well it’s alright now…I learned my lesson well..you can’t please everyone so you gotta please yourself.”

    Having taught for over 25 years now, like many in my position I have taken what I found useful from the many initiatives, strategies and so on, and applied them to my teaching. Essentially however, I must confess that I teach much the same now as I have always done, believing that what I think, or know is right is the only way I can proceed in this task. Of course one has to make a contribution to the ever-growing mountain of unread text that seems to be required these days, but I have to go forward with the notion that it is what is in my head that matters, and my clarity of what is needed to be taught and learned.
    When it come down to it, we have to find our own way to teach and though the many, too many initiatives and so on are useful, I have never found that they work entirely for me. I have to internalize the material and find my own way to put it across that makes most sense to me. Somehow this individual need to find one’s own way in teaching has been lost, overlooked or simply taken for granted. To me it is what makes me want to get up in the morning and do the job. It is this that fires the enthusiasm and the “charisma” of the task which in turn transmits to the students. The authorities don’t need to give us more “systems”. They need to allow us room to enthuse, and connect with young people in a meaningful way. As we learnt many years ago, we are not merely filling buckets, nor do such buckets gain from being weighed so often with all the testing now …
    The students will still pass the exams I think you will find, and well…but without becoming neurotic, knee-jerk unthinking vegetables. It is about time the powers at large listened to the people who do the job and who have all the fire and enthusiasm to achieve success. And above all know in their bones what to do and how to do it. Let us continue the call for an end to incessant testing, tick lists and overload of material. It is quality of education which matters, not quantity…always… when will the authorities realize this?
    No more idiotic systems drawn up by beaurocrats please, but freedom to do the best we can, which most of us do anyway ( …and pretend…like the Emperor’s clothes)
    But let us do it without the hindrance, the unbelievable dead-weight of all the present baggage.
    What did Jesus say…something like “give to Caesar that which is due to Caesar, and give to God that which is due to God.”
    Let us all ask the question “Who needs Caesar?”

  6. Having just left teaching I could not agree more with Dr Seldon. The curricula, internal assesment and examinations are a joke.
    I am no statistician but when exam results rise year upon year should we not be questioning why, rather than congratulating ourselves, and in the process letting down those who we are paid to teach and support? The English system, with multiple exam boards, allowing schools to pick and chose those which provide the easiest exam is simply wrong. The Scottish system, with a single exam board and a consistent level of achievement year upon year is not only fairer but gives students and higher institutions a real idea of standards.
    I left secondary education for further education a few years ago and am still shocked by the appalling levels of grammar and arithmetic shown by the students. We are not only robbing them of the delight of a good education but cheating them into believing that they are earning “degrees” which in fact are less than worthless: they not only don’t equip them for work but they are left with huge debts to pay off.
    All this emphasis on so-called tertiary education has downgraded the trades, not that many are equipped for them any more, being barely able to add up or to read a plan.
    Grammar has declined to the extent that even the BBC and The Times use “sat” when they should be using “sitting.”
    It is time to overhaul education as well as teacher training; many teachers, trained in the past decade or so have the same limitations as the students I have just described. In my opinion this does not require throwing money at education just using what we do have in the best way possible.
    As a final rant, I would question whether students should be using computers to produce their work. Recently in a class of thirty plus, asked to write a short presentation on a simple aspect of reproductive biology all but one “cut and pasted” their work from the internet, not always from reliable sites – another area in which students need teaching. My impression, as the classroom assistant in this instance, but also as a biology teacher, was that the one student who wrote her work in the old fashioned way, using the internet merely as a source of information, was the only one who showed that she actually understood what she had written. Others clearly were clueless, as they had veered off their set topics without even realising it.
    Led by a “biology teacher” who who did know the meaning of “totipotent” I wonder if they will ever understand their set topics. Cynically, though, I suspect that they will pass the “set criteria” for their qualification and be off to some ex-technical college/university to gain another useless degree for the benefit of the U.K.
    Incidentally, with all the technical colleges turning into universities where will we get the technicians/tradesmen of the future? Will they all require a worthless degree too?
    These are issues that need to be addressed, and soon, before we are left with the lucky few who attended decent (often Grammar) schools and the underclass who will write in “textspeak” and add up only with the aid of a calculator. Calculators will not require division or multiplication functions as no-one will know when/how to use them anyway.

  7. Teaching is too mechanical and robotic.We expect the children to learn what we know and the way we want them to. This is putting them in ‘straight jacket’. We are teaching less and instructing more, we have lost the art of getting children excited and tickling their curiosity to explore new ideas and new thinking.Every aspect of teaching even playing on schoolground is controlled and this not good.

  8. Change always brings a lot of negative things with it – extra work, more training etc but change has to happen – or we’d all still be teaching the Victorian way! I think short term pain equals long term gain and although the initial changes would be hard, once in place, hopefully these new directives would stay around long enough to have made the change worthwhile.

  9. Time for a Great Debate? We are miles beyond the deadline. Show me a school without a Samaritans poster in the staff room. Show me a child who understands the role they play in their own learning, a school who believes that all the answers aren’t found on the outside or a teacher who feels trusted. I am horrified at what I have experienced in the reality of our education system. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that those who have the power of say, know what to say at all.

  10. My experience is that students have lost respect and teachers are burnt out, myself included, with overweighted manuals, curriculum, textbooks and testing. Somehow everything has to slow down, the burden taken off the backs of teachers and the academic year brought back to sanity. Some parents have forgone the necessity of disciplining their kids and that has fallen to teachers, with school administrators wary of enforcing respect themselves. The result is a revolving door of unruly students who can ruin a class with no redress. Junior teachers have to be shown the art of teaching, of engaging, entertaining and educating the future. It requires a ruthless purge of unnecessary academic junk, maintaining disciplin, keeping to a life outside of school, and remaining true to the passion of teaching

  11. Yes, we need change! I can’t speak for secondary schools, but in primary schools teaching and learning are like swimming against the tide, as children and staff are being pushed in impractical and ineffective directions.

    I am never surprised when I read reports about how basic literacy and numeracy standards have slipped – the clues are there in the beginning, in primary schools.

    Would that schools were allowed to be flexible enough to meet the individual needs of particular classes and children, rather than children being expected to meet the needs of the national system. And would that teachers had the time, space and freedom to teach in ways that suit the actual children in front of them.

    So many children are being pressured to move along with the curriculum pace, rather than the other way around. There is so much packed into the timetable that many are only just getting going with a subject activity, when it’s time to stop. Furthermore, theory (often at a level above the heads of many) has taken the place of practice.

    Children learn best by seeing and doing, but barely get the chance to do more than listen …and get bored and frustrated. Every student has the ability to experience the satisfaction of learning and succeeding in some subject area(s) and in some type of activity; but the needs of many are ignored as the fact that children learn in different ways, and have different types of intelligences, is ignored.

    Of course, teachers do their best with the situation in which they find themselves, but it is far from ideal for either staff or children (and both are important).

    Let’s meet the needs of the children and the staff. And let’s remember that they, above all others (education department and parents included), are there on the front line and know what they need and what works for them.

    Rather than maintain our current establishments where uniformity and conformity rule, let’s make schools relevant, exciting, diverse, stimulating places of learning and success.

  12. Absolutely, schooling is about change. Stimulus to learning is like a contagious spread forcefully controlled by selfinflicted comfort and uniforma feed. It’s well known that every educator must be involved in constant learning just to be able to maintain the transit of the learning attitude to the students.
    A fair challenge must prevail in every learning environment. Bless those great educators who can induce a healthy learning environment where every child has a clear opportunity to success.

  13. The ever-increasing expectation to improve year-on-year is plain stupid. Are the pupils’ brains evolving at a rate beyond the whole theory of evolution? Will a Y7 kid be that bit much brighter than the Y8 kid? Of course not, which is why schools:

    1. Cheat. Blatantly. I’ve seen a head of department tell kids the answers in GCSE exams.
    2. Put immense pressure on classroom teachers to produce outstanding lessons continually.
    3. Devise paperwork that is restrictive, standardised for no reason, and takes longer to do than the actual lessons.
    4. Get a “Superhead” in, pay them a fortune, and watch them do amazing things such as change the school uniform, the school name and calling it an academy. From special measures to outstanding. Yeah, right.
    5. Do the easiest courses. Exam boards should not be private businesses; it should be one central authority.

    Take BTEC Science. The course is not spoon-feeding; it is breast-feeding. The hardest bit the kids have to do is put their name on each sheet of paper, which they largely don’t. They do enjoy colouring in the front cover though. And their reward? 2 GCSEs. For doing absolutely no thinking whatsoever.

    Last, and by no means least, get “cover supervisors” to take lessons. I’ve seen lab technicians take science lessons. Would you go to your doctor and accept the receptionist writing you a prescription? Ah, but look at the money they can save to employ a SuperHead.

    What the hell are employers going to think when some 16 year-old with 8 GCSEs starts working for them, and they can’t read or write?

    I could go on; I’ll be back!

  14. The thing that is particularly annoying me at present is the way in which the word ‘Learning’ has been corrupted. It now seems to mean only ‘a particular set of quantifiable processes, delivered by a certain set of approved methods, with the only end being exam success’. It also assumes that it is a linear process, and that it is 100% controllable by the teacher – again with the same end in mind. Learning is an automatic process – you might as well discuss breathing. To reduce it to this simplistic, mechanical drudgery is in my eyes the ultimate dumbing down of our culture – for both teachers and pupils.
    It is about time that there was some movement was started to speak back against this idiocy – if only I knew how…! Seldon speaks much sense – it’s only a pity that the jobsworths who are our poltical masters can’t think of any more original response – but then I suppose they may well be the products of their own advocated methods…

  15. In our school, we have our objectives and vision- mission, which are our guide in our day to day interaction with our students. We don’t just teach the children to think and to pass exams but more importantly, we teach them good values by integrating in our lessons inspiring experiences or information that we know are effective and helpful in convincing them to change for the better. In this way, they are molded intellectually and behaviorally. Teaching is a profession which requires dedication and commitment. It may be a great thing to be discussed or debated on, but not a thing to exaggerate because whether a teacher likes it or, when he or she took oath after acquiring his or her teaching profession, he or she got the responsibility to make a difference, with the child in school, with his or her colleagues and with the people in the community whom he or she serves.

  16. “Our schools and universities are geared towards the requirements of the 20th century, with students assessed on regurgitating information, but often incapable or unwilling to think independently,” argues Dr Seldon, in his Observer piece (14.2.2010).
    I agree with Dr Seldon. The question is ‘What do we do about the situation?’ I have an admittedly and unashamedly biased answer to the question and it is in the form of a question:
    ‘How can we teach children to learn to ask good quality questions about what, how, and why they are learning so that they learn to think more widely, more responibly and more independently?’
    My subject is English but I have also taught Drama, KS3 History, AS Critical Thinking and study skills, and a little Philosophy thrown in for good measure. Over the years, I have attended INSET courses run by LEA’s and external agencies and paid for courses in Philosophy for Children, Accelerated Learning, and Neuro Linguistic Programming out of my own pocket; so if I misunderstand what teaching is about it is not for want of trying to get to grips with the issue.
    For the first five years of my teaching career I was really ‘settling in’ to practising what I consder to be the art of teaching. I was able to learn my art by from the many good teachers around me in the schools of Oxfordshire and the North East, and I might add, from the pages of the works of Plato and Aristotle.
    What I learned from those teachers, and from my time in the classroom with pupils, was that the ‘open secret’ of how to teach was to ask good questions of pupils and then to allow pupils the time to answer the questions asked; and once they had found confidence in answering questions, then teach them to ask the kind of questions that would allow them to learn more. The best questions formulate what needs to be done, make us focus on the essence of problems that face us, make us more focused about what we need to debate.
    The late Professor Ted Wragg considered questioning so important that he wrote a fine, albeit brief, book about it for the Successful Teaching Series (‘Questioning in the Secondary School’) 2001). According to Ted Wragg, we teachers ask dozens, if not hundreds of questions a day and that means thousands per term, tens of thousands in a year, and into the millions in a professional lifetime. Given this, he maintains that we need to be clear about the kinds of questions we ask and the kinds of questions we sponsor in our pupils.
    There is a problem with focusing on questions and questioning methods, though, and that problem is bound up with time and the demands of the curriculum. Formulatiing and delivering the right kind of question for pupils and then teaching them, through the use of questions, how to ask good questions takes time, hours and hours of classroom time and the building of safe enquiring communities in the English classroom or in the laboratory. Did Socrates and Aristotle, two of the best of all famous Western questioners, have a National Curriculum to follow? Did they have to think twice about whether their performance as a communicator was ‘outstanding, good, satisfactory…?. Did they have to keep looking over their shoulders wondering whether a particular line of questioning was going to take them off the timetabled track of coursework submission and/or modular exam preparation?
    We teachers have our own question to answer:
    ‘How can we, without rancour or re-blaming, best persuade the Government of the day, regardless of their political persuasion, to give us the time and resources to teach our children how to ask the kind of questions that will produce the most useful education for future generations?’
    Any answers?

  17. Well a starting point Ian would be an attentive class; a quality audience. I have watched the standards of behaviour of the pupils diminish significantly over the years. Obviously some schools have more of a problem than others. But when I was at school myself (well after corporal punishment was abolished I might add), even though the school’s catchment area had the second-highest crime rate in the city, nobody would ever tell a teacher to f*** off. Indeed, we would never say, “No” to a teacher. The worst we did was try to pin the blame on someone else if we misbehaved, but we did what the teacher asked us to do even if we did moan about it.

    Now funnily enough I would rather have a pupil swear at me than say, “No”. Refusing instructions is the most serious issue in my mind. Of course, engaging lessons, differentiation and so forth may minimise this problem, but it still exists.

    Having done both “permanent” and supply work I have seen over 100 schools. The way with which the school deals with refusal of instructions is directly proportional to its success, within the normal limits of catchment area. Some of the more pleasant schools I have taught at have been where one would least expect, because of the way with which behaviour is dealt with. Likewise, the opposite has also been the case.

    When I first started teaching, the Muslim girls were an absolute delight to teach. Polite, compliant, helpful, everything a teacher could wish for. A few weeks ago I had one tell me to f*** off, and another run out of the class because I was going to keep her behind. It was at that point that I realised just how bad he situation is now, compared to 15 years ago.

    The best system I have come across was called Actions and Consequences, I think. One interruption by a pupil and they get a C1 (Consequence 1). Another interruption to the lesson by the same pupil, and they get a C2, and are kept behind for a minute or two to apologise. Another, and it’s a C3, which means a detention taken by senior management in an exam-style situation after school, parents contacted by the office, on the same day. The great thing about this is that teachers can give out detentions without putting themselves in detention; they are free to do some work or go home and rest. Another great thing is that the pupils in this school DREAD getting a C3, so at the point of getting a C2, they generally behave like angels.

    Now there are certain situations that are listed in the classroom that would merit a jump to an immediate C3, as you all can imagine. But if a pupil gets a C3 and STILL causes trouble, they get a C4, senior management are called and the pupil is removed and suspended immediately, usually internally. They will serve time away from their friends, have breaks and dinner at different times – they are isolated. It works.

    A similar sort of system is used to give rewards. A good answer to a question and the pupil gets a stamp in their planner, which is open on their desk. These are totted up termly or yearly for physical rewards. It works.

    Now on the other side of the coin, we have the schools with weak, wishy-washy systems. You can give a detention as you see fit, and if they don’t turn up, they get another chance, then it goes to a head of department detention, and by this time the whole concept of immediate, effective consequences is lost. In some cases, the pupils prefer the department detention to mine. If you wanted to go round your mate’s house and play computer games on the Wednesday when your detention should be, would you go to the detention or go to the second-chance one, or the department one, or the head of year one? It’s a no-brainer. Sanctions must ascend in severity and be immediate.

    All teachers have the right to teach, and all pupils have the right to learn, in that order. Pupils must take account of their own actions, and with a firm, whole-school rapid-fire set of sanctions, we can achieve both.

  18. May I commend to you all two books that made me change my approach? (whatever the thought-police say, I teach MY way – and Ian, yes it’s an art, not a science).

    Firstly, read ‘Affluenza’ by Oliver James. Twice. First time, read it as a commentary on society at large and look for what afflicts our pupils. Second time, read it as a sustained metaphor for the education system, and see what afflicts us all in Education. It explains, amongst other things, pupil disenchantment, teacher stress and infinite management/government calls for More.

    Secondly, read ‘In Praise of Slow’ (can’t remember author) It’s badly written but still thought provoking. There is now a Slow Schools movement. I completely agree with your thoughts about the need for space and time in the learning process. These books explain why it’s needed.

    I have also noticed that pupils’ expectations are far more easily influenced by what schools tell them than we think: if you give them the expectation of wall-to-wall, instant ease edu-tainment, then that is what they will come through expecting – and act up if you make them work for more. Another own goal! I also teach Critical Thinking (including AS to KS4) and it is the devil of a job to get them to realise that they need to use pure intellect, patience and perseverance with that subject – but it can be done – SLOWLY!

    But this process works! (at least for me) Pupils stop feeling treated as though they are on a treadmill and start thinking again – once you can train them not to switch off after 2 nanoseconds. They also start to see you as a teacher not a slave-driver. FWIW, it also, to some extent, seems to echo what the grand old men who taught me at Grammar School in the 70’s knew – deep learning takes time and should not be hurried or mechanised.

    But how to gain more awareness for such ideas? As someone said yesterday, I am now seeing new teachers coming through having known nothing other than the present malaise themselves.

  19. From what I have seen, in the city the behavior has deteriorated and the administration responds by reducing back-up and supplementing the reduced back-up with the slogan “The student needs to be in the room. After all, that is where learning occurs.” , and,”Punishment does not work.” Teachers, recognizing that in-class interventions that used to work, no longer work because of the lack of an ultimate consequence, shift away from behavior sensitive methods such as lecture, discussion and Socratic method, and toward disruption proof methods such as worksheets and projects, the “Crayola method”. What is generally lacking in public discussion of this problem is the precurser to the aforementioned trivial methods of instruction, misbehavior and failure to acknowledge and deal with it. When I as a teacher enter a school and school system guilty of this and deal with it as well as I can at my level, conflict results because students expect to get away with misbehavior and are supported in this expectation by most of the faculty and administration. I am seen as speaking a foreign language. Last Summer I cracked down on it with the backing of the administrator and received compliments from administration, faculty, and some honest students. This winter, in a different environment, I was fired from the second from the bottom high school in the 10th from the bottom of 386 districts in the state.

  20. Indeed I saw a student teacher in tears a short while ago, because the class took advantage of her. There was nothing wrong about her planning, but the school discipline policy didn’t allow her to do anything other than issue detentions, which the kids won’t turn up to.

    I also saw another student teacher in tears because of how she was humiliated by the teacher who was feeding back to her! He basically told her that she was a total failure, and her lesson was rubbish. What kind of man-management is that?

    I mentored the same student, and there is no way that she was any kind of failure. She was a good teacher in the making, and after the lesson, during feedback, I started each point with a positive note, and suggested if she thought if it would be better if she did this a different way, or spent more time going through this; this approach allows the teacher to open up and admit what they could have done better themselves. And a I reassured her not to worry; we’ve all made these mistakes when we were training.

    No disrespect to our headteacher who started this blog – I’m sure he’s a great head – but I have come across some very strange senior management in my time. Some have refused to participate in any “on-call”, “patrol” or whatever one may wish to call it, because they teach also.

    Some senior managers have patrolled the corridors, had a sneaky peek through the window, and if there was any problem in the lesson, send a nasty e-mail to the head of department, telling them to pass on the bollocking. But they would never actually enter the room and make their physical presence known.

    The most supportive way of helping teachers is for at least a senior manager to pop their head in occasionally; regular teachers such as myself welcome it.

    A strong senior management with positive MAN-management, virtually guarantees an excellent school.

  21. Bump, as they say!

    That’s another thing. Whilst the internet is a fantastic learning tool when used correctly, the English language is being bastardised exponentially. Americanisms, text-messaging phrases and words that mean nothing unless you take part in internet board-based activities, are taking over. “Your” and “You’re” are being used interchangeably, and the argument is that language is owned by people; it is a living thing and will evolve as human activity does.

    We have already had to bow down to “sulphur” being now “sulfur”, and I refuse to write it a such. I will tell my pupils that the American spelling may be seen as well, and not to be worried by it because it’s the same thing, but I predicted that this would happen many years ago because I have an interest in medicine. I told many chemistry teachers what was happening to pharmaceutical names, and that it would filter down into chemistry. They thought I was mad. Wait until the “th” in words will be changed to drop the “h”. It’s already happened in medicine.

    When the day comes where “your” can be used to mean “you’re”, it will be a sad day. Even sadder will be when dot dot dot becomes standard for any pause in a sentence. Instead of semicolons… commas… and such… the ellipsis will become… well… meaningless when one is genuinely required… and I have seen schools use this terrible punctuation on their notice boards…

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