Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Teeninvestor, Mar 15, 2009.
Didn't Tom Sawyer live in St. Petersburg?
the joke is to replace Hong Kong with King Kong
Na, some guy has misquoted it.
"If your guest craps in your sink, do you get angry with him? Only women are that petty."
- Army sergeant (paraphrased for proper English)
"Class system is necessary for competition."
- Ignorant capitalist
Friend: "I study English Literature."
Various fools: "Oh, you mean like Shakespeare?"
(the conversations were in English)
I don't see that last one as being all that bad. I mean, you couldn't well be an English major without studying some Shakespeare? Seems like a valid question on what he/she focuses on - is it any worse than asking, say "Do you mean like Dickens? or Hemmingway?" Now when you call him Julius Shakespeare, then we're into silly territory.
And this is just a slip of the tongue thing on the funny side...a friend of mine was making fun of the little security vehicles they have on campus: "it's like a golf cart on wheels."
Coupled with the fact that "Shakespeare" is the only name they can think of when talking about literature, other than Harry Potter and Dan Brown.
They would pass high-school with flying colours in Australia with that advanced literary knowledge! (I wish I wasn't being serious).
And now, for a brief departure to the chess world:
1. e4 to win.
Yes, there was apparently a chess movement that believed white was winning from the first move, so long as that move was the traditional king's pawn opening. Of course, when you look at the stats and see that black wins roughly ~29% of the time and draws over ~33%, you'd be quite confused.
I should mention that these are university students.
I beg to differ.
Some girl in my 8th grade english class:
"Wait, slavery has been abolished in the south? Hey don't look at me like that, I've never been to the south! The only place I've gone outside of Massachusetts is Florida!"
I get that often when i say I'm from New Zealand. I usually just tell them I live in a mud hut with a 30km dirt road blocked by sheep and I can walk to Oz
"Have you seriously never heard of Iggy Pop before?"
"That's somewhat surprising." *shows other person clip of "The Passenger"*
"Oh, THESE guys."
The middle tier of English in Australia is generally called "Communications English" or some such derivative (read: Pretty Pictures English). For the final year of high school, you require at most to pass or even acquire a good mark, functional illiteracy. You are required to write a basic essay (literacy is optional), have some basic drawing skills and primary school level English (you get the choice of making a picture book for an assignment) and you get to watch a movie and must provide "this is what happened to this character LULZ" responses. There is also no exam. This has led to teachers passing functionally illiterate people for the sake of keeping the marking average up (the external marking of final assignments only allows the markers influence over 10% of the mark)! Simply speaking, you can be functionally illiterate and pass it. This is endemic in Australia as an educational whole and it's a trend that began in the mid 80ties, according to an ex-English teacher friend of mine. It was decided that failing people looked bad, so they dumbed down the system, the next batch of students were worse, so they again dragged down standards and so on. The number of functionally illiterate people, who cannot write, do not understand sentence structure, do not understand punctuation, cannot spell and are effectively useless except for manual labor and the services industry is a national shame.
In NT perhaps, but Victoria doesn't have that subject.
Although passing year 12 English is still very easy. I don't think I wrote more than a page in total for the final exam (3 hours), and I passed. Although my mark was well below average, since I got a 23 and the median score is 30 on a (imperfect) bell curve that goes up to 50.
Mainstream English in Vic is ridiculously easy. You can totally neglect sentence structure, punctuations and grammar and still easily pass the exam. We also have this abomination called "English Language" - an epic fail of an attempt to discuss language use in society in more detail but ended up as an even more dumb down Mainstream English with a few pieces of primary school grammar thrown in.
Talking to a middle-aged American tourist early one summer's evening on a cross-channel ferry:
Me: "Where are you staying in England?"
Tourist: "Just overnight in London - we fly home tomorrow morning. Do you know how we get to the airport from central London?"
Me: "Which London airport are you flying from?"
Tourist: "You mean there's more than one?"
Me: Yeah - there are three."
Tourist's wife: "We're flying at 11.15 from Shannon."
Me: "Hooo . .. .. .. ....."
For those who don't know, Shannon Airport is in the middle of Ireland and is about 18 hours travel from London across an international boundary and 60 mile of sea!
I wonder if they ever made it?
This may be true. However, you referred to passing with flying colours, which is exceptionally difficult, due to the obtuse English course. Maybe it's not the same in other states/territories, but it is in NSW.
Poor literacy is frowned upon, but is not the main object of the idiotic course. The main object of the course is seeing what you can infer, and twist, from a range of texts, not including Dan Brown books, or Harry Potter, if you want to pass with 'flting colours'.
In NSW, the course is made up of three modules and an area of study. The area of study contains assessment tasks on comprehension and shorter answers (visual, auditory, or the conventional reading types), creative writing, which is just writing a short story responding to a stimulus material, and a text type response (invariably always an essay) about a set text and at least two texts of the students own choosing. The first of the three modules is purely an essay topic. It relates to context in texts, and the connections between texts. These texts being set by the NSW Board of Studies (BOS), and not containing such works as Angels & Demons, or The Goblet of Fire, but John Donne's poetry, Jane Austen,and the W;t, for example. These are, I imagine, by any measure, reasonably accepted literary works. The second module is a critical study of text, and can be comprised of one of a number of options chosen by the school, such as the study of famous speeches, poetry, prose fiction, drama, or film (which I will come to in a moment). The third module is a study of conflicting perspectives. It, similarly, involves the study of set, and reputable, texts by the BOS, eliminating any ability to fudge the exam with a poorly selected text, which would invariably gain lower marks anyway.
And none of these modules have any picture book assessment task.
If an essay response consists of a synopsis, or mere description to the plot, without frequent reference to techniques used, followed by examples of those techniques, and showing their relation to the question and the module, or area of study theme, then they will not gain many marks at all. They would be Band 2 or Band 3 responses. There are six bands. This is hardly, as you put it, passing with flying colours.
Now I have no idea where this came from. But it is blatantly incorrect. Advanced English has, in fact, two HSC exams, compared to the standard one for every other subject (excluding subjects with both practical and theory components).
In 2008, 10% of candidates received a Band 6 in Advanced English, whilst 40% of students received a Band 4 (not a flying colours mark). This can be compared to 17% of candidates receiving a Band 6 in Advanced Mathematics in the same year. This is clear evidence that English is not a subject in which marks are given away. It has a reputation of being the hardest 2 unit subject in the HSC, and for good reason.
If you were illiterate, you would not be in the Advanced English course. You would either be in the Standard English course, or the ESL course. And this doesn't mean they take pity on you. In Standard English last year, less than 1% of candidates received a Band 6, and just over 3% in ESL.
As for passing, to be functionally illiterate means that you cannot read or write. If you cannot read the exam questions, you are not going to pass. If you cannot write the answers, you are not going to pass.
Well, this point does hold some water. Yes, there is a lack of emphasis on the basics of English in the English courses now, which can lead to a certain level of illiteracy. But it is still, on the grand scale of things, not exceptionally widespread.
And the dumbing down of the syllabus is probably not the best description. I would call it more of an abstraction, and a ridiculous one.
The point of this post was not to defend the moronic, eccentric and mindless NSW English syllabus, but to point out that it is not, as you said, a case of passing with 'flying colours' through the use of populist texts, and with illiteracy.
And if you're going to use the argument that everyone technically passes, because the HSC isn't something that you fail, as such, then I mean it more in the way that a bad mark is what I would consider a fail.
Discussion about our education system moved.
Separate names with a comma.