Friday, May 10, 2013

Michael Gove, Michael Rosen and grammar

There is a row going on between Michael Gove and Michael Rosen. Yet he idea of an opposition between good grammar is largely spurious: the writers I know who are most interested in grammar are also the most creative.

But I am haunted by a piece I read in, I think, the UK Press Gazette some years ago. A journalist described going into an inner-city comprehensive to run a journalism workshop. He found the children were all he hoped they would be: sparky and curious about the world around them.

All went well until he asked them to write a trial article.

The problem was not so much that their spelling and grammar was poor: it was they could not see this might be a problem if they wanted to pursue a career as a journalist.

Which must be one of the reasons why now just three per cent of junior journalists have working-class parents.

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