12:00 AM, February 08, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 08, 2013

Encourage creativity, not rote learning

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Angela Robinson, Baridhara DOHS, Dhaka

I groan at the success of the Spelling Bee! A combination of memorizing, copying and competition is bound to send Bangladeshi children and their parents into ecstasy but let no one think that correct spelling is any guarantee of a good use of English!
I am glad, however, that the words involved are used in sentences. Most English teachers know that, if we put a word up on a board and ask a class to create a sentence with the word in it, most pupils cannot do it and, indeed, some teachers of English do not want them to as they fear they themselves could not judge the accuracy of such a sentence and would rather give the children a sentence to memorise!
When I taught essay-writing, it could take time for a class to realise that I was so serious about them writing in their own words and not copying an essay from a book/their big brother/their tutor, that I did not care about their 'mistakes'! (They then discovered they had to 'do their corrections'!) But progress was often wonderful! Creativity is the Bangladeshi strength to play to not memorising and copying!
Please do not spoil the fun of the Spelling Bee by telling them that William Shakespeare is known to have spelt his own name 16 different ways!

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