Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

A Few Words to the Wise

It’s not news that the American education system is not working well. I came across an article that made me stop and think about whether my own teaching techniques are contributing to the problem. My paradigm got a bit nudged. One thing I do agree with Hirsch is that vocabulary is an important aspect of student success. If you are interested in reading one man’s opinion about how to overhaul the education system I suggest you sit down with a cup of java or tea and take time to peruse and consider. It’s long, but chock full of thoughtful considerations:

The key to increasing upward mobility is expanding vocabulary.

E. D. Hirsch, Jr. is a professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia and the founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation and he is smart. The kind of smart that makes me feel a bit more brainer after reading most anything he writes. You might have heard  of these titles, and even if you haven’t you will want to reflect of this pithy quote:

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7 thoughts on “A Few Words to the Wise

  1. My wife is a former SAT teacher, so she made sure to build my son’s vacabulary at an alarmingly early age.

    Two-Year-Old Alex Watching A Baby Cry: Ooh. He is forlorn!

    Me: Um. Yes. Yes, he is.

  2. Yes, yes, and yes. I agree. The number and type of words one hears, is regularly exposed to, even if only through reading, is extremely important. I was one of those kids with a parent who corrected my grammar obsessively and an older brother who learned Latin and read the dictionary for fun. I, too, read the dictionary, and my son is learning the joys of looking up a word in the OED. Being awash in language can only improve ones lot in life, not diminish.

    My mother would frequently demand that I stop obfuscating and start masticating during dinner. Can’t tell you how often I ran to the dictionary in those early years.

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