This is not a political post.
The sages teach us “Who is wise? He who can learn from anyone.” So I’m just trying to prove how smart I am.
Today an English teacher shared the following article about Trump’s numerous spelling errors: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/shoker-rediculous-chocker-trump-attaks-and-dishoners-english-with-ever-dummer-spellings/2017/02/07/9556faf4-ed58-11e6-9662-6eedf1627882_story.html?utm_term=.1ca5f72dbd3f
Another teacher asked how we can use this to teach our students something. I began to write an answer, then realized that I have enough ideas for a blog post.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Many students are afraid to speak or even write because they may make a mistake. Before these students can learn anything we must create a safe atmosphere where mistakes are an acceptable and necessary part of learning. If the President of the United States can’t spell but isn’t afraid to send out messages that will be seen by the whole world, no one should be afraid to make mistakes in our classrooms. See what I wrote about this in my previous post What if I make a mistake?
- Pretend the mistakes are intentional. Years ago, a teacher I was working with showed me a test she was about to give to her class. She suddenly realized that there were spelling errors in the text (the test had been prepared by another teacher) and she wasn’t sure what to do. I suggested that she use them. Tell the class that there are some mistakes in the text, and that they will receive a bonus for each one they find. Double bonus if they know the correct spelling.
- Find different options. When Trump said that Ted Cruz is a chocker, did he mean joker, choker, shocker or something else? Honer is probably honor, but what else could it be?
- Come up with some definitions for Trump’s new words. For example: unpresidented – never been done by a president, Bobby Night – a night when everyone dresses up as Bobby.
- Have a debate. How important is spelling? Should spelling be a necessary qualification for public office? Has social media made spelling errors more acceptable?
Do you have any other ideas?