Spelling: College professor involved at pupil degree and condemns photocopy abuse in school

INTERVIEW – In his book “Why our students can no longer write?” Aude Denizot draws up a disastrous assessment of the level of French students. The teacher ordered a spelling lesson at the university.

After spending more than 20 years correcting copies at Aude Denizot High School and University, a law professor at Le Mans University, she noticed a decline in the level of her students in spelling. In Why do our students no longer know how to write? (Enrick B edition), the teacher examines the causes of the decline and identifies the main culprit: copying. It shows how its misuse at the expense of handwritten copying greatly reduces the progress of young French people.

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“Today we find elementary mistakes in the copies of our best students”Aude Denizot

STUDENT FIGARO. Is the drop in spelling students really alarming?

Aude DENIZOT. I started teaching at university in 2000. And since then, I have seen that the level drops to over 400 to 500 exams, which I correct every year. Now I see mistakes in basic grammar points that I would never have seen at the beginning of my career. As a rule of thumb as à / a is less and less mastered. Likewise, I observe more incomprehensible or illegible sentences every year. Many students no longer have the basics. In recent years, we have saved our university students spelling lessons. We were forced to state that, despite regular work and very goodwill, a significant part of the first and last dictates of the year did not make any significant progress. In the past, students who made mistakes were often average students. Today we find elementary mistakes in the copies of our best students.

“A student who copies his grammar exercise in full will write 50 words, while the person who fills in the text with spaces on the photocopy will write only 12”.Aude Denizot

You question the use of copied exercises and files in elementary school. Why is it counterproductive?

The numbers speak for themselves, a student who copies his grammar exercise in full writes 50 words, while the person who fills in the text with spaces writes only 12. The photocopy gives the illusion of speed. In fact, the student does not develop his ability to write quickly and well. Similarly, photocopying creates the illusion of purity. The teacher is always less offended by the 12 misspelled words in the middle of the card than when faced with a completely dirty handwritten paragraph. Using photocopies is not just harmful in grammar exercises. Used in many subjects to save time, it significantly reduces the work spent copying hours. However, this work with copying is the basis for the development of automation and learning to compile correct sentences.

“A student who does not lose points for spelling in other subjects does not develop automatisms”Aude Denizot.

What are the other reasons for the decline in the level of French students?

We often gave up demands and demanding exercises for fear that we would not bore children. But just by demanding, we stimulate their brains and force them to grow. It is therefore a pity that children are sanctioned in spelling only in dictation and grammar lessons. A student who does not lose points for spelling in other subjects and does not develop automatism and will always have a bigger problem writing without mistakes. Furthermore, we may only be concerned about the decrease in the number of hours devoted to grammar in primary and secondary schools. The ubiquity of screens is the cause of the general decline in student levels, and spell checking does not encourage vigilance. However, screens do not enter the school world in front of college. They cannot take responsibility when students do not master the basic rules learned in primary school.

“We must return to handwritten notes”Aude Denizot

What advice would you give to a student who wants to overcome spelling problems?

The first thing you need to do is go back to the handwritten notes. I also recommend doing Bled exercises in which you copy whole sentences and not just keywords. These exercises can also be done in self-correction, but it is well relied on by a woman who has a good spelling to take them over. Dictation remains an excellent exercise for tireless practice so that you can make good progress. It is also necessary to systematically re-read everything that one is led to. It must become a lifestyle to track down errors in its copies, but also in e-mails and even in the smallest SMS. I believe that just by forcing yourself to repeat your mistakes on a daily basis, you will get a reflex to correct them in your copies.

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