Almost every Saturday, I teach students ages 12 and up modeling and acting techniques. Doing so provides me with a nice change of pace, as well as allows me to practice my third love: public speaking. (FYI, my first love is acting, my second is writing.)
That being said, I've noticed a highly disturbing trend among my students (including those who have graduated from high school, college or trade school and are currently working):
They cannot write worth a hoot.
I'm not talking about minor errors or oversights. Almost every student I have exhibits major flaws in terms of both spelling and composition.
I've seen horrendous misspellings, run-on sentences, half-thoughts and just-plain-sucky grammar. It's downright shocking.
I wonder whether these individuals were simply "passed" from one grade to the next by teachers who didn't care or felt it wasn't worth the trouble to educate them in the art of writing?
I don't remember my schoolmates being such awful authors (granted, this was when dinosaurs ruled the earth and we wrote on cave walls.) Actually, I went to school with some outstanding writers who are working in and around the publishing and reporting industry today (I know of one who has won several journalistic awards.)
What are your experiences in this realm?
Are my observations anomalies? Or do they indicate a major problem in our American society?
P.S. I don't mean to put all the blame on educators, either. I know some of them would love to help students but aren't given the backing by their districts. Parents have much more influence on their offspring than the school system, so I question their desire to bring up literate kids, too. Am I being too hard? I really don't think so. Being able to communicate clearly and intelligently is critical to succeeding in life.