Michael Rosen criticises ‘outdated’ approach to teaching children to write

Michael Rosen says that the primary school curriculum is packed with "outdated, rigid, misleading, prescriptive, controversial terms" based on a "false assumption" that the grammar is either accurate or incorrect.

The author and former child prizewinner, whose books include We're Going On A Bear Chase, Little Bunny Foo Foo, and Chocolate Cake, critical of the 'solid, prescriptive and formulaic' way of educating children to write and not about imagination to write by number.

Writing in The Guardian, he said that the social media schedule of Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is full of parents whining about the fact that they do not know what "faced adverbials" are or why their children should learn about them.

He said, "Now their children are educated from home and they are confronted with the idiosyncrasies of the primary curriculum."

Rosen, who was admitted to the hospital in March and has spent seven weeks on the Covid-19 ventilator, added: "Every so-called grammar now contains the core instruction, which is now a bundle of obsolete, static, misleading, prescriptive, controversial words for all of us all based on the mistaken belief that 'grammar' is either correct or incorrect.

"Have you seen anywhere down the line?

– these grammatical characteristics have been translated into instructions for children to write.

"And now, I collect, they have to build sentences with adverbials, relative clauses and extended substantive sentences, ideally after a pre-position.

It writes by numbers.

"I know it makes it difficult for leaders who want easy solutions, but people are writing in society.

"We are authors. We are writers.

One way to understand how to help primary school children write was to get authors to explain how we did this.

One of the most renowned children's books in Rosen is We Go On A Bear Hunt (PA)

"I interviewed a variety of poets, and I learned that we do so in several respects.

Plurality and versatility exist.

"They resist the strict, prescriptive and structured approach expected in the curriculum of primary schools.

Rosen was a vocal opponent of the government and in the 2019 general election endorsed Jeremy Corbyn's Labour.

His views on literature are also expressed in education and argued against library cuts.

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