8th Nov 2015 at 6:01 pm #28574
The older generation probably grew up believing a lot of things that have been disproved by current levels of technological research. Is Pluto a planet or not now? Are carbohydrates fattening or not? We grew up and were told certain things as “facts”, for example that Columbus “discovered” America. In South Africa we had Bartolemeu Dias, Vasco da Gama, and then the Dutch who wanted to grow a vegetable garden.
In more recent times, wording has been diplomatically changed to explain that these were simply the first European explorers to discover these lands. In South Africa, recent discoveries at Mapungubwe among many others confirms that thousands of years before, thriving African communities existed with developed cultures and wonderful artistic achievements.
So the question is can we believe what we read in text books? At tertiary level we may understand how events are viewed through a “lens”. Different research methods may produce different results. But in a basic education primary school Afrikaans textbook, what does one do when the information is clearly wrong, incorrect, erroneous, mistaken, inaccurate, false, – you get the point – just not right?
Do I tell my granddaughter the correct answer? If she writes the correct answer in the exam, will the person who marks the script know that she is right and the book is wrong? Will the person who moderates the scripts know why so many of the children have the “correct” answer but “wrong” answer according to the textbook?
Now this is not a simple question. Firstly, for some children every mark counts to get through. But in a South African context there is a clear issue of unfair discrimination. The children whose parents have some knowledge of the language – particularly those where Afrikaans is spoken in the home will know the correct answer. As long as the exams are marked correctly they will benefit.
But what of those children who do not have Afrikaans as a language spoken in their home – or even in their everyday lives and surroundings – will they learn the incorrect textbook information? Then if they repeat it in the exam will they be penalised? Who produces this material? Who checks it?
Finally, what do I tell my granddaughter to do?
8th Nov 2015 at 6:49 pm #28594
okay, it is sunday evening and maybe i have had one glass of red wine too many. This article says a lot but it doesnt really say anything.
- Is the Afrikaans book printed incorrectly? if so; which one?
- If it is printed incorrectly what does it say that is incorrect?
Are your kids homeschooling, private schooling, afrikaans first language, second language?
The principle is explained clearly, but what exactly is the issue. If i get it wrong; i can always blame the wine; right?
8th Nov 2015 at 7:09 pm #28593
My understanding is that children are learned incorrect facts at school. It is clear that there is incorrect information in the Afrikaans book. We have often heard about spelling and grammar errors in exam papers, although it was moderated.
If the information in the text book is incorrect the memorandum will also be incorrect … or not!
The bottom line is that children are being disadvantaged.
8th Nov 2015 at 7:16 pm #28592
I am afraid I kind of agree with Carel, Sylvia, and I did not have any wine today. There is no doubt in my mind that there are many errors in the Afrikaans texts books as in text books in many, perhaps all, officials languages. Not being specific about what errors you are referring to creates the impression that your are discriminating, perhaps even somewhat malicious. On a lighter note – The Dutch did not want to grow a vegetable garden. All they wanted to do was to open a tuck shop.
8th Nov 2015 at 7:27 pm #28591
8th Nov 2015 at 7:38 pm #28590
Good evening all, I wasn’t expecting to get responses this evening. And yes Carel I have also had some wine.
Hi Hannes, the best explanation I have heard of South African history is in one of Trevor Noah’s wonderful comedy sketches.
No I certainly wasn’t trying to discriminate against anyone – I genuinely didn’t know what to my advise my granddaughter. I don’t know how many other mistakes there are – I only looked at a few pages.
Carel, the book is called Afrikaans Sonder Grense Grade 5. We looked at the page of diminutives and huis is put down with “tjie” and bed is put against “ie”.
I have 5 granddaughters and that one is in grade 5 and goes to a very good public school. But seriously I thought – many of the children in her school are from Xhosa-speaking households.
Thanks for the support Wilma. 🙂
8th Nov 2015 at 7:50 pm #28589
We have been looking at the mistakes in textbooks ourselves for years and at the pressure in trying to get kids to fulfill the various requirements in order to pass the grades with the result that we have taken our kids out of mainline schooling and have adopted a home-schooling routine.
I accept that there are mistakes and they are in all the textbooks; not just Afrikaans. My mind is blank as to the level of education that is expected with the type of materials made available for studies. I dont know what to advise and understand the dilemma. We have opted to accept the responsibility of educating our kids ourselves.
Wilma, you should at least have one glass before going to bed and Sylvia, it is sunday evening, it seems everybody is still up for a chat. 🙂
8th Nov 2015 at 7:51 pm #28588
Yes this surely is a concern. My eldest started grade 1 this year with little miss short on his heals in a years time. I have a keen and healthy interest in history. Reading both local and international research and publications, recent as well as much older from various authors and perspectives. In my venture discovering quite a few very interesting and unknown pieces of history.
The current situation in our text books is not due to a lack of a variety of information sources (well researched). My opinion is that it mostly opportunistic tenderpreneurs probably without the needed experience and credentials to involve themself in a balanced product and officials who do not proofread and verify the product that they have been presented. It should be an embarrassment to the educational institutions but untill further notice it serves the same purpose as the material publised after South Africa became a republic.
As a parent I talk to my kids about history and teach them to be sensitive to other cultures as I expect others to be to ours. On your question then what to do. Teach her what is right and provide her with the needed (additional and academically respected) documentation to justify her answers when challenged. Ensure that she understand that even in her own family people view the same event that recently happened at home differently.
I know this is a lot to ask from parents who barely find time to breath between getting up in the morning to going to bed at night. Don’t underestimate the ability of a primary school child in the use of available information. I did and my little man in gr. 1 quickly figured out how to navigate/schedule his extramural activities to get out of homework class. The only problem I have is that I need to be alot “cooler” than his teacher in presenting information because apparently I definitely am not as clever.
8th Nov 2015 at 8:02 pm #28587
Afrikaans language textbook wrong. O my soul Sylvia.I still had the blue Afrikaanse woordelys en spelreels book which I had to learn by heart because I was taught to spel phonetically leading to very creative but incorrect spelling from my side. It might be an good idea to get them one of those books if it is the actual language textbook getting it wrong. Maybe send a copy to the publishers as well ?
8th Nov 2015 at 8:08 pm #28586
Good one, Carel. Nothing to do with Sylvia’s topic … I have been trying very hard the past year to learn to drink … but gave up and is staying with coffee, tab and water! My eyes have the habit of moving closer to my eyes after a sip of wine!
Back to the errors in text books – I found the following quote on a website about errors in text books and it is not a South African:
8th Nov 2015 at 8:13 pm #28585
It now reminded me of when my daughter was in primary school and she had to write an essay in which she had to talk about her parents. When they could not spell a word they could ask the teacher and she will write it on a piece of paper. I got the note in her pencil box: pykologist. I thought that is was one of her classmates and asked her – I was shocked that the teacher was actually trying to write psychologist. At first she did not want to belief me that her teacher was wrong. Only after showing her the word in the dictionary she believed me.
Ps Thanks to everyone for bringing a lighter note to the Sunday evening with the red wine and all!
9th Nov 2015 at 3:34 am #28584
Good Morning Everyone, I have come in on the tail end of this chat. Moving from text books one should also look at the learning material of qualifications and unit standards to see many errors contained within. This material has been quality approved by the provider and by an external moderator/verifier!!
9th Nov 2015 at 4:58 am #28583
Kevin, please let me know if you have come across ANY external moderator/verifier who is a SME? I am yet to find one, plus the SETA has no knowledge of the subject when they accredit any material. Whilst doing internal moderation I have come across providers who still present outdated material which is acceptable by all and sundry. And God help you if you make a suggestion to the SETA that the US is outdated and requires updating! YOU WILL STILL PRESENT INFORMATION WHICH IS NOW AGAINST INTERNATIONAL LAW NO MATTER WHAT!!! is the response from the SETAs.
9th Nov 2015 at 5:43 am #28582
Good Morning Alexander, I can suggest you contact the Association for Skills Development in South Africa (ASDSA) and they may be able to assist. There number is 086 187 7783. I am aware one of their members Bridget Mcilroy has her own practice and does work for a variety of SETA’s in terms of moderating and verifiying and may be able to assist. Unfortunately I do not have her contact details however I am sure the ASDSA office will assist. Regards Kevin.
9th Nov 2015 at 5:47 am #28581
See, Sylvia, now that you gave us an example I know what you meant and I also know that your motives are fine. You are right, but I really do believe that there are many more than just Afrikaans books that are full of mistakes. That, however, was not your point and I understand. I will show the “tjie” example to my wife. She is a retired teacher and currently looks after and help our grandchildren with their homework. The only reason why I did not have any wine this weekend was because us children had a breakfast reunion in Parys, Free Sate. It feels weird talking about children when our ages range between 54 and 70.
9th Nov 2015 at 6:01 am #28580
I had some inside information about the procedure of selecting potential textbooks for schools. It was a most horrifying and sickening “process”.
Three of my close friends that were excellent teachers, left the profession for exactly this reason. They said that they were tired of fighting the department about mistakes in textbooks and especially in the memoranda.
When you analyse a poem with the Grade 12s – what do you teach them? The rubbish that is published in the textbook or the more acceptable interpretation? Your dilemma is rearing its ugly head as you do not know who is marking the final examination. You are damned whatever you choose.
9th Nov 2015 at 6:09 am #28579
9th Nov 2015 at 6:44 am #28578
It is an excellent solution for the simplex questions. For poems and literature interpretations the teachers complained that they did not have the time to teach both the correct version as well as the rubbish. The other problem is also that certain subjects have more than one incorrect textbook. So theoretically you could end up with more than one incorrect version.
9th Nov 2015 at 9:44 am #28577
I have to differ with you in regards to answering linguistic questions according to curriculum if the curriculum material is clearly incorrect. All languages have their own grammatical structures and rules. Similar to the way Sign Languages internal linguistic structure significantly differ from both English and Afrikaans to name a few.
I seriously doubt that any English speaking person would find the following acceptable if the curriculum insisted on the following :
I spoke de english tale very delisiously wif my friend when I was twice.
9th Nov 2015 at 10:15 am #28576
And I think THAT is exactly Sylvia’s dilemma. What do we tell our children and students when we as educators clearly see/know that the material in use is substandard but we are outside the circle of people who implement, approve and influence the material dished up.
With inconsistent and incorrect application of language rules we are condoning the creation of a functional illiterate generation, who will never have access to academic text because they will be unable to comprehend the content.
9th Nov 2015 at 3:18 pm #28575
Thank you to everyone who responded. I really appreciate all your input and I was genuinely concerned. It is the first time that I have interacted with the primary school textbooks. My problem was if I tell her the right answer and there are markers who are going to go by “the book” that will be a problem.
I think that Marilize has the answer – if there is time or the chance to give the explanation and I will tell my granddaughter that if she gets the chance this is the correct thing to say. Thank you.
However, then the most curious thing happened this morning. I went into Facebook to check updates and what did I find? Apparently, there is a legal case on the go, and this is a quote from the Section 27 posting:
“We will represent Basic Education for All in Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on 24 November 2015 to argue that textbooks form part of the right to a basic education #TextbooksMatter“.
Now I don’t know if it is the search engine optimisation that picked up that I was concerned about textbooks, but it certainly was freaky! Big brother is definitely watching.
So for those interested and involved in textbooks I would suggest that you follow on Facebook “Section 27” and on Twitter #Textbooksmatter.
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