Readers' letters - April 27

A correspondent says exam season hysteria adds to pupils stress. What do you think?
A correspondent says exam season hysteria adds to pupils stress. What do you think?
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Stop hysteria and let school pupils get on with exams

During recent years, we have been regaled by parents, the media and, in some cases, the teaching profession of the terrible stress that children are suffering due to the final school years’ exams – in my day referred to as O-Levels and A-Levels.
I assume that these tests must have become much more difficult in view of the hysteria which is generated when the ‘exam season’ starts.
Do other people think, as I do, that there was none of this fuss when we took examinations in comparison to today?
Nowadays, when results are announced, television cameras record hysterical youngsters weeping and screaming to be filmed for posterity.
Accompanying parents are also on hand to be recorded in various states of emotion.
Is all this really necessary and has it occurred to other people that the kids would be better left to ‘get on with it’ as we were? I’m sure that the evident stress in pupils cannot be helped if adults continue to turn the whole thing into a circus.
I should also add that I think that the media, particularly television, has not been entirely without blame for this state of affairs.
A.W. Clarke
Address supplied

Me, myself and I have differences

We are all aware that the standard of written and spoken English is rapidly deteriorating, which is attributed to a whole variety of reasons.
As far as I am concerned, ignorance and laziness just about cover it. Even the BBC doesn’t seem to know/care about the distinction between, for example, ‘I was sat’ and ‘I was sitting’.
When teaching, I used to explain this by taking the verb ‘to shoot’ as an example and then pupils understood the world of difference
between saying ‘I was shot’ and ‘I was shooting’!
My latest bugbear is the overuse of the word ‘so’.
Even listening to supposedly well-educated people being interviewed on ‘serious’ television programmes, a great many people precede their responses to questions with the word ‘so’, mostly when it is totally inappropriate and unnecessary. Once you are aware of this, you will realise how very frequent it is.
However, the reason for my commenting is a quote I read from someone who should know better, having been appointed as a new head teacher: “Both myself and the leadership board are very clear on how we can improve...” What is wrong with “Both the leadership board and I...”? Even the word ‘both’ in this context is unnecessary!
This is a prime example of the opposite of good, clear, plain English which makes sense and is, unfortunately, gaining in popularity.
People seem hesitant to use ‘you’, ‘me’ or ‘us’.
I have had letters asking me to ‘contact ourselves’ [us], ‘if yourself would like to join us’ [you], ‘please return to myself’ [me] and these are just the tip of the iceberg.
I appeal to your readers to join me in trying to stem the tide of this misuse of our beautiful language.
Some may think it doesn’t matter, but I feel our native tongue is something of which to be very proud, and its very essence is being eroded as never before by the acceptance and consequent repetition of these ugly variations.
resident
via email

Community businesses

Every day, tens of thousands of people go to work at one of the 7,000 community businesses in England. Hundreds of thousands of us shop, visit or benefit from them directly, yet they are still relatively unknown.
Power to Change, the independent trust supporting community businesses in England, is once again organising Community Business Weekend (May 4-7) to shine a light on these community-powered gems that not only bring much needed services and spaces to a community but boost local economies and reinvest the profits for the benefit of local people. Pubs, libraries, housing, shops, farms, transport, and renewable energy are just some examples.
The Weekend is a unique opportunity for community businesses to invite local people to see behind the scenes, understand how they can get involved in running a business for community good and have a say in local decision making. Visit www.communitybusinessweekend.org to find out more.
Heather Rogers
Community Business Weekend 2018