Nessie inspires horror not awe

7th April 2000 at 01:00
MARIANNE Talbot (TES, March 24) dares to castigate hard-working inner-city teachers of English for "patronising" pupils and denying them their dreams.

The passage on the Loch Ness monster to which she alludes was NOT a story written for children. It was written for an American travel magazine and aimed at adult tourists thinking of visiting Britain.

The opening sentence of the passage reads: "Urquhart Castle is probably one of the most picturesquely situated castles in the Scottish Highlands."

The second paragraph begins: "Its formal name is Nessiterras rhombopteryx". The vocabulary of the entire passage is extreely demanding. Far from stimulating a child's imagination, this passage would be more likely to strike horror in the hearts of even the most confident of readers.

All teachers work hard, none more so than those in deprived areas who strive to enrich the lives, and instil knowledge, enthusiasm, imagination and creativity into the minds of so many impoverished children within their care.

Sweeping, and largely inaccurate, generalisations from the "leafy suburbs" of academia are at best patronising, and at worst downright insulting.

Margaret Callaghan

4 Linwood Drive



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