Anyone who has heard Gary Stager speak knows that he’s something of a contrarian on education issues.
Ok… he can often be a real grump and seems to revel in challenging traditional thinking.
But beating up on that ultra-wholesome, most all-American of educational institutions, the spelling bee?
The National Spelling Bee is like the Westminster Dog Show, but with children.
Spelling bees are a vulgar spectacle masquerading as education. The ability to properly spell guerdon is a cheap parlor trick demonstrating the most mechanistic and trivial expression of intelligence. Spelling instruction, particularly the quest for the sort of mastery required by competition wastes precious time that could be spent developing real language skills – reading, writing and speaking. While proper spelling is important for effective communication, the focus should be on the articulate expression of ideas, not low-level mechanics.
But why do I find it difficult to argue with anything he says in this essay?