The standard of English grammar, spelling and syntax is abysmal in my country. High school students generally learn such things by studying a foreign language.
As a result, the written work I receive from students whose native tongue is English frequently has many errors - including the usual:
- Typographical errors
- Apostrophes in the wrong place (its, it's)
- The following fails: their/there/they're; whose/who's
- And, generally, failing to check spelling, grammar and to proof read thoroughly.
The typos and failure to proof read thoroughly I can understand and treat accordingly, namely encourage students to proof read and check their work carefully, or get a friend/colleague/family member to help.
The failures in English grammar, syntax and punctuation - which I suspect arise from a deficient treatment at school - I find hard to forgive.
Our University has extensive support for improving the English for both native and non-native English speakers.
I feel concerned, however, about suggesting to those students who are native English speakers, but who need more training, to attend the help workshops available to them. This is for fear of embarrassing or alienating the students. Is there a sensitive way of dealing with this? Should I even try to spare the students' blushes?