The fine folks over at Language Log have presented a situation that is rather embarrassing: an English teachers’ association in Queensland, Australia, published a series of articles on grammar that were (to quote LLogger Geoff Pullum) “absolutely incompetent,” and from the looks of things, that’s a touch on the nice side. Whoever wrote these articles had better not be teaching the same – such would result in horribly miseducated students. (I hesitate to take this as an indictment of the organization, except in their poor editorial oversight.)
I agree with what Pullum says about what should have happened:
[T]he incident has turned (as one might have anticipated) into a full-scale assault on the credentials and mental acumen of all Queensland’s hard-working teachers. It might have been better for ETAQ to openly and honestly admit that it had unfortunately published a grammar article that was a complete crock. Memo to all: when you make a mistake, just admit it.
Precisely the point: teachers are not perfect, nor should they ever be expected to be, but they have a professional obligation to have integrity and admit when they have erred, thereafter taking all necessary steps to prevent such a situation from occurring again. I think there is too often the presumption that teachers have to be experts, and while teachers should be competent in their areas of study, it should never be presumed that teachers have nothing to learn about teaching or their content area(s). That is far too much pressure for a teacher, on top of everything else. If teachers can learn this lesson, I would venture to guess that teachers would be esteemed much more highly.