Good use of learned language?


Last week I was doing a bit of cross marking for orals and very often we find ourselves saying things like “good use of learned language” we were listening to some national 4 speaking tests when a cheeky wee conditional phrase appeared and immediately myself and my colleague raised our eyebrows and said ” ooh, nice learned phrase” and laughed.
I was having a similar conversation about national 5 speaking and did the learners really need to have mastered 5 different tenses?or would we would be happy with a sound understanding of the present, perfect and future and a cheeky wee conditional popped in at the end about winning the lottery? a wee display of learned language?
We use learned language all the time and sometimes without even thinking about it.
Different social situations have learned language tags attached that allow us to be part of it or at least appear to be part of it.
Funerals are always tough but very often we hear I’m sorry for your loss. Even if we don’t know the person who died, it’s hard to see someone you care about upset.
Feeling like you are about to keel over and look like death with a menopausal glow? Oh yes, you tell people you are fine.
And when there is just that situation that no words will help? I’m here for you
Now for me that probably means ill text you daft pictures, send you love and light a candle for you and not expect a response till the fog lifts. Then I’ll be there with enough chocolate to open up a factory.
For others, it’s a way of acknowledging the situation without a direct engagement.

In teaching, we come across learned language all the time. From staff and learners. Recently, I heard the most upsetting piece of learned language from a learner who was refusing to engage in any kind of learning. ” I don’t do this”
This was also echoed by his peers and was apparently was the norm. Complete disengagement.who told this young person they couldn’t do this? We’re they so conditioned by a throw away comment or was it something they had heard over a long period of time?Or was it more a lack of confidence? This learner was totally disengaged but it was certainly not through lack of ability.
It was fairly resonant of the dialogue I have had with colleagues who tell me they don’t do something. The default position is I can’t do it. I don’t do it. Learned language from a point of disengagement with something new or something different. Maybe it is about a fear about coming out a comfort zone.
I’m as guilty as the next person of using language automatically,( yes, I admit when I say “is that right?” I have indeed zoned right out.) but it is so sad to think that our young people have been so conditioned by learned language they are using it as an excuse not to learn. What’s worse,is that it is being accepted for an easy life? Where is the challenge? Where is the confidence?
Maybe if people tell me I am skinny often enough I’ll believe that too. That would be a good use of learned language.


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