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Thread: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more below)

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    Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more below)

    Why does english have to be compulsory when we won't ever have to write essays or read books or do language analysis after year 12. It's such a waste of a subject and such a useless subject and I'm finding it extremely hard, even with tutoring.

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Your criticism of English can be applied to maths, science, and just about any other senior subject.

    You may not necessarily agree with this, but because it gives you an exposure to literature (and culture). I personally think that's enough of a reason to study English, but a lot of people tend to underestimate the impact of literature on our lives. Imagine watching films, TV shows, listening to lyrics of a song or reading a newspaper, and having zero background knowledge in literature. That would be a completely different experience, and a lot less meaningful than recognising the references and phrases used.

    You might think you won't ever have to write essays or read books or do language analysis, but you will. If you plan on pursuing any tertiary education, you will do all three of the above. (Though you may not be writing literary essays, you will be writing other forms of essays. Though you may not be reading novels, you will be reading even more complex textbooks with horrendously convoluted sentences that you'll need to interpret.) And even beyond that, chances are, unless if you are working in a minimal-skilled job, you'll use all of those skills.

    And even outside of your education and career, the things you learn in English will stay relevant to you, even if it doesn't seem like it. Do you watch a lot of movies or TV shows? Being aware of what makes a film good gives it a greater sense of value and meaning; knowing how to relate the structure of the film to the themes, how the soundtrack compliments the scenes, why the camerawork was effective and masterful, why the editing was highly elaborate and impactful, and how to interpret the film as something that is meaningful to you are all the things which really enhance the experience. There are lots of excellent YouTube channels which are dedicated to understanding the genius of films (such as Every Frame a Painting, Nerdwriter1, Films&Stuff), and I would encourage anyone who enjoy films to check them out.

    And more broadly, English does aid in communication. And while it seems that you won't be communicating in the way you would write literary essays, the active, conscious phrasing of sentences is something we use everyday, and it's something that English essays does force you to practice on.

    In the end English is a pretty difficult and tedious subject (even for the best of us), it does have it's value. The key is preparation, practice, and thinking on the spot. The last aspect is probably the reason why English is not a very tutor-friendly subject; the questions you get in exams are different to what you've practiced for, so you have to do your best to adapt what you have to what's in front of you.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by sida1049; 6 May 2017 at 1:52 PM.

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    It's also necessary for everyone to be doing a common subject for scaling purposes.
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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by Kangaaroo View Post
    It's also necessary for everyone to be doing a common subject for scaling purposes.
    That wouldn't explain why English in particular is compulsory, only that some subject should be compulsory.
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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by Kangaaroo View Post
    It's also necessary for everyone to be doing a common subject for scaling purposes.
    That can't be the reason why english is compulsory

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    I understand why it's compulsory to help us speak english and stuff, but the fact it HAS TO COUNT to our ATAR is pretty dumb considering HEAPS of people get their ATAR brought down by it.

    Someone migrating to Australia from e.g. China/Singapore where the maths is more advanced than Australia and more accelerated could be a genius at maths and science but english could mean they won't get 99.95 because their expression in essays isn't that good.
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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by pikachu975 View Post
    I understand why it's compulsory to help us speak english and stuff, but the fact it HAS TO COUNT to our ATAR is pretty dumb considering HEAPS of people get their ATAR brought down by it.

    Someone migrating to Australia from e.g. China/Singapore where the maths is more advanced than Australia and more accelerated could be a genius at maths and science but english could mean they won't get 99.95 because their expression in essays isn't that good.
    If your expression in essays isn't that good, then isn't that a cause for concern? It typically implies a lack of vocabulary and/or exposure to texts. And suppose this individual is excellent at science, to the point where they can explain physics concepts in English fluently. Then at that level of English fluency, well-written expressions in an HSC English essay wouldn't be too much to ask for, would it?

    I think in your example, if there is a problem with English essays, then I think that's a manifestation of a bigger problem with respect to the English language, which would manifest in their maths and science performance here (and into university) as well.

    Also, there is an equivalent compulsory subject for students in China focused on literary essays as well, which is a part of their university entrance exams.
    Last edited by sida1049; 6 May 2017 at 7:20 PM.

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics)/Bachelor of Arts III, USYD

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by pikachu975 View Post
    I understand why it's compulsory to help us speak english and stuff, but the fact it HAS TO COUNT to our ATAR is pretty dumb considering HEAPS of people get their ATAR brought down by it.

    Someone migrating to Australia from e.g. China/Singapore where the maths is more advanced than Australia and more accelerated could be a genius at maths and science but english could mean they won't get 99.95 because their expression in essays isn't that good.
    I agree 100% with this. If someone gets full marks on maths, chemistry and physics but a low mark in english, their atar will backfire a little, which shows how useless english can be as a subject

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by pikachu975 View Post
    I understand why it's compulsory to help us speak english and stuff, but the fact it HAS TO COUNT to our ATAR is pretty dumb considering HEAPS of people get their ATAR brought down by it.

    Someone migrating to Australia from e.g. China/Singapore where the maths is more advanced than Australia and more accelerated could be a genius at maths and science but english could mean they won't get 99.95 because their expression in essays isn't that good.
    Why do they need 99.95? 99.95 is a rank, if there is someone above them, then they don't deserve a 99.95. You make it sound like 99.95 is a ordinary achievement. The students who get 99.95 achieve scores in the very high 90s across all their subjects including English. That's a far better feat than being ever so slightly better at mathematics and science. If they were truly a genius, do you really think their ATAR is going to hold them back? It isn't the be all and end all, especially in the field of academia which is what the ATAR is used for.

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by sida1049 View Post
    If your expression in essays isn't that good, then isn't that a cause for concern? It typically implies a lack of vocabulary and/or exposure to texts. And suppose this individual is excellent at science, to the point where they can explain physics concepts in English fluently. Then at that level of English fluency, well-written expressions in an HSC English essay wouldn't be too much to ask for, would it?

    I think in your example, if there is a problem with English essays, then I think that's a manifestation of a bigger problem with respect to the English language, which would manifest in their maths and science performance here (and into university) as well.

    Also, there is an equivalent compulsory subject for students in China focused on literary essays as well, which is a part of their university entrance exams.
    I totally agree with this. There are different levels of English for different people anyway, and if you dedicate yourself in any of them, you can do well (regardless of scaling). Being bad at English in high school is just setting you up for failure in so many uni exams/assessments anyway (even in a Science/Maths degree).
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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    On a more unserious note, there's a theory that along with the predominant focus of being used a common subject for scaling purposes, english being made compulsory was also a way of preventing (the majority) of non-english speaking foreign students from getting better marks than our domestic students.
    Last edited by MrKay; 7 May 2017 at 4:42 AM.

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by MrKay View Post
    On a more unserious note, there's a theory that along with the predominant focus of being used a common subject for scaling purposes, english being made compulsory was also a way of preventing (the majority) of non-english speaking foreign students from getting better marks than our domestic students.
    Not exactly related to the topic but how on earth are you awake at 3:40 am?

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Most Australians have subpar written communication skills. English also develops critical thinking skills, something else Australians seem to have a poor grasp of.

    /endthread

    And whoever mentioned that Chinese STEM genius example is misguided. The world's full of textbook specialists who don't have the communication skills required to join the workforce.
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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by InteGrand View Post
    That wouldn't explain why English in particular is compulsory, only that some subject should be compulsory.
    Quote Originally Posted by boredsatan View Post
    That can't be the reason why english is compulsory
    Well if they need one subject to be compulsory across the board English seems like a pretty sensible option to me.
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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    in theory english would be a great subject that teaches things like critical thinking and improves communication but in reality all the subject does is reward memorisation

    same @hsc maths

    same @hsc anything tbh
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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by KingOfActing View Post
    in theory english would be a great subject that teaches things like critical thinking and improves communication but in reality all the subject does is reward memorisation

    same @hsc maths

    same @hsc anything tbh
    I disagree with this. Anyone can memorise an essay or story, the talent is in the composition of them and your ability to adapt them to any question / stimulus - that's where you get rewarded.
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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by KingOfActing View Post
    in theory english would be a great subject that teaches things like critical thinking and improves communication but in reality all the subject does is reward memorisation

    same @hsc maths

    same @hsc anything tbh
    I disagree with this. Anyone can memorise an essay or story, the talent is in the composition of them and your ability to adapt them to any question / stimulus - that's where you get rewarded.
    日本語が大好きですよ!!!

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by Kangaaroo View Post
    I disagree with this. Anyone can memorise an essay or story, the talent is in the composition of them and your ability to adapt them to any question / stimulus - that's where you get rewarded.
    People in my class had absolutely no talent in adapting their essay (Read: they got their tutor to write one and memorised it) - they used the exact same essay in HSC + trials + class tests and got easy band 6s. Like I said, ideally it would be a great subject but as it is right now it's just a waste of time
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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolmias View Post
    Most Australians have subpar written communication skills. English also develops critical thinking skills, something else Australians seem to have a poor grasp of.

    /endthread

    And whoever mentioned that Chinese STEM genius example is misguided. The world's full of textbook specialists who don't have the communication skills required to join the workforce.
    ->chinese stem genius

    this triggers me


    In all seriousness I have semi-decent people skills but like... The wall that is academia is unyielding to my problems.

    :') #Sub80ATARproblems
    If I am a conic section, then my e = ∞

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by Kangaaroo View Post
    I disagree with this. Anyone can memorise an essay or story, the talent is in the composition of them and your ability to adapt them to any question / stimulus - that's where you get rewarded.
    Let's change this slightly...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kangaaroo View Post
    I disagree with this. Anyone can memorise a tool or technique, the talent is in the problem solving skills and your ability to adapt them to any problem/question - that's where you get rewarded.
    And that is exactly what it's like for mathematics.

    #centuryoldeducationsystem
    Last edited by Paradoxica; 7 May 2017 at 3:53 PM.
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    If I am a conic section, then my e = ∞

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by Paradoxica View Post
    Let's change this slightly...



    And that is exactly what it's like for mathematics.

    #centuryoldeducationsystem
    In other words, english is harder than maths

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by boredsatan View Post
    In other words, english is harder than maths
    Probably. I mean at the end of the day Mathematics is a language like any other except the "rules" are just some axioms. The rest of Mathematics trivially follows from that...

    It has it's own dialects (fields), spellings (notation), grammar and punctuation (philosophies) and everyone is always chucking shit at each other for preferring certain ways over others...

    I think I just summarised the human condition in one sentence.
    Last edited by Paradoxica; 7 May 2017 at 4:02 PM.
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    If I am a conic section, then my e = ∞

    Just so we don't have this discussion in the future, my definition of the natural numbers includes 0.

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by boredsatan View Post
    In other words, english is harder than maths
    How do you get that one subject is harder than the other when he said that the two are alike?

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by Paradoxica View Post
    Probably. I mean at the end of the day Mathematics is a language like any other except the "rules" are just some axioms. The rest of Mathematics trivially follows from that...

    It has it's own dialects (fields), spellings (notation), grammar and punctuation (philosophies) and everyone is always chucking shit at each other for preferring certain ways over others...

    I think I just summarised the human condition in one sentence.
    You deserve some rep for this statement

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    Re: Why is english compulsory if if has no relevance to the real world (read more bel

    Quote Originally Posted by boredofstudiesuser1 View Post
    How do you get that one subject is harder than the other when he said that the two are alike?
    Yeah, both subjects at their core boil down to the same few flaws that have plagued the entire education system for decades.
    If I am a conic section, then my e = ∞

    Just so we don't have this discussion in the future, my definition of the natural numbers includes 0.

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