Unlearning What You Were Taught

I rely pretty heavily on what I learned in School. But not everything that you and I learned in school is still true. Perhaps you remember being taught not to use “But” to start a sentence as I did in the last sentence.

Although it may still be wrong in certain contexts, such as Academic Journals, Magazines encouraged it when they adopted a new writing style for the 1990s. As the decades pass, lots of other things have changed since School.

Early in Elementary School, I learned that Facts Change. My Grade 2 reader (text book for the Reading course) used the word Aeroplane throughout. From Grade 3 on, it was always Airplane.

A year or two later, in Social Studies classes, the number of Oceans changed from one year to the next, with the disappearance of the Antarctic Ocean.

Of course, if you move to another country, you really cannot rely on what you learned in school. Working for a Canadian engineering consulting firm, I tried to intercede for a secretary who was getting yelled at for her spelling by an Engineer who grew up in England. He insisted that all of his engineering reports being prepared for the Canadian company’s Canadian clients be spelled in British English: analyse, aeroplane, and so on.

Worse than that, he insisted that there was only one English language, British English, and everything else was just plain Wrong. Never having the patience for Debating Classes, I just walked away after a while.