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Creativity Controlled

INTERMEDIATE Vydáno dne 26.03.2006

Další humorný pohled na britskou kulturu a životní styl očima české au-pair.


I have read lately an article on Student' s writing skills. According to it, the English undergraduates are not able to produce a decent essay. Not only are their works incoherent on the level of sentence, but also in the whole text. Why ?
The author supposes that this must be the result of not reading books.
Right, we know that young people of today tend to prefer media, which give them the present, up-to-date information. They prefer them to books, where you have to find your bearings in a more structured and more complicated text. And that is rather inconvenient in this 'bustling' world. You need to get information swiftly and easily. That' s where all the acronyms and contracted words came from... LO, ROFL, etc. Sounds familiar?
Of course the author was right. These things would definitely have an impact on anyone's writing skills.

But after spending several months in England, I am inclined to think there is something more in it than meets the eye. Not-reading books is but one of the factors that lead to the writing inability. I'll give you several situations to consider. The point might be more obvious to those who haven't been living under the influence of British culture for too long.

Rubbish- the advertisement in TV

Mum enters the kitchen. Spots the messy table and raises her eyebrows. Then, in one brisk, purposeful movement sweeps the tablecloth with all that stands on it into the rubbish bin. Proceeds into the sitting room, where Dad and son lounge negligently on the sofa, watching telly. The sitting room floor is exactly in the state of the kitchen table; so Mum deals with it alike, taking and throwing away the carpet.
Follows the advert' s conclusion:
'A special offer for Mums- don't bother with tidying up! Send for fried chicken, potato chips and baked beans, all neatly packed in a bowl-shaped box. Disposable cutlery included in the price.
Is that really what the public asks for? Oh dear!


As all of us know that the British are extremely polite. It's unthinkable here not to send a thank you card, expressing how much the sender was pleased with a gift or hospitality. Consequently, the British have a roaring trade in the card business. Loads and loads of cards for every occasion and for everyone you can think of :
Happy Birthday Son,
You're Eight Today,
To A Very Special Godmother,
Happy St. Patrick' s Day Boss
and I have even seen one For the Best Dog.
It gets further.
The worst ones don't even have a space for self-expression.
They consist of a test-like tick-boxes.
Dear (choice in boxes: Mum, Dad, Aunt, Governor...)
your present was (choice again: amazing, very good, superb, good, acceptable...). etc.


A 'kit' is an expression for a box with various content, serving for one kind of activity. The classic example is a Medical Kit, where you find anything you need to deal with common injuries, like plasters, scissors, pincers, disinfection spray, etc. Everything is put right under your nose.
In certain situations it is very useful, you naturally expect everything you need and ready-packed in a First Aid Kit. However, here in Britain the kits started to creep into other areas. There' s a kit for 'Easter-hat making', (including three types of bows, a bunny, a straw hat, scissors and some glue) 'Christmas paper chains making (the stripes of paper have been cut for you, you just choose the sequence of colours and stick them together. )

Somehow it makes me wonder whether this could be the reason why undergraduates can' t write properly?
Doesn't having too much work done affect your own ability to think for yourself?
Has Britain' s quick advance to new, easy ways afflicted its people's competency?
My country hasn't modernised to that extent. At least not yet and I hope it is not on its way...

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