opinion: The word trivial, according to the dictionary, means little importance; bothersome; Meaningless; unimportant; Not worth worrying about; Not worth mentioning.
It is ironic that an insignificant word has become so important to some senior students sitting in NZQA Level 3 History Causes and Paper Implications last week. In this article, 13 year olds were rudely introduced to the word in a quote from Julius Caesar: "Events of importance are the result of trivial reasons."
Between the ages of 16 and 18, a considerable number of students debated when they failed paper because they said they did not know the meaning of the word trivial.
Hmmm … Of course they never played a trivial pursuit, or took time off to do it Stuff Trivia quiz. And why should they? The trivial game chase may have entered into the Hall of Fame games, but it was created in 1979 and its popularity peaked in 1984 when 20 million games were sold. And I guess students will be under too much pressure and busy to have time to brag Stuff quiz.
* Students flummoxed by the word 'trivial'.
* Rangatahi take responsibility for ignorance of history
* Call for colonial history to be more widely taught
Students who claimed the word T claimed that the criterion of triviality should be included in the test. Some of the senior students formulated a petition demanding that the connection be based on the students' own definition of the unknown word, with 1300 signatures.
Gramma Bell, chairman of the New Zealand Teachers' Union, agreed with the students who complained that he had read the "bit snafu" exam (the normal situation, all f … ed up), and mea coppla-ed that the language in the exam should be accessible to all.
"The exam did not examine the understanding, so it was unfair to do that part of the assessment," he said.
He also said one can not assume assumptions about what students should and should not know at this level.
But I do. How can a word be unknown when there is no doubt that it is a word that they would hear, read and encounter many times during everyday life? It is not necessary to define the definition of each word carefully explained. Small children learn how to read the meaning of the words using the context in which they are used. In this particular quotation of Caesar, given that the paper was on cause and effect, it was quite clear what trivial meaning.
What can also be deduced from this "snafu" is that students have limited vocabulary and have not read as widely and deeply as previous generations. Habit and appetite for reading were taken from them with crude text that controls the context, and their language is smaller for it.
As psychologist, bibliologist and philosopher BF Skinner said: "We do not have to teach great books, we have to teach the love of reading, knowing the contents of some literary works is a trivial achievement, to be inclined to read a great achievement."
Students should not be expected to be old school oldniks, or wordists (a fundamentalist word that believes words have absolute meaning). However, being able to come up with the right word gives shape and meaning to the mess and confusion of life.
The idiot of the language has plummeted to new depths, if not only the Chairman of the NZ Teachers Association, but also the spokeswoman of the NZQA, has a pedal back and acceptance to the students' demands to declare that they will not be penalized for misinterpretation of the word.
Learning (and I shudder when I use this terrible word) is that students can conclude that the standards of education are trivial, of little importance, and should not be dealt with.