|Grammar in the Age of Social Media|
|posted by: Alix | March 06, 2012, 05:00 AM|
With social media and technology expanding daily, students and the general public are beginning to embrace shortened "text-speak" as part of an overall trend of using bad grammar, bad punctuation and bad spelling–all for the sake of convenience and speed. While social media lingo may send English teachers into a tailspin, experts have pondered whether proper English grammar may be on a road to extinction in the brave new world of emoticons, texts, tweets, and short Facebook posts.
In speaking to students, we often see that the shorthand used in social media and texting can be carried over into the classroom. Brandon Kessock, a high school freshman, said he's experienced an overlap. "I get so used to texting that I mess up a lot of easy words. Instead of 'what' I type 'wat.' Using my phone affects my grammar more than I ever knew."
Another high school student claims the trend is impacting nearly everyone in their class. "It has affected students negatively because people often do not fully spell out words and add extra letters when texting or messaging. Sometimes when I switch papers to edit in class, I find my partner using text messaging words."
Even with the growing trend, there is little research to suggest social media shorthand is having an impact on students. Still, regardless of the true impact on an emerging issue, grammar remains a hot subject. In recognizing the importance of writing well, education advocates are stressing the need to keep grammar lessons interesting and current.
Mignon Fogarty, author of "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing," said it's important for teachers to make the subject relatable. "Keeping them engaged in whatever way you can should be the best way to teach grammar. It's more fun for a student to consider grammar in the context of a Justin Timberlake quotation than from a textbook or made-up example," Fogarty said.
Technology can also be helpful in providing educators new tools. Ninth-grade English teacher Leslie Kraft uses these resources to her advantage. "There are a variety of applications for the Apple iPad which help students improve their writing skills," she mentions. Additionally, since students become better writers by reading texts they enjoy, "a major component of my curriculum is devoted to connecting students with appropriate texts and creating life-long readers," Kraft stresses.
Whatever your experience with teaching English, social media is clearly here to stay. As educators, it's critical to strike a delicate balance between promoting the academic use of technology and stressing the importance of proper grammar.
What do you think about the growing use of social media/ texting shorthand?