Four or five years ago it was popular among educators to worry about how the rise of instant messaging and SMS was going to harm students' ability to write proper English. However, over the past few years those fears have subsided as studies have shown that students are usually smart enough to know what's appropriate in what situation and even that text messaging can boost writing skills by offering students a greater opportunity to make use of written language. Apparently no one told Irish educators, however. There's a story out today about how the Irish State Examination Commission is worried about exam performance of students and are blaming the problems on the rise of txting. What may be interesting here is that the report doesn't seem to condemn the use of traditional "txt" language within the context of traditional writing (suggesting kids still understand the difference concerning what's appropriate at what time), but that students have changed their writing style to make it "unduly reliant on short sentences, simple tenses and a limited vocabulary." Of course, there could be a variety of reasons for this that have nothing to do with text messaging -- including the specific education program used to train these students. However, if the problem is that the language has been simplified, it seems like the solution can again be found in better educating students how to use the language properly, rather than worrying about kids spending too much time sending messages on their phones.
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