Txt Spk In Schools Not A Big Deal
from the yet-again dept
While some of the headlines on the latest Pew Study about how “txt speak” is slipping into school writing assignments suggest the horror of a generation of kids who write LOL and use smileys in written communications, the actual results aren’t that bad at all. What the study found was that, yes, occasionally some students let slip non-formal English, though that’s hardly surprising. However, it’s not particularly damaging, and it becomes a teaching point, helping students learn the difference between formal and informal English. This is nothing new. Every year we see the same basic study results, despite plenty of people flipping out. Despite long term worries about txt speak destroying the language, there’s no evidence to support that.
In 2003, there was a study that showed that all this writing online was actually making kids more comfortable with writing in general. In 2004, a study showed (like this one) that with a little instruction kids easily understood the difference between texting and writing. In 2005, a study actually found that kids were better writers than in the past “using far more complex sentence structures, a wider vocabulary and a more accurate use of capital letters, punctuation and spelling” even if they sometimes let a txtism into their writing. And, in 2006, a study showed that students showed no ill effects from widespread text and IM messaging. In other words, this story is getting plenty of attention, but the details don’t support the headline version that kids are unable to understand what’s appropriate in their writing.
Also, one other interesting finding came out of this study: despite the fact that kids sometimes seem attached to their computers, two-thirds actually prefer to write assignments by hand. So, perhaps that’ll put to rest that other circulating myth that kids aren’t able to write by hand any more.