You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 06, 2016, 01:58:51 PM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: Texting Actually Helps Our Children's Language Skills (?)  (Read 707 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Texting Actually Helps Our Children's Language Skills (?)
« on: January 20, 2010, 07:56:23 PM »
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7910075.stm

When I read the headline, I immediately scoffed; however, I put away my gut reaction and decided to approach the article objectively. I'm still doubtful after having read it. My experience with teaching children has shown me that they do indeed pepper their papers with misspellings that often resemble text-message/internet-speak conventions. Still, I'm only one person, and their results are from 88 kids.

Hopefully a larger study will be done to verify or disprove this, because I'm still quite skeptical of it.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2010, 08:01:56 PM by Paradox »

Offline Serephino

Re: Texting Actually Helps Our Children's Language Skills (?)
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2010, 08:54:16 PM »
From what I gather, the article is saying that it helps reading comprehension, and not spelling.  Still, I think spelling and grammar skills are important too.  I use 'text speak' when texting out of laziness, but when I write something that matters I use proper spelling and grammar.

When I write fan fiction I do my best, but I also send it to an editor.  I find that poorly written stories aren't well received.  If the author doesn't care enough about the story, then why should a reader care to read it.  And surely, no one would pay money for a book written in chat speak.

The same thing spills over into other aspects of life.  If one's job application is full of bad spelling and grammar the employer is likely to throw it out. 

In a forum like this where the only way to communicate is the written word, the way one spells represents them.  If one were to use chat speak in an area like Politics and Religion I'm sure that no matter how well the argument was thought out, most of us wouldn't take them seriously.  Why would we, especially when we can barely understand it?

I think studies like this are made to defend the rise in texting.  Parents won't do anything about it if they're convinced it's a good thing, and they'll continue to spend lots of money on cell plans with unlimited texting.  I was always taught to take studies like this with a grain of salt because the researchers usually end up finding in favor of those funding the research. 

Offline Trieste

  • Faerie Queen; Her Imperial Lubemajesty; Willing Victim
  • Dame
  • Carnite
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2005
  • Location: In the middle of Happily Ever After with a dark Prince Charming.
  • Gender: Female
  • I am many things - dull is not one of them.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 4
Re: Texting Actually Helps Our Children's Language Skills (?)
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2010, 09:07:04 PM »
It's not the use of text speak in general that's alarming; it's the use of it at inappropriate times that's annoying (such as usage in school essays and whatnot). There are plenty of very smart people who cannot spell very well - one of the better orators that I know is a terrible speller. I haven't researched it myself but I suspect that the part of the brain in charge of memorizing correct spellings probably has little to do with the other language centers of the brain.

If it teaches kids to be more careful about their words and "I'll hurt my friend Jenny's feelings unless I find a better way to write this text message", that's wonderful. It just will need to be balanced out by a focused emphasis on grammar, spelling, etc.

Offline Darkpoet

Re: Texting Actually Helps Our Children's Language Skills (?)
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2010, 09:15:23 PM »
It would be interesting to see more studies, with larger sample sizes done in this area. Of course, without information on how the study was conducted, it's impossible to tell how legitimate it is, even if they had looked at 1,000 10-12 years olds instead of 88. It's important to keep in mind that it's a correlation, so even if we do find there is a positive relationship, it doesn't mean that texting is the cause of improving reading development. There could be some other force that cause the two to be related that way, or better reading development causes increased usage in textisms...which I think might be unlikely, so I think it might be interesting to look at that outside force category.

Offline Neroon

  • Sneaky Little Weasel
  • Oracle
  • Addict
  • *
  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Location: Stationed with the Slug-Slaying Cavalry
  • Gender: Male
  • Beware of geeks bearing gifs
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 3
Re: Texting Actually Helps Our Children's Language Skills (?)
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2010, 08:51:11 AM »
Eighty-eight children is an awfully small sample on which to base those conclusions, especially given that a small secondary school would have at least 150 children per year group.  Most of the schools in the Coventry area are a lot larger than that.  Consequently, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the entire sample was taken from the bottom year of just one school.  If that school rigorously imposes high standards in spelling for work that's handed in, the effects of using text-speak on children's work would be masked.  The quote below suggests that they are drawing conclusions from two sets of data.  Typically, eleven year-olds are not expected to write essays, while university students are.  My guess is that they have studied the effects of texting on reading and the comment about spelling came up as an off-the-cuff comment when Dr Plester was interviewed about her work.
Quote
"The alarm in the media is based on selected anecdotes but actually when we look for examples of text speak in essays we don't seem to find very many," said Dr Beverley Plester, the lead author of the report and senior lecturer at Coventry University.

As to whether texting can improve reading, I'm inclined to believe that it can.  I would see the use of text-speak as basically the same as that of a restricted code.  Generally those are used all the time by children and they have not had a harmful effect on their progress so far.  Admittedly, most of the restricted codes that find their way into children's language are oral in nature, so the effect is bound to be different.  The fact that texting moves a large proportion of their communication into the written arena should mean that they will be more willing to engage with the written word, I would have thought.

Still, I can't say I like the idea of encouraging them to use text-speak though.

Offline Drake Valentine

  • Architect of Worlds
  • Knight
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2009
  • Location: In the Deepest Depthes of Your Twisted Mind
  • Gender: Male
  • Making Your Darkest of Fantasies a Reality
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Texting Actually Helps Our Children's Language Skills (?)
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2010, 11:37:36 AM »
Not to seem like the evil raincloud blocking the ray of sunshine, but what would ten to twelve year old(s) being doing with cellphones in the first place? Maybe I am just a bit more old fashioned as in my day when I was a child, I didn't have/use a cellphone. Wouldn't more children be improving similar language skills with the use of the internet on a computer, as internet itself is usually- unless I am mistaken- cheaper or around similar price to a cellphone bill(or roughly close to for that matter.) I'm sorry, but I can't really see this in light of being something that improves or helps children. The low study and basis in grouping isn't very reassuring either. When I think of people of that age using cellphones and doing text speak, how much are they learning from 'k, thx, ttyl, how goes, lol,' so on and so forth? Again, maybe it is just me in seeing such in a perspective, and I am not trying to per-say, dumb-size the younger generation or anything, but I really don't see this as a way of improving language skills for children. ;\

Come on.. Really...? Ten to twelve!!!!!! Doesn't that speak for itself?

Offline Neroon

  • Sneaky Little Weasel
  • Oracle
  • Addict
  • *
  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Location: Stationed with the Slug-Slaying Cavalry
  • Gender: Male
  • Beware of geeks bearing gifs
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 3
Re: Texting Actually Helps Our Children's Language Skills (?)
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2010, 12:39:01 PM »
I would not say you're that old fashioned, when I was a kid, neither I nor any of my peers had a mobile phone either.  Admittedly, that was because they hadn't been invented back then.  In fact, I had been teaching a number of years when the first mobiles made their way into schools.

Typically, most children in Britain get their first mobile at around eleven years old, when they move from primary school to secondary school.  This coincides with the majority of them starting to make their way to and from school by themselves, so parents give the phones as a way of the child getting in contact with them if they get into trouble and need help.  Personally, I think that this gives both children and their parents a false sense of security, but such is the culture.

I don't think that the article was advocating the use of mobiles in schools; like most of my colleagues, I am vehemently opposed to the things being turned on during lesson time.  Instead, I think that the article was trying to say that the fact that children do use thee things (as deplorable as it might be) is not as much a hindrance to their development as it may seem.

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Texting Actually Helps Our Children's Language Skills (?)
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2010, 08:53:32 AM »
Although I feel similar to the way you do about kids possessing cell phones at such a young age, Drake, it's definitely a common occurrence here in the States as well. I've seen children as young as seven with cell phones (though it was one of those specially-designed models for children, with safety in mind as Neroon pointed out). The fact that children are growing up with technology at such a young age is just a fact of life for their generation. In some ways, it will pay off for them as adults because they will have already learned quite a bit of what us adults are struggling to understand. Back in '99, Don Tapscott predicted this phenomenon in his article entitled "The Net Generation".

(I know it's off the topic, but I started this thread, so I'll do what I damn well please  :P)
Here are a couple of  things related to the technological changes taking place, especially as it regards our children:

http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI0606.pdf

Did You Know 4.0

and an older version, which has some other interesting facts:

Did You Know 2.0