Continued from page 1
"I see it as another opportunity to teach and learn," said a junior high teacher. Because texting is infiltrating students' schoolwork to such a large degree, this kind of teaching is needed.
The fact is kids are saying they are so accustomed to IM abbreviations (instant messaging), that they read right pass them when editing their schoolwork. This indicates their ability to separate formal and informal English is declining.
If educators choose to react with alarm or dismay, or try to stifle it, or call this type of writing rude (it is not rude), they are dismissing an important opportunity to work with student. This type of response is wrong response, especially from teens' point of view.
I advocate turning issue of texting into a positive. For example, establish a dialogue about evolution of language and use examples such as Shakespeare's delight in creating new words. This helps them see broader picture and creates an environment of respect.
Teenagers have long pushed boundaries of spoken language, now they are pushing boundaries of written language. It remains to be seen if text shorthand is just a fad. To me it is a cousin of acronym, which has been widely used in government, business and technology sectors for decades.
Let's also not forget that youths like feeling of knowing something that not everyone knows and sharing that with their friends. Remember Internet and online communication is very real for them, they don't see it as a technological revolutionÖthey're actively using it everyday.
I challenge parents and educators to learn and know as much as they do about computers and high-tech gadgets. I'd say learning curve for feeling comfortable using Internet and understanding online lingo is pretty steep for many adults.
Whereas for teenagers, also knows as screenagers, they've grown up or they're growing up with this technology that involves looking at a computer screen instead of just a television screen. In a sense they are helping create a new lingo and style of writing and that's empowering for them. So you see texting is an important part of their culture.
The Internet represents a new frontier, a place where you can set aside rules, especially rules of grammar and punctuation, and instead create your own descriptive phrases and styles of expression to give feeling in what is essentially a two-dimensional written world. And therein lies popularity of emoticon :-)
Another way to look at texting is to think of it as an accent; a written accent. Teenagers have gotten comfortable with this kind of typing and now in school, they're not paying attention. It's just like with a spoken accent: You live somewhere long enough, you pick up accent, and you don't even pay attention to it.
So don't get mad, get creative and work together! It's that kind of response we'd rather teach our children anyway now isn't it? Erin Jansen is an expert in online communication. She is author and publisher of "NetLingo The Internet Dictionary" (ISBN: 0970639678) and "NetLingo.com" a Top 1000 Web site as ranked by Google. Erin frequently speaks and writes about online culture and technology trends. Register for her "Newsletter of New Internet Terms" at NetLingo.com
Erin Jansen is co-creator of NetLingo.com, the popular, award winning, Internet Dictionary on the Web; now published in print form. She holds a Masters in Industrial Psychology from the London School of Economics and a Bachelors in Psychology from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.
Her complete Biography can be found on the site at www.netlingo.com