Thursday, February 4, 2010

Decline in Grammar Skills

Do you believe that there has been a decline in students' grammar skills over the last 20 or so years? One study conducted by University of Ontario researchers documents a signigificant decline and suggests that texting, social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook) and the neglect of teaching grammar are the culprits. To read about the study, access this Digital Directions article, "Twitter, Texting Blamed for Students' Bad Grammar." By the way, speaking of grammar, visit this podcast site, Grammar Girls. Did you know about the site? Do you think it can help teach grammar skills?

7 comments:

Jessica T said...

I can agree with the fact that the grammar skills of students these days is going downhill. I have never used shortcuts and words like 'cuz' in any formal work I have had to write in school. However I find that words like that are becoming more common in daily speech. I cant even recall everytime that I have heard people my age use computer slang in conversation. I myself wish that in college, every student is required to take a basic grammar refresher course. There are times when even as an english major I forget simple predicates and other important aspects of english writing. Teens should be cautious when writing a paper or having a conversation, not to use slang or talk the way they would type on facebook or text on their cell phones.

Christina said...

When I am texting or using social networking programs like facebook, I do not worry about my grammer or even my spelling. When I was in elementry and high school I had strict grammer teachers, this is why I beleive I am able to write well written papers, etc. I know when I am writing a paper I cant talk like I would socially through texting and facebook. My brother is in high school and asked me to corret an essay for him, it was interesting to notice that he couldnt make that switch to proper writing. In his essay where words like "u" or "lol". I almost feel like this generation of kids need to take some sort of class to teach them how to use grammer and when it is appropriate to talk with incorrect grammer.

Kate said...

I agree with Jessica T in that grammar skills in general among students are on the decline. The reason for this stems to what is taught in the elementary grades. Students should be taught grammar extensively in these grades. Unfortunately, as a fifth grade teacher, while I do teach grammar, it is not a main focus. There are times when I go a few days without teaching it because I need to teach something else that is more important. Also, on the CMTs, students are not assessed on grammar. They are assessed on their editing and revising skills, but not grammar skills. Therefore, there is a lack of emphasis to focus on teaching grammar. I think that the answer to these problems is to make sure that students receive an excellent education in grammar in the elementary years. This way proper English is used when students get to the college level and must write papers. It really is essential that students and adults are able to speak and write using proper grammar.

As for texting and facebook, I agree with Christina in that I do not check for spelling or grammar issues. Usually I am responding or writing/ texting quickly and the person on the receiving end will be able to decipher the message. However, I also write papers much differently than when I text or write on facebook. Students must realize this. They cannot write the word "cuz" in substitute for because while writing a paper. This is simply not acceptable. Therefore, the answer lies in teaching students grammar skills from a very young age so it is engrained in them. This way papers written will be up to standard based on using proper grammar.

Jacquelyne B. said...

This is so true! (I totally want to write an OMG! in here for emphasis). During student teaching, I had two students hand in a paper that had "u" instead of "you" written throughout the whole eight page paper.

Shannan said...

I also agree that there has been a decline in correct grammar usage in students. When I was in high school, and when computers first started to become a "social network", I would communicate with my peers through AIM (Instant Messanger). It was fun to use the different types of abbreviations for sayings such as "lol", "brb", or "ttyl" and also much faster to type! I agree with Christina that it is ok to use such language/grammar on a social networking site to chat with friends or family memebers; however, I do believe that this may become too comfortable a way of communication and therefore students may become confused with proper grammar usage when asked to write an important paper for school. It is definitley easier and faster form of communication, but it has caused a decline in correct grammar for the upcoming generation.

Melissa said...

I understand and accept that technology and the way students coomunicate is changing.However, due to the increase in texting among students, grammar should be an intrical part of any curriculum.Students should be aware of the differences between formal and informal language. A basic understanding of these differences may build a foundation of expectations in the classroom. I know of a teacher who allows her students to write informally (cuz, lol, wat, etc.) when journaling daily. I am unsure as to how I feel about this option. Does this freedom allow students to express themseleves freely or practice poor grammar?

Kate said...

This is a great site. I use it all the time.

I believe that students should always be reminded to use proper grammar. I also believe that there should be a class offered every other year on grammar. Maybe just a semester class would work. It seems like grammar is concentrated on in elementary school but stops there. And then you have the many teachers who have a difficult time with grammar. How does that help any student? I make sure that proper grammar is used with all papers and assignments.

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