Texting: Gr8 or not so gr8 4 writing sklz An Interview with Melissa FeeTHY

Melissa Freethy is an 10th grade English teacher in the Montrose Area School District.

1) What kind of impact has 'textspeak' had in your students' academic performance?

I can see where students may be spelling harder words correctly, but they do not keep that knowledge for in class activities. They tend to use it for the here and now and are not filling it into their long term memories for when they need it without the use of a device. Grammatically it does not help with their performance. I also find that students are getting "lazy" in learning for themselves because they say I have this to use so I don't need to know it.

2) Some studies indicate that texting may improve spelling and grammar because in order to shorten words they need to think phonetically about the words. Have you seen evidence of this in your class? If so, can you elaborate on that?

Grammatically it doesn't help my students improve. They make common errors when they do not have access to help from their technology. They tend to miss commas a lot.

3) Some studies indicate that texting can have a negative impact on writing, specifically with punctuation and capitalization. Have you seen evidence of this in your class? If so, can you elaborate on that?

Yes! Students have many run on sentences with no use of punctuation. I need to go through and put punctuation in to show them where a new thought begins. Students will claim it should be right, but they are not going back to edit or revise. They are relying wholly on things such as textspeak instead of using their prior knowledge. Some even will argue that it has to be right because they used that!

4) Do you or have you ever conducted a lesson the revolves around 'textspeak' and what not to do when writing in an English class?

I have never conducted a lesson that revolves around this, but maybe I should in the future. It may be helpful for our students. I have taught lessons on writing. Usually they are throughout the year as new writing types come into play. I also have a class for peer editing every time they write something. It forces them to look at each other's work, but I am finding they need to ask each other for assistance because they do not know or remember basic rules of proper writing.

5) Do you or have you ever conducted a lesson that allowed or required 'textspeak'?

No I have not. With technology becoming more accessible, it could really help in the future.


Created with images by Pexels - "mic music still life" • evanforester - "Microphone"

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