If you’re worried that your students or children are eroding their vocabulary due to texting, you may want to sit down. Thanks to a new study in New Media & Society, it appears that students who text on a frequent basis perform worse on grammar tests.
The study examined sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in Pennsylvania. S. Shyam Sundar, who supervised the study, says the reason students perform worse on grammar tests is because texting is not actually a different language. It therefore works its way into the classroom, homework, and all facets of language.
In other words, texting too much can cause students to think this shorthand is a proper way to write.
At this rate, it wouldn’t surprise me that grammar continues to worsen as attention spans decrease, Twitter makes everyone talk in 140-character snippets, and texting keeps students unable to master grammar.
So how do teachers combat this? Sundar recommends giving students writing assignments that require longer form answers, formal language, and actively require students to shy away from shorter answers.
In my opinion, texting has a place in the classroom. There are polling tools, classroom apps, and short-form writing assignments that can play a great role in classrooms. However, let’s not forget the message of this study: texting happens outside the classroom all day long so let’s not rush to embrace it for all in-classroom work too.
This study falls directly in line with my education technology philosophy: technology has its place in the classroom. It’s not meant to replace teachers or anything dramatic like that. Just a great companion to any lesson that lets students have a learning experience like no one else before them.
Be sure to also check out Education Week’s review of the study here.