Teenagers write better than ever

In the age of email, do we need to lower our expectations for student writers? That’s becoming the conventional wisdom in some quarters.

English teachers in Montana have been abuzz over comments made at the Board of Public Education by an important official last month. Since kids communicate via email filled with abbreviations and creative spelling, how “pertinent” is the teaching of writing? “We can’t impart on students something that is not applicable now,” the official said.

A study in England provides reassurance for those of us still looking for ways to do a better job of teaching writing.  A comprehensive study of exam papers has found that the writing ability of 16-year-olds in England has never been higher:

. . .the two-year study found that today’s teenagers are using far more complex sentence structures, a wider vocabulary and a more accurate use of capital letters, punctuation and spelling.

The teenagers were more likely to use abbreviations and creative spelling, but they also wrote more complex sentences with a more powerful vocabulary. 


Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 10/31 at 02:14 PM






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