With the overwhelming use of social media in society today, teachers are faced with more challenges surrounding the task of teaching reading and writing. The “new” grammar is in the form of acronyms such as, “IDK,” which actually reads, “I don’t know.” This generation of students has constructed and defined a new language, computer mediated communication (CMC), which has infiltrated their reading and writing process. Research on this issue yields mixed results on whether or not it is a problem. There are ways to positively address this new language in the classroom, yet many teachers struggle with the concept because they are not familiar with the new language or how to incorporate it effectively.
According to Gloria Jacobs, there is a decline in writing skills among adolescents. “With the advent of instant messaging (IM) in the late 1990s and its rapid adoption by adolescents, CMC became part of public consciousness (Jacobs 204).” Typographic literacies have been replaced with short fragmented sentences, emoticons, and acronyms. Jacobs argues that any literary exposure and practice can provide insight into an individual’s literate development (204). We as teachers must remember that coherent and meaningful writing is determined by the context, and this concept should be taught to students as well.
Since 78% of online students use IM and similar social media tools, teachers should familiarize themselves with the language and use it as a teaching tool (Jacobs, 205). For example, teachers can have students translate IM messages into proper written form and then analyze the grammatical structure of the messages before and after translation. Even though their CMC communication consists of a whole new language, the basis of that language was traditional grammar, so the connection between the two does exist and can be examined. In order not to lose proper writing skills, students must realize the audience from which they are writing and... [continues]
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