Sunday, October 30, 2011

10 Reasons Schools Should Teach Text-Speak

Guest post courtesy of Phone Service

Texting in school is a very popular topic with people able to argue both sides. Some schools are teaching text speak or SMS in school. The students put together glossaries and compare their versions to the formal written language. Many might argue but listed below are ten reasons schools should teach text speak.
  1. Translation. Teaching students how to translate one version of the English language into another version of the English language exposes them to critical thinking skills.
  2. It is useful. Students tend to wonder when they will ever use what they are learning. Not long ago students were required to take Latin, and a very small percentage ever applied it in real life. Texting, on the other hand, is quite useful to just about everyone who owns a cell phone.
  3. Teaches creativity. There are plenty of words or terms that have not been condensed down into SMS text language. By engaging the students to create their own versions they are not only teaching creativity, but instilling self-esteem and confidence when they come up with something useful for others.
  4. Quicker note taking. By teaching SMS text speak in schools the students can apply it to other classes as well by using it as a short hand note taking skill. Unlike formal note taking which can take too long and lead to missed notes, SMS can help students effectively take notes at a speed close to the verbal communication of their teachers.
  5. Can wrap ethics in. Classes can have an ethical or moral tone to them by discouraging students from using texting in inappropriate ways. Many kids today are using texting to bully or send lewd messages to one another. This topic can be brought in to dissuade that kind of behavior.
  6. Can prepare them for the future. Technology is improving at a rate that some of us cannot keep up with. By bringing this into the classroom you can prepare students for the ever evolving technological advances.
  7. Engages students. Since you never see a teenager very far from their phone and in some cases it seems like it is permanently attached to their fingers, it makes sense to utilize them in the classrooms as well. Using cell phones in school is a great way to engage students with something they are already familiar with and then use texting to draw them into other subjects as well.
  8. Can save future embarrassment. If texting is taught in school, then students have the opportunity to learn the different acronyms and what they may or may not mean. This can save face in the future when texting a client or other professional. Some SMS texts have different meanings and some, like in verbal communication, can be said in a variety of ways.
  9. It CAN be used to teach spelling. Most people think of texting as eliminating the bulk of a word in order to condense it. This is true but it can be used in reverse in a school setting. Teachers can use SMS text language to give the students their spelling words and then have the students send back a message with the correct spelling of the word or words.
  10. Increases participation. By integrating texting into the classroom, teachers have been using it to get students to participate that otherwise wouldn’t. Some students may be afraid to answer a question out loud in class for fear of being wrong, but by texting answers to the teacher more students can participate at once.
Some people believe that texting in school is a distraction and can lead to cheating, but by bringing it into a classroom session and properly teaching them how to use texting, it can be beneficial to both the student and the teacher.  For more ideas about effective ways to use cell phones for learning, including research-based strategies, lessons, and more order Teaching Generation Text


  1. While you did raise some very good points, a major issue with text-speak and other shortcuts is that people are quick to abuse them, making unclear sentences with abbreviations and guidelines that only they know. Just one look at the Internet shows that most people, in their rush to shorten messages, sacrifice grammar to do so and insist on trying to shorten things even in situations where a long, detailed response is needed. While text-speak and similar things sound nice in theory, the web shows that they do not work out in practice.

    Could it be they aren't working out in practice because educators aren't actively addressing this? I believe this is the case and if more educators addressed this, it would be less of an issue.

    That said, it has not been my experience that the web shows this does not work out in practice. I find that people use texting language when texting, Tweeting language when tweeting, blogging language when blogging, and discussion board language when discussing. We need to help students do the same.

  3. This is a really good post and touches on some really important and often controversial issues. I believe that there are a lot of benefits to school pupils understanding text language but is this not something they will pick up without having to be taught? If time in the classroom teaching Standard English reading and writing is compromised with text language, will this actually be a valuable use of pupils’ time? But at the same time many people are endorsing the use of text messaging including companies by using sms for business purposes too.

  4. I really like your post and i am agreed with it i am from Pakistan and the way of teaching here is not so good which is the main cause of illiteracy

  5. This is just as ridiculous an idea as when some genius suggested teaching Ebonics as a second language. I have not met one single teenager who can actually spell and use punctuation correctly BECAUSE of text-speak. They think the English language is now unneccessary and teaching text-speak in school will only serve to drive that point further home.