Teach text-speak to 'improve pupils' grammar'

5th November 2010 at 00:00

Pupils should study slang and text-message abbreviations to help their understanding of standard English, according to two academics.

Writing in The TES today, Dan Clayton and Professor Dick Hudson of University College London call for stronger teaching of grammar, because students in Britain appear less aware of grammatical terms than they were before the introduction of the national curriculum and are falling behind their counterparts in other countries.

But they suggest that teachers should be less worried about pupils' use of local language forms such as "we likes" or slang and text English, because these can be studied to help them appreciate standard English.

"Studying the forms and structures of regional varieties, street slang, text messaging and spoken language alongside the forms and structures of standard English - as a basis for mastering standard vocabulary, spellings, punctuation tricks, style-shifts, rhetorical devices and grammatical patterns - should be seen not as dumbing down, but as a positive move into the real language of real speakers," they write.

"Linguists know young people are adept at code-switching - shifting between different forms and registers of a language - but to do this they need at least two codes, and one of them should be standard English."

Insight, pages 34-35.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now