Text speak creeps into classrooms

Text speak creeps into classrooms »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. – They don’t capitalize. They don’t punctuate and their sentences run on and on and on.

Does that sound like a text message from your kids? Now imagine having to grade their school papers and exams?

While text speak has crept into the classroom, you don’t need to take away the phone to break the bad habit.

Milan, Keyaira, Kiona and Trayci are sophomores at Grant High School. They are self-described text addicts. Ask them if they could quit for even just a day and OMG you see the panic in their eyes. They just LUV being immersed in the texting world.

They admit it does creep into their schoolwork.

“All the time,” says Milan Woods. “And I have to rewrite it and erase it, and my teacher’s like ‘Milan, spell out the word!’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, I forgot.’”
LOL? Well, maybe not if you’re a teacher.

Mike Kleiner teaches eighth grade history and English at Chief Umtuch Middle School in Battle Ground, Wash.

“The lowercase ‘i’ is probably the biggest (and) the lowercase ‘u’ for ‘y-o-u,’” he says.

Kleiner noticed the text speak filtering into papers a few years ago. He says it’s not the end of the world, but he sure makes it seem that way to his students.

“As soon as I see these things happening, I go completely overboard and almost irrational when I see them,” he says. “I circle them in big Magic Marker (and) I take time out to talk about them.”

And that’s how he breaks the bad habit. He warns them about how those seemingly innocent slips could really cramp their style in the real world.

“I need them to get out there and be competitive, which means, even as a contractor, you might be working off an iPad in a couple years – sending e-mails to somebody and having your living depend on it.”

So does all this text slang mean our kids are getting dumber? Kleiner says no. After a few lectures, his students get it and it stops.

What does worry him is the amount of time kids are spending in front of all those screens.

“There’s a lot of homework that’s not getting done now because of gaming, and because of texting,” he says. “Kids can’t – you can’t read a novel by checking your phone every 10 seconds.”

Milan and her friends say they’ll never stop texting, but they do feel silly when that symbol meant for a friend somehow lands on the teacher’s desk.

According to college professors KATU News spoke with, it’s not a big problem in their classrooms. But what does concern them is the casual tone of the e-mails they get from students.

They look more like text messages. Like Kleiner, they’re worried about how that will affect students when they hit the job market.