Discourage Good Language Skills English Language Essay


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"Textism": Does it really Discourage Good Language Skills? Dr. Beverly Plester, senior lecturer in the Psychology Department at the Coventry University has done numerous research related to children's literacy and attempts in her paper entitled, Txt Msg n School Literacy: Does Texting and Knowledge of Text Abbreviations Adversely Affect Children's Literacy Attainment to report on the relationship between children's texting behavior, their knowledge of text abbreviations and their schoolattainment in written language skills [137]. Information was obtained based on two studies she conducted which investigated the topic stated above. This is relevant to the writer's research topic as he is also doing a research paper on whether or not texting discourages the development of good language skills in young people. The writer has seen where persons close to him have had difficulty in differentiating between acceptable formal writing practices and those acceptable to communicate between peers and as such has sought to determine whether or not the use of texting hampers the development of good language skills especially among students.

The article was very detailed and was explicit in conveying information and arguing the topic as the report was very factual, and never strayed from the topic. However, the language used was very formal and many readers might not be able to understand some of the information given in the article. The studies, overall, could also have targeted a larger sample and used other strategies to prove or disprove the hypothesis. Nonetheless, this is a very important topic, as the effects of texting on young people's language skills is a growing problem and needs to be addressed especially as this trend is a current issue that is being debated by educators , parents and even prospective employers.

Plester makes the claim that through texting, the awareness of the variety of language registers available to them is raised [143]. In retrospect, Plester is supporting the side that texting does not discourage the development of good language skills in young people [143]. In fact, she puts forward the view that text messaging contributes to higher achievement in school literacy measures [143]. Therefore, texting is not associated with poor language skills. To further support her claim, she conducted two independent studies which focused on the relationship between the use of shortened words in texting and their school attainment and good language skills in students [137]. The sample was taken from two separate schools where there were students of varying ages. They were asked to convert from text message sentences to Standard English sentences and vice versa, from which verbal and non verbal reasoning scores would be obtained. In Study One, although the subjects that used their cellular phones often to send text messages had lower scores than those who did not, they tend to perform better when verbal reasoning ability was assessed [139-140]. Study Two also included a spelling component, and those from the sample who texted a lot actually obtained high scores in these writing exercises [141-142].

Evaluation of the articles content

The title of the article used actual text language "textism" in the heading and this set the pace for the rest of the article [137]. The author, by incorporating this type of spelling in the article's title actually allowed the reader to understand even before reading the actual article that text messages can be understood by the average reader and that intellectuals also use text messaging language whilst still being able to attain a high level of literacy.

The article provided a synopsis of the research done in the abstract that is positioned immediately after the title and author's name. The abstract was a preludeto the actual article and allowed the reader to ascertain if the article was what they wanted to read by giving a brief summary of all that is discussed in the actual article.

Reading the article and identifying key points was very easy as the physical arrangement of the paper was very reader friendly. Subtopics were used to highlight sections and this allowed the reader to easily identify key points. The use of in text citation made it easy for the reader to ascertain the authenticity of the points as the reader went through the article. The end of the abstract listed key words which also helped the reader if he/she wanted to do additional research related to the topic.The list of references at the end of the article added to the validity of the article and was arranged alphabetically which facilitated easy search. Additional sites were included in this list which would allow for further research on the topic or the contributors of the article. The author also provided the reader with full details as to how she might be contacted. This encourages feedback and adds to the value of the article.

Tables are usually one of the most effective ways of presenting information in a concise and accurate manner (Simmons-McDonald ). These were used to present data and were adequately labeled with concise legends placed above the tables. Numbers and bullets were also used to highlight key points while the actual page of the presented article was formatted by dividing into two vertical columns and this lent itself to easy reading. The font size and spacing are large and wide enough which promoted easy reading and minimal if any at all, physical struggle while reading.

Actual parts of the study conducted were included in the article and this allowed the reader to get a first hand feel of the actual study conducted. An example of this is the actual words given to the students to translate being included in the article.

Based on the formal language used, the author's intended audience would be scholars and educators. In addition, the use of several formulas, abbreviations and mathematical jargon would only be understood by persons familiar with or associated statistics or mathematical principles. The paper however was written mainly from the first person [we] perspective and this suggested a certain feeling of the writer being objective and not always very formal.

The author's purpose was clearly to inform the readers and to report facts that were obtained from studies done by the author. No effort was made to exaggerate or sensationalize but rather, based on the studies done, Plester exposed readers to another side or the effects of textism. Most people would have begun reading the article with the opinion that of course texting discourages good language skills; unaware of the benefits texting has. However, after reading, and being informed of these benefits, opinions would be changed.

The article was published in November 2008 in Literacy ; a journal published on behalf of the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA), a registered organization whose mandate is to foster advancement of educational literacy. Many of the sources used were dated between 2000 and 2007 and written by scholars. Plester also used ability tests that were respected and proven in the educational sphere to measure the literacy abilities [139]: for example the Cognative Ability Test (CAT). The actual date of the studies conducted however, was not stated so it was difficult to ascertain how relevant the sources were to the actual study that was conducted. Technology and its uses is moving at a rapid pace and so relevant information prior to 2008 might not be so relevant today. Therefore it could be assumed that the information in the research might not be totally relevant to today's society.

The research presented was based on two (2) primary studies carried out by the main author of the article. Information was also presented from research carried out by other researchers. Their findings were further used to strengthen the findings of the author as some of these researches were conducted by specialists in the field.

Throughout the article the author made reference to sources from which she obtained information. Most of these sources were from scholarly journals and information from educational research papers presented at seminars. The Washington Post was also cited. Even though newspapers are not always the most credible sources the Washington Post has been in existence since 1877, winning 47 Pulitzer prizes and the editors are chosen from a list of the most qualified, including Boston Globe editor, Martin Baron.

While most authors would look at the negative effects of texting on the use of good language skills, Plester manages to show readers the positive effects. As a result, her article is very informative; making points that most readers would have been unaware of prior to reading. She therefore provided a lot of insight on a topic which is an important current issue, so making a significant contribution. The article is well organized allowing for quick and easy reading which allows for her main points to come across easily. Thorough studies were done, the sources chosen were valid and reliable, and the author herself has a lot of experience in psychology, which together makes the article highly valid and reliable. With all the above considered, this article will be useful in the writer"s research.

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