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The Writing Question

By: Mubarak Abdessalami

        What if we start combating the worst form of illiteracy ever? To know to write, but in a very awkward incomprehensible way for every one to read and decode:

        And finally "lol" for "Laugh Out Loud" or "Lots Of Love". It always depends on who writes and who reads. These syntactical and lexical reductions or say 'abbreviations' or 'acronyms' are strategies employed to save time, effort and space but they kill the original language features slowly until 'literate' people become illiterate; which is an awkward learning development direction. Normally illiterate people with learning become literate.

        Well, teachers are certainly not happy with the "Salng, Acronyms, Emoticons, ClipArt, Smileys and Asterisks" "language" technology has provided to force people to communicate through web chat, instant messaging, texting, email and Short messages, to get rid of what remains of what is called standard language, no more grammar, no more styles, no more rhetoric. Any one, please, to predict the future of the human written language?!

        This group is trying to look for ways to foster and assist students not to get used to those "signs" and lose the authentic way language is used to deliver information. The learners nowadays spend more time on the MSN (MicroSoft Networks) than the time they spend in class. Therefore the danger is deadly if we don’t react quickly.

        Many teachers suggest exploiting the learners' attachment and love for chat to teach them how to write right. Let's start talking writing on all levels and exchange ideas that may drag the learners from the trap of being lost or at least " >:-( " [Annoyed] or " #:-o " [shocked] when they grow up unable to communicate their ideas normally using the genuine language script.

        It is quite exasperating to be a student for years and be not able to write right. It is never too late to mend however, if our teaching writing methods go beyond the focus on spelling, vocabulary and tenses only to ponder more on focal questions especially what composition for which genre and audience; besides insisting on the apposite format and tone to reverse the effects of the phenomenon of no reading thus no writing. There are several ways to introduce writing to the students without even mentioning that it is the sort of horrible assignment the students try to avoid by presenting all sorts of excuses.

        Here are two projects I want to share with you. Both of them seek to engage the students to adopt a very convenient behaviour towards writing with the proviso to get rid of all the old ideas they had about writing tasks including excuses. The students will not be obliged to look for pretexts not to write any more because instead they'll be looking for materials prone to enrich their productions. What constitutes an obstacle for them is generally the outline? Now that they have an idea on how to deal with that, all that they’ll need is just to read a lot and to make researches in order to enrich their vocabulary repertory and spelling skills.

        Though this generation seem to rely upon easy tasks with easy means for accomplishment, they are not really hard to involve in a somehow difficult task that needs hard work provided that you show them how to get started. The more you train them on how to write, the less frustrated they are when they have to do a writing assignment. They'll quickly make a distinction between chat language and serious writing one. They will use each appropriately. In your future students' essays you'll never find things like "GMTA" for "Great Minds Think Alike" or " **** " popcorn. Check the projects, ";->" (devilish wink)


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