These days, it seems my students can’t let a minute go by without checking TikTok and Instagram or responding to their friend’s latest post on Snapchat. Teens’ widespread access to smartphones for the last decade has fed this fascination with social media and texting. According to Pew Research, 95 percent of teenagers have access to a smartphone, and 45 percent admit to being online ‘almost constantly.’

Though social media platforms can present a wide array of challenges both in and out of the classroom, I wanted to address the indirect impact of students constantly typing on phones and the resulting ‘social media speak.’

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As an English teacher, my students’ use of social media shorthand has become a bigger and bigger challenge with every new school year–especially as I see it carrying over into their coursework. Due to heavy reliance on abbreviated words, slang, autocorrect, and a tendency to write too quickly, these bad habits cause students to make a multitude of grammar and spelling mistakes.

That said, as noted by the U.S. Department of Education, “The nature of writing and writing instruction is changing. Technology plays an increasingly important role in how students learn and practice writing in and out of the classroom.”

About the Author:

Lauren Gehr is an English teacher at Dutch Fork High School.


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