I have a friend who, at the mere mention of toys r us goes into a full speech about how kids in his class write their r’s the wrong way round. It drives him mad. I feel the same about text speak. I recently marked a piece of writing that had both LOL and m8 in it. I was furious when marking it. I don’t think I was as mad with the child as much as society, the parents and a culture of laziness. Now I have never pretended to be the best speller, or that my grammar and punctuation is the best it could be. I just can’t see how you put text speak into school work.
It’s not just the text speak though, it’s not even the dropping of h’s or replacing the th with an f (ello instead of hello or fanks instead of thanks) it’s the complete lack of understanding that this in not the correct way to speak.
The newest one though is the dreaded D. This D finds itself at the start of words it has no place being. There becomes dere. “It’s over dere bruv” can be heard or “I didn’t do dat dough”. And worse than this, it’s started to creep into their writing. Not just in sentences (although that’s pretty bad) but in word exercises. I was doing a class activity based on homophones (homophones are words that sound the same but are spelt differently and have different meanings. e.g. to, too and two) and a child said “I have a good one, dare and dere”. I asked him to repeat himself as I thought it was just a word mix up, maybe he meant dare and dear. He said exactly the same thing. I finally asked him to put the words in context for me. This is what he said…
“I dare you to go and jump over the road”. And then “look at that dog, it’s over dere”.
What hope do I have trying to teach if this is what I’m up against.
I do understand that many of the children I teach don’t speak English as a first language at home. I also get the fact that that’s why they might not be able to write as well as other children of the same age. It’s not a race thing. I am sure though that they don’t communicate via text when speaking with whoever is at home. It’s not that they have a strong accent other than that of the street. White, black, Filipino, Vietnamese, African, Bangladeshi, Caribbean etc. They all speak with accent of the street, it’s universal (well londonversal). I would love to know if it’s the same in all big cities.
I shall continue to try to right the wrongs, pick up on the mistakes and correct the spelling. After all, dere is no one else to do it.