Australia: Can't spell, can text? gr8 m8!

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sun Apr 1 13:20:15 UTC 2007

Can't spell, can text? gr8 m8!

Melanie Christiansen March 29, 2007 05:41am

STUDENTS who are bad spellers but can tap out a fast text message deserve
credit for their "digital literacy", a Queensland academic has claimed.
With plans underway for a new English syllabus in Queensland schools ,
Professor Erica McWilliam has slammed the current "moral panic" about
declining literacy standards. The assistant dean of research at the
Queensland University of Technology's education faculty said spelling was
sometimes overrated in the modern world.

"When a young person writes 'cu l8r', you can either look at it as bad
spelling or as an impressive short messaging capacity," Professor
McWilliam said. "In a digital world, being able to communicate quickly is
essential.  Sometimes spelling can actually get in the way." But Professor
McWilliam's stance has not impressed the Queensland Council of Parents and
Citizens Associations, which wants classrooms to refocus on teaching the
three Rs.

"As parents, we would be delighted if our kids could meet the standards as
far as the traditional curriculum is concerned," council executive officer
Greg Donaldson said. But Queensland teachers and principals yesterday
offered some support for the idea of recognising digital literacy in
classrooms. "Digital literacy is vital," said State School Principals
Association acting president Norm Hart.

And Queensland Teachers' Union president Steve Ryan accused those pushing
a more traditional curriculum of "outdated" thinking. Queensland's
rewritten English syllabus is due to be introduced in July next year.,23739,21467239-3102,00.html#


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