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Comments about ‘Professor: Smartphones have made it a 'bit unnecessary' to teach children how to spell’

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Published: Monday, Aug. 5 2013 5:40 p.m. MDT

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birder
Salt Lake City, UT

Wait until this texting-crazy generation gets to grad school. They will not have a clue how to write papers. Spell check doesn't catch all the errors. The ability to write well about a topic is still one mark of an educated person. Technology is great, but it should not cause society to sink to the lowest possible education level.

Random
Redlands, CA

Yep, because "Imma show you dat work" will work well for communication.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

This reminds me of the "Eubonics" debate of a decade or so ago. Or, the hysteria over the idea that English should be considered the "official" language.

Then, as now, my response was that to argue for a relaxation or even the abandonment of language standards without considering the effect it has on communication, the whole point of language, is very short sighted.

Producing irregular and thus potentially confusing words because of multiple or even ad hoc spellings simply reduces their effectiveness in doing their job of conveying ideas between people.

Simply put, it harms people to hobble them with a reduced ability to communicate. In so doing, it harms society.

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@ birder: The way you write would probably have not been considered acceptable in the not too distant past - and would probably have been considered the mark of an ill-educated individual.

There was a time when not knowing Latin meant you were uneducated.

Standards change and what my parents considered horrible is now more than acceptable.

I actually semi agree with you - spell and grammar check do not catch everything (although they are getting better) so it is important to know how to write and spell without relying on technology.

But language does constantly evolve and the more "common" usage is what survives.

(And besides which, grad school professors have been complaining since before the days of Plato that "kids these days" are lazy and don't know how to properly form a sentence. :/)

My2Cents
Taylorsville, UT

This is pathetic and really makes it questionably to the intelligence of these teachers and government to streaming intelligence as a flat line measurement. A teacher who thinks this has some credibility issues to even be in education. If they think a smartphone (dumb-phones to the informed and educated) are emblematic of low standards and knowledge that those are the lazy teachers we need to remove from the schools as non performers and unskilled.

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

Next thing you know, they will teach our kids that they don't really need to know how to do math.

It seems like the elites are doing all they can to ensure that the population is too ignorant to know that their lives could be better.

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@ Redshirt1701: According to my dad, people haven't been taught how to do math properly since they have been allowed to use calculators to do it.

I must say, I find it interesting that you would consider Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, to be an elitist.

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

To "spring street" Senator Osmond isn't promoting dumbing down the school cirriculum. We have a liberal elitist doing that. Removing the compulsory element of education is not a bad thing. If you look at literacy, it has gone DOWN since implementation of compulsory education. You could easily argue that it is compulsory education that is creating more illiterate and uneducated people.

Hamath
Omaha, NE

100101010101110110101 101010 11 1011101 1 10100101 101001 10101010101111 00011101 11 0100011010

Since I've got to do it my phones way. I think that is the way it does things.

Not sure what it says though. Hope it's nothing seriously bad. With my luck, I probably just insulted my bosses wife or confessed to not paying taxes.

New Yorker
Pleasant Grove, UT

All language, whether informative, descriptive, figurative, allegoric, artistic, or scientific should first of all not be full of ambiguity unless the ambiguity is intended by the author. The pointless ambiguity of sloppy writing comes from undisciplined thinking, not particularly poor language or grammar skills. Anyone who wants to accomplish anything with their written or verbal language skills needs first to understand logic--both deductive and inductive. Every sentence, even if there is intentional ambiguity, should be meaningful and broadly understandable (hopefully in the same way by different listeners). Otherwise it is style without substance.

If not, then all you have is the tripe we are fed by the politicians on both sides of the aisle, the financiers who deceive, and the feel-good rhetoricians who have no limits to the truths they are willing to bend to get money or power.

A common language is at the core of the social contract, but we are getting closer to another Tower of Babel event.

Sasha Pachev
Provo, UT

I think the professor has a point. Being able to spell correctly is a consequence of having read a lot. Eventually you develop a feel for it - you may not be 100% sure of how to spell something difficult, but you have this internal alert when you see the wrong spelling so you keep correcting it until it looks right and you will get it right most of the time even without the auto-correct. But teaching specifically how to spell is a gimmick to make a person that has not paid the price of reading appear as if he has, and in my opinion is a waste of time.

I remember learning a bunch of Russian spelling rules which are as complex as US tax laws and still occasionally misspelling but my mom and aunt could always get it right without the rules because over the course of their lives they've read more than I have. In English I never bothered to learn the rules - I just read.

Mister J
Salt Lake City, UT

re: Redshirt1701

"It seems like the elites are doing all they can to ensure that the population is too ignorant to know that their lives could be better."

Agreed. Its the whole bread & circuses mindset from (if memory serves) Brave New World.

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