teens and writing

with all the dark prophecy in recent years about how texting is killing off teenagers’ writing interest, here’s surprising research saying just the opposite. anastasia posts an interview between herself and the senior researcher on the project and the emeritus head of the writing institute about the report. a few bits (click though for the whole interview, or on the first link for the study):

YP: What do you think educators can take away from this research, especially writing teachers?

RS: The good news is that young people are writing more than ever. They are communicating more often with more people, and they are creating content on the internet in significant numbers. The challenge for teachers is to capture the energy and enthusiasm that teens display outside of school and build bridges to the curriculum in school. Teachers need to help students learn a variety of writing skills, understand when and where to use formal and informal language and to push their thinking in writing. Our society needs young people who can understand and express complex ideas, ideas that we know teens will need as they progress though their education. That is the task for educators.

and some stats, from this post:

While teens are heavily embedded in a tech-rich world and craft a significant amount of electronic text, they see a fundamental distinction between their electronic social communications and the more formal writing they do for school or for personal reasons.
– 87% of youth ages 12-17 engage at least occasionally in some form of electronic personal communication, which includes text messaging, sending email or instant messages, or posting comments on social networking sites (I would think this would be more like 100 percent)
– 60% of teens do not think of these electronic texts as “writing.”
Teens are utilitarian in their approach to technology and writing, using both computers and longhand depending on circumstances. Their use of computers for school and personal writing is often tied to the convenience of being able to edit easily. And while they do not think their use of computers or their text-based communications with friends influences their formal writing, many do admit that the informal styles that characterize their e-communications do occasionally bleed into their schoolwork.
– 57% of teens say they revise and edit more when they write using a computer.
– 63% of teens say using computers to write makes no difference in the quality of the writing they produce.
– 73% of teens say their personal electronic communications (email, IM, text messaging) have no impact on the writing they do for school, and 77% said they have no impact on the writing they do for themselves.
– 64% of teens admit that they incorporate, often accidentally, at least some informal writing styles used in personal electronic communication into their writing for school. (Some 25% have used emoticons in their school writing; 50% have used informal punctuation and grammar; 38% have used text shortcuts such as “LOL” meaning “laugh out loud.”)
Eight in ten parents believe that good writing skills are more important now than they were 20 years ago, and 86% of teens believe that good writing ability is an important component of guaranteeing success later in life.

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