Total breakthrough in teaching writing
March 25th, 2011

Va. Board of Education urges policy on social networks as teaching tools reports the Washington Post today. Why? To do a better job of teaching writing. The article begins:

Kimiya Haghighi, 17, had a prose problem. As much as her teachers preached concise writing, her sentences remained long and overwrought — the words poured out, unpunctuated, one after another.

Then Aubrey Ludwig, her 11th-grade English teacher at Langley High School, introduced her class to Twitter, requiring that students tweet their responses to a Hemingway assignment in 140 characters or less. Suddenly, Haghighi’s writing was efficient, declarative, even staccato. “It was a total breakthrough,” she said.

Such assignments are coming under new scrutiny as Virginia and other states consider restricting how teachers and students interact on social-networking platforms such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. . . .

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1 - stella

The student still needs to write her exams – and learning to get to the point by using twitter is clever teaching. If the student needs to write at length on the topic they will have snapshots of 140 characters to draw from.

2 - lydia

Whilst learning through twitter is extremely relevant today I think for such an advanced year level you need to be wary of this type of exercise. In practice it’s great to be able to keep your ideas clear and straight to the point, but students still need to learn how to communicate their ideas in a broader sense. Can 140 characters allow for this?

3 - nicky

This does sound like a very clever and modern way to teach, but can 140 characters educate you to properly write an essay? Maybe it helped this child, but will some children just end up writing sentences of 140 characters long that a still just ‘poured out’? And twitter could also introduce too much use of ‘slang’ (such as ppl for people) to shorten sentences as twitter language can be very different to proper English.

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