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Mobile Phone "textisms" can boost writing skills

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Mobile Phone "textisms" can boost writing skills

Post  Panda on Sat 1 Dec - 15:20

Mobile phone 'textisms' can boost writing skills


Increased exposure to text message abbreviations such as “lol”, “gr8” and “b4” can improve children’s writing skills, according to a Government study.








The use of mobile phone 'textisms' has no long-term effect on pupils' writing skills Photo: ALAMY






By Graeme Paton, Education Editor

7:00PM GMT 30 Nov 2012

31 Comments




Researchers found a positive relationship between so-called “textisms” and pupils’ ability to draft essays, it was revealed.


The study, commissioned by the Department for Education, revealed that mobile phone use required a “certain degree of phonological awareness” that could drive up standards of written work.


It also emerged that pupils who regularly wrote blogs and used social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter told researchers that they were “significantly better writers” than those who shunned the technology altogether.


The disclosure comes amid continuing concerns over standards of writing in schools.


According to figures, pupils often perform worse in writing than in reading, maths and science at all ages. Last year, a quarter of pupils failed to hit national targets in writing at the age of 11, with boys lagging far behind girls.



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Critics have suggested that the influence of technology – particularly mobile phones and social networking websites – is fuelling a decline in pupils’ written skills by blurring the boundaries between colloquialisms and standard English.

The DfE study, which was based on an analysis of existing international evidence on children’s writing, admitted that technology was starting to have an impact on pupils’ school work.

It quoted one that found “technology-influenced features" regularly appeared in essays and other written projects.

“For example, 50 per cent of teenagers said that they sometimes use informal writing styles instead of proper capitalisation and punctuation in their school assignments, and 38 per cent have used text shortcuts such as ‘lol’ (laugh out loud),” the study said.

The report revealed that text messaging was the most common form of writing used by school age children, employed at least once a month by 69 per cent of pupils. Some 52 per cent used social networking sites, 47 per cent used emails and 45 per cent used instant messaging.

But the report – compiled by the department’s education standards research team – found no evidence that “children’s written language development is being disrupted by the use of text abbreviations”.

Some 60 per cent of teenagers taking part in one study "did not think that technology-based writing such as text messages, emails, instant messages or posting comments on social networking sites was 'writing'".

It cited a separate analysis of five classes of 10- to 12-year-old pupils which actually revealed “evidence of a positive relationship between use of textisms and word reading ability”.

“This may be explained by the fact that use of texisms requires a certain degree of phonological awareness,” said the study. “Other evidence has also found a positive relationship between textisms and spelling.”

It follows a study by Coventry University last year that found use of “text speak” can improve literacy among pupils by giving them extra exposure to word composition outside the school day.

























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Makes you wonder how Shakespeare, Compiler of the Oxford Dictionary et al coped .!!!!

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Britain's prized AAA credit rating hangs in the balance

Post  Panda on Mon 3 Dec - 16:43

Autumn Statement: Britain's prized AAA credit rating hangs in the balance


George Osborne is expected to announce in his Autumn Statement what will effectively amount to a manifesto breach, that debt as a proportion of GDP will not be falling by 2015-2016 and it could see Britain lose its top investment rating.








Mr Osborne set himself two golden rules on the public finances – to eliminate the structural deficit on a rolling five-year horizon and to have debt as a proportion of GDP falling by 2015-2016. Most economists believe that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the Government's independent forecaster, will rule that he will miss the second target. The judgment will almost certainly lead to a cut in Britain's prized AAA credit rating. Photo: AFP






By Philip Aldrick, Economics editor

6:45AM GMT 03 Dec 2012


85 Comments




George Osborne is the arch political strategist, we're told. But if one tenet of political strategy is to leave yourself room to escape uncomfortable events, he made a grave error.


In the 2010 Conservative Manifesto, the Tories gave a cast-iron pledge "to safeguard Britain's credit rating". It came on page three of the 120-page pamphlet, and was stressed repeatedly. At Wednesday's Autumn Statement, though, the Chancellor is expected to announce what will effectively amount to a manifesto breach.


On taking office, Mr Osborne set himself two golden rules on the public finances – to eliminate the structural deficit on a rolling five-year horizon and to have debt as a proportion of GDP falling by 2015-2016. Most economists believe that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the Government's independent forecaster, will rule that he will miss the second target.


The judgment will almost certainly lead to a cut in Britain's prized AAA credit rating. On putting the UK on "negative outlook" in March, Fitch said anything that threatened the "Government's ability to place the debt to GDP ratio on a downward path in 2015-2016" would be "of concern".


Three months ago, it decided the debt target would be missed and said the "likelihood of a rating downgrade has increased" – when the chances were already "greater than 50pc". Unless Mr Osborne can confound Fitch, it seems almost certain the UK will follow the US and France out of the AAA club, leaving the Tories wide open to political sniping.



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In reality, the Chancellor – hemmed in by weak growth – has little option. In March, the OBR predicted that the UK would grow by 0.8pc this year and by 2pc in 2013. At the time, it seemed a fairly conservative estimate.

The consensus now is for a contraction of 0.1pc this year and growth of just 1.3pc next. Weak growth has made borrowing surge, as tax revenues failed to keep pace with the plan. Philip Shaw, UK economist at Investec, reckons the cumulative damage could be up to £81bn by 2015-2016.

Much of the underperformance has been due to escalating problems in Europe, but austerity has delivered its own squeeze. As Moody's, the other ratings agency with the UK on negative outlook, said: "The Government's most significant challenge is balancing the need for fiscal consolidation against the need for economic stimulus."

On BBC 1's Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Mr Osborne dropped the clearest hint yet that he will abandon his debt target. "It's clearly taking longer to deal with Britain's debts than one would have hoped," he said. "The Governor [of the Bank of England] and the IMF [International Monetary Fund] have said we've got the right plan and we've got to stick to that plan." The Governor has given Mr Osborne the green light to miss his debt target and the IMF has made it clear that chasing more savings would not work.

His other target, to eliminate the structural deficit, rolls forward another year and, like last time, the Chancellor is expected to have to use every bit of the extra headroom due to weaker projections of longer-term growth. So, while the original seven-year £123bn austerity programme will remain in place, another year will be added. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says the Government may need to find up to £23bn more in 2017-2018.

Ultimately, success will be all about rediscovering growth. Which is why the Autumn Statement will include a raft of new measures to help business and stimulate the economy.

The Chancellor is expected to reveal the first infrastructure projects to benefit from the state's £40bn of guarantees, tax breaks for shale gas developers and venture capitalists, £5bn of export finance loan guarantees to help smaller businesses, a doubling of the capital investment allowance to £50,000 to get small companies spending, and a postponement of the 3p-a-litre rise in fuel duty to put more money in consumers' wallets.

Any promise to find more savings in 2017-2018 will not be costed – taking the Government's austerity plans deep into the realms of fantasy. As much as £50bn of the total plan may be uncosted, as only the first five years have been budgeted.

With the debt target broken and the structural deficit target beginning to look as malleable as Play-Doh, Mr Osborne may decide to launch a consultation into a new set of golden rules. But it will probably be too late for the UK credit rating

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