they say the darnedest things


Two incidents made me realise that the world is changing faster than even I suspected.

I was teaching the year 8 class to check their school email account. I casually asked how many students had sent an email before. Two students out of a class of 24 put their hands up. The majority had no idea what an email was. Why should they when they text and facebook their lives away.

Do you think they complain about the number of tweets they get in a day like adults complain about the number of emails they have to read?

I instructed my home class to bring a pen to class. One student announced that he never brings pens to school. Can you imagine going to school without a pencil cake and at least a red pen and a blue pen? I guess he either uses his laptop in all his classes, or bums a pen from someone on the rare occasions he absolutely must use one.

How long is handwriting going to remain a norm and not just become a quaint hobby like calligraphy?

Sneaking change that you don’t notice until you want a kid to do something that just results in a blank expression from them.


18 thoughts on “they say the darnedest things

  1. it’s amazing how technology moves. I remember sending emails every day from one office.
    I think video clips are the future. Check out for a heads up.
    You get 30 seconds or so.
    Mind you I think you have to think a bit about background and how neat you look……


  2. I’ve given up mailing with our students in their early 20’s. Txts or facebook seems to be their only line of communication. E-mail is for elderly professors now.. I give up.


    • I think we need to move to text messages, and we do text parents for certain things, but there is so many child protection laws around asking them for personal numbers etc that I think it will be awhile yet . We are using Onenote and sky drives so in the not too distant future I think email will disappear too.


  3. I don’t worry about the passing of cursive writing because I think it’s not really legible or fast… A simple script will do in most cases. But I do worry that the concentration and attention paid to conveying your thoughts, especially thoughts that may take more than 140 characters to express, will be lost when the practice of handwriting is gone.


    • I asked students to email their various subject teachers today and they had to copy me in so I cold check (yes I ended up with over a hundred emails to check!) but even though I made suggestions of what to write, and then only three sentences, one boy’s entire email was : so. Just the word so. I emailed me him a little reminder to pay attention to task instructions and to also pay attention to detail. I can see where he will be in five years and it won’t be dux of the school!


  4. I feel bad for any of my professors who have to read the papers they assign. I took a few online classes which would post discussions questions once a week. Some of the typing I saw in those forums was scary. Fortunately, midterms and final exams often require someone to write a legible answer at my university, though I do wonder how long that will last.


    • We find the kids no longer have the muscle tone to write for long periods. After what reading what some of my students produced this afternoon, even after I almost dictated the three sentences to them, I can only wonder what they have been doing for the last seven years … not grammar and sentence construction obviously!


  5. Pingback: Dave's (almost) Daily Drivel

  6. Email is still the norm for communication in the business sector. I don’t know how those students will find jobs, at least in offices, if they can’t write something resembling a coherent memo.

    Then again, there was a college instructor I knew who issued emails in text speak. ‘Hate’ was written as “h8,” and anything amusing was noted as LOL. He was told several times to “write in English,” but he never listened. Someone blamed it on his marrying a woman 25 years his junior; I just thought with tenure he felt utterly secure in behaving stupidly.


  7. I totally agree. This year, I started keeping a diary (a manual one, that you write with a pen), and was shocked at how terrible my handwriting has become thanks to disuse.
    On a related note, only recently I was wondering how I never get emails from my friends anymore. They are all on FB, I am not, so its like the world has gone on without me. The tragic part is that they don’t even reply to my emails – they possibly don’t go to their email ids at all anymore.


  8. I’m shocked and dismayed after reading this. Sigh…. I had heard that kids in the US aren’t learning cursive writing so I often ask kids at my cash register (I work at an art Museum) whether they can do cursive writing and its only the private school kids that sometimes say yes.


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