Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Getting it Write

November 9, 2006

Getting it Write

News that text language is going to be acceptable in this year’s NCEA exams already has the language experts, teachers and students arguing about whether or not it is a good thing to be doing.

Gillian O’Neill, language and learning consultant at Waikato University’s Management School says technology is undoubtedly going to bring, and has already brought, a seismic shift in the ways people use written communication, but she says if text messaging is to become the norm for English spelling it’d be a good idea for it to be taught in a standardised form so that there is at least some agreement about what these abbreviated forms mean.

“We had an international student brought to our attention because her teachers simply couldn’t understand what she meant when she wrote her own abbreviations. For example, she constantly wrote ‘diff’ but her teachers didn’t know whether she meant difference, or different or difficult.”

Text language is not acceptable in university essays – yet. At Waikato University’s Management School the push is to improve standard English writing. Students are now required to pass a writing competency module. This year, all students studying for bachelor degrees and graduate diplomas have had to study aspects of grammar, language, sentence structure and spelling if they want to complete their qualification. “We have people coming to university who don’t know what a verb is, are not sure where a full stop is needed, and yet they are coming to study sophisticated ideas and subjects,” says O’Neill.

O’Neill is quick to point out that not all students have faulty English, but there are many who aren’t competent about structuring language appropriately for university essays. The writing competency module is offered entirely online with students doing a series of quick tests to uncover what they know, and more importantly, what they don’t know. There’s an accompanying text book and online materials that students can use as they make their way through proficiency tests, and they complete the module by sitting, and hopefully passing, a mastery test. In its first year, nearly 700 students sat and passed the module. Nearly 1000 made some sort of use of the online resource.

“Feedback’s been great,” says Gillian O’Neill. “Ninety-three per cent of students who’ve completed the module say it highlighted their weaknesses and the majority said they’d do extra work in order to correct their deficiencies.

“Employers in New Zealand and overseas often moan about the poor writing skills of many graduates and we’ve made positive and constructive moves to do something about it. The vocabulary in the module often centres on management topics but it could easily be adapted for other faculty,” says O’Neill.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>

ALSO:

New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news