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Accuracy in writing on Dave's
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Should we make an effort to write fairly accurately on Dave's?
Yes - it's a board for English language teachers, after all.
69%
 69%  [ 23 ]
C'mon - it's an internet forum. Stop nit-picking!
30%
 30%  [ 10 ]
Total Votes : 33

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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11524
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:51 pm    Post subject: Accuracy in writing on Dave's Reply with quote

I can't recall that we've specifically discussed this before - forgive me if there is a thread somewhere.

But here is an issue that I think comes up often across all the boards, and I think it would be interesting to have a wider discussion about it.

My point of view:

This is a board for English language teachers and there are some good reasons to make an effort to write fairly accurately here at least most of the time (occasional typos forgiven, obviously!). I feel this way despite the fact that this is an internet message board, which I am aware is a medium that is commonly very forgiving of poor English usage.

First, it's a very important trait of a language teacher to be aware of his/her language usage. When working with students, even via email or online messaging, we are of course setting a standard. What comes across as 'natural' English from the mouth or keyboard of a native speaker can easily make a language learner appear foolish or cloud his/her accuracy, particularly when one works with learners who use their English with other non-native speakers. Why not practice language awareness here? Not many internet forums lend themselves to this; it's valuable that this one does, I think.

Second, some employers do read these boards. While most posters maintain at least some anonymity, most also drop enough details for an employer (or potential employer) to pick up on who he/she might be. I actually know of a couple of careless posters here whose real-life jobs/job prospects have been negatively affected by what was written here. That may be fairly rare, but it is certainly not unheard-of.


Third, we are language teachers here and it's tough for us to be nice and to overlook errors Surprised Shocked Laughing . We correct errors as a part of our jobs, after all - difficult to break the habit on a board that is for English teachers!!
Again, the occasional typo happens to us all, but repeated misspellings and misuse of language can make us question a teachers' professionalism (well, at least it does for me, I admit Embarassed ).

Fourth, what we write here becomes a part of public record in a sense. It's out there for anyone from employers to students to fellow teachers to see. For me, reasonable accuracy here is a part of my professional profile.

That obviously goes for the content and tone and accuracy of information given in messages as well as their linguistic accuracy, but that's another issue.

I understand that members of the internet generation may have some different views on the notion of writing accurately on an online forum. Please feel free to put forward any dissenting views; but it will be more interesting if you have some supporting logic behind your arguments!
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't believe that there is such a thing as "static" English. It has changed significantly in the past 200 years and will continue to evolve. The internet is, right now, driving that change. People need to communicate quicker and faster. The old rigid requirements of always having a noun and verb in a sentence really just slow things down and require us to type of lot of things which aren't really necessary. Additionally, these rules of grammar are rarely applied by great writers. The people who stick the hardest and fastest to the rules, tend to be the one's who revel in mediocrity. Very Happy

kk?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11524
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Additionally, these rules of grammar are rarely applied by great writers. The people who stick the hardest and fastest to the rules, tend to be the one's who revel in mediocrity.



Examples, evidence for this? Great writers in what academic or professional field? Again, we are by definition talking here about English language teachers and their students, not novelists and poets.


Quote:
I don't believe that there is such a thing as "static" English. It has changed significantly in the past 200 years and will continue to evolve. The internet is, right now, driving that change. People need to communicate quicker and faster. The old rigid requirements of always having a noun and verb in a sentence really just slow things down and require us to type of lot of things which aren't really necessary.


The rest of your argument has some merit, I agree, but I still think the context of teaching language trumps it.
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:



Examples, evidence for this? Great writers in what academic or professional field? Again, we are by definition talking here about English language teachers and their students, not novelists and poets..


Academic and Professional are never great.

I like to hope that some of my students will be writers and poets, and not simply administrators.....

As for your argument, I understand it, but really this is the internet, anyone who takes it too seriously probably needs to drink more.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11524
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, I've read some great MA and Phd dissertations - and seen some seriously great Phd arguments on all kinds of topics. The best recently was on internet identity theft and legal penalties for it (a proposal for the EU). I've also read some 'great' articles on economics recently.....and for sure there is some great writing in the ESL/EFL field (along with some dreck, obviously).

The kinds of literature one might identify as 'great' are pretty individual Very Happy .
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 899
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If we were messaging each other while standing in the mashrutka or metro I would agree with not being so "nit-picky". When speed and safety are important, you can put aside some of the capitalization and punctuation rules, maybe even go to accepted slang abbreviations while informally messaging someone. Even then if it was to my boss or a message which would be possibly shown in a formal setting, it would be considered poor form though.

On a full-featured forum, I just don't think it is acceptable. Whether we're discussing scuba-diving in the Marianas or the intricacies of sighting in a 10X scope at 500 yards, don't expect to be taken seriously if your communication skills are so poor they serve as a distraction from the point of your message.

Then there's the context of being on a board where the subject matter is focused on teaching language communication skills. If someone asks me for referrals or information on becoming a co-worker and it's clear they lack an understanding of vocabulary (sight/site, bear/bare, etc.) much less contractions, punctuation, capitalization and basic grammar, how can I feel comfortable responding?

A few typos and mismatched subject/verb constructions are one thing. Systematically writing like you are texting ur BFF between classes is a completely different matter.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear fladude,

Just a shot in the dark - but I suspect I know the identity of the one poster (so far) who voted for Number 2 Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy.

Regards,
John
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EFLeducator



Joined: 16 Dec 2011
Posts: 595
Location: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in a Masters program which means I write a LOT therefore when I get on the forums I like to relax and be laid back when I write. Cool
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EFLeducator



Joined: 16 Dec 2011
Posts: 595
Location: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Ah, I've read some great MA and Phd dissertations.


Masters=Thesis

Ph.D/Ed.D=dissertation
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear EFLeducatior,

And Number 2 joins in.

"I write a LOT; therefore, when . . . " Very Happy

Regards,
John
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11524
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Masters=Thesis

Ph.D/Ed.D=dissertation


Not necessarily. My British MA required a 'dissertation.' US terminology is not applied worldwide.

Quote:
THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM

Centre for English Language Studies

M.A.TEFL/TESL/ Translation Studies

DISSERTATION REPORT FORM
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DebMer



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 232
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Writing well matters to me, personally. I try not to let that carry over to the way I view other people's posts, but errors do stand out to me.

I guess the problem is that you end up wondering if the person leaving the post knows it's jacked up and doesn't care, or doesn't know it's jacked up and passes the jackeduppedness on to his/her students when teaching.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11524
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
jackeduppedness


Cool. Are we teaching this one? Can I have a definitive definition so I can teach it, too?

I've no problem with new lexis in the language; it's habitual sloppiness that annoys me, frankly.

And regardless of whether I'm personally annoyed or not (perhaps that's not really very important to anyone here!!) I think there are some good, practical reasons to avoid errors as much as possible on Dave's - as I've noted above in my OP.


Last edited by spiral78 on Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11524
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 'f' word is not very nice, but it is useful and used across an extended range of situations, given an appropriate context of speaker/listener or writer/reader.

In some cases, students have a genuine and legit need to know this word in all its glory (along with other dodgy stuff).

We can't be too reticent or polite when working with adults in some situations, I'm afraid.

I remember the morning 'our' Russian Exxon students (all three classes full of them) demanded to know all the language that could get them in trouble if they were drinking in a bar in Calgary. They genuinely needed to know, so all three teachers responded with info Shocked Laughing . Part of the job - sometimes.
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artemisia



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 875
Location: the world

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that accuracy is an issue on an English language board, but this is mainly true for me because I find it irritatingly difficult to read a post with lots of spelling and grammar mistakes. Truthfully, I think I'm probably less likely to respond to such a post, even if I have relevant information. I constantly deal with mistakes in my job and don't feel like being confronted with a lot of careless or deliberate mistakes online.

As far as content goes, I don't think this is a social network like Facebook where you have a genuine profile online that can be researched by potential employers. A lot of posts are about passing on useful information and offering suggestions, and that's a major purpose of the board. I also enjoy reading about people's experiences that are not limited to salary and students etc.

Entertaining and interesting posts are a definite attraction for me and I suppose that doesn't necessarily involve having a strictly 'professional' online profile. Dave's for me is often a kind of light or comic relief and a chance to let off some steam from the daily grind (and I don't mean the boring kind provided by perpetual whiners). As much as I enjoy teaching it can be hard work. However, I'd agree that if you never have any genuine information to offer regarding language teaching then your presence on a board of this type is really of limited use.
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