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Students replacing proper grammar and spelling with slang

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LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

Some East Texas teachers say, more and more, the language students use in text messages and on the Internet is finding its way into the classroom.

College teachers say it's quite a regular occurrence to find slang like LOL and OMG in essays.
Angelina College English instructor Gary Stallard said it's a hard habit to break because that's the way his students write on a daily basis.

"They don't write essays very often," said Stallard. "They text every day or they're on Facebook every day and so to sit down and clear your head and focus on proper grammar and spelling out words. The only writing they do on a daily basis is with a text message or a Facebook message or Twitter and there are no rules with those."

Stallard spends the first two weeks of each semester teaching his students the difference between their daily speak and formal writing.

"The first week I tell them, we're not going to learn anything new," said Stallard. "We're going to spend time breaking habits. And I have a list and I have fun with it. They're fun. Some of them are really funny."

"My personal peeve, [is] the LOL," said Stallard.

All instructors have different techniques, according to Stallard, but he trains his students to look for slang in their own work.

"I give them a piece of paper, a paragraph or two, and I'll throw those things in there and have them go in and correct them so they can get used to proofreading their own stuff," said Stallard.

And Stallard says most students don't even realize they are doing it.

"I can go back and show it to them after I've graded one of their essays and they don't even realize they've put that in there. R U, the letters R and U instead of a-r-e y-o-u."

Stallard says usually by the end of the semester he doesn't see much slang slipping into papers anymore.

Stallard says as technology becomes evermore present in education, it will be even more important for educators to help students break their slang habits, especially because it will be important for their future. 

"Whether they want to admit it or not, so much of what they're going to do later is going to require some writing skills and if they can get to the point where they can separate their text messages and Facebook messages from what they're trying to put in an essay or a formal pieces of paper, if they can do that they'll be better off," said Stallard.

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