Elon Journalism Professor and Pulitzer Prize Winner Michael Skube:
The schools are no different, even if their stake in creativity is more defensible. And so, in the middle schools and even elementary schools, students scribble away in journals, write skits and sketches, labor over sentences littered with misspelled words (this is called “creative spelling”) and faulty grammar. The aim is not competency in the plain carpentry of prose but self-expression and creativity. It is the Little League of Art. Nothing wrong with self-expression. But it’s worth asking when self-expression devolves into self-spelunking and the preening narcissism evident everywhere on the Internet.
Parents know teenagers can rattle away with ease when instant messaging friends. But for many young people, the expedient baby talk of IM-ing and text-messaging becomes “real” English, as natural as conversation and often a preferred substitute.
Ask them to write straightforward English and you would think it was a second language, even for kids whose ancestors have been here generations. Sentence structure, punctuation, the parts of speech — they are almost completely unfamiliar with any of it. Wanting to sound as if they are someone they are not, college students invariably button their verbal collars, straighten their ties and turn out sentences stiff as starched shirts.
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