Education

Is it Ever Acceptable to Use Text Message Language in a Business Setting?

Posted on November 29, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Text message language is a highly informal way of writing that is often used in communication between friends. It is usually used when communicating by mobile phone messages, although it may sometimes be used in other kinds of written digital communication. This type of language is now widely used and many different people will understand it and prefer it to more long-winded, traditional ways of writing. So can it ever be acceptable to use text message language in a business setting?

As with any question about the appropriateness of language, much of this will depend on the context. In a formal environment, text message language and any other forms of abbreviated language should be avoided at all costs. This should include all internal and external communications and presentations.

It may very occasionally be acceptable to use colloquial and informal language in an email to a colleague who you know well, For example, if they have done you a favour, you may want to send them a smiley face or other sign of your appreciation. However, this should be reserved to email or instant messenger only – never use this kind of communication in an environment where it may be seen by others, and never use swear words or expletives.

The most important thing to bear in mind is to be aware of the language you are using at all times. If you feel comfortable using a highly informal writing style, that’s fine, just be conscious of how it could come across when communicating with people who are more senior than you. Take your lead from the company and the people around you. As long as you remain aware of your surroundings, do what feels appropriate to you at the time. This is how to create the most genuine relationships with your language.

Posted in Education

How Can Children Learn to Write Well?

Posted on August 26, 2016 at 12:06 am

Writing is one of the most important life skills. It’s essential in everything you do and everything you learn. That’s why we should make sure our children are able to write competently and express themselves eloquently. Here are some ways to help children learn:

  • Encourage them to write a blog. So many people enjoy this as a pastime nowadays and it can be an engaging activity for a child. When it comes to college and university applications, it will help to show that they have interests outside of school.
  • Play educational games with them. These could be anything from boards games to online games, as long as it gets them thinking about and experimenting with language.
  • Read with them. One of the best ways to become a good writer is to read as much writing as you can. Novels, poetry, magazines, online content – it can all be educational.
  • Enter competitions with them. Get children to use their creative skills and write in a competitive environment. This will encourage them to have high ambitions and aspirations when it comes to their writing.

Posted in Education

Learning to Use Grammar Correctly in Schools

Posted on June 27, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Many people believe that children should be taught grammar more thoroughly in schools. Whilst British students do have lessons in English, these incorporate lots of different aspects and don’t necessarily just focus on grammar.

It’s important to understand grammar whenever you are writing. If a sentence doesn’t sound quite right, the best way to try and work out what could be wrong is to break it down and analyse the grammar. By working out the different parts of the sentence and the ways in which they function together, you will be able to understand what the problem is and make the correction.

Children should learn this from a young age in order to understand it as thoroughly as possible. If you have children who you feel might be struggling to fully understand grammar, speak to their teachers and try to give them extra support with homework. All teachers should be reinforcing the message, not just English teachers, so ask the school whether this is happening. If you still have concerns about you child’s development, it might be worth considering some private English tutoring.

Posted in Education

Providing Good Written Feedback

Posted on January 31, 2016 at 4:41 pm

If you work in an academic or business setting, it’s likely that you will have to give written feedback to students, employees and colleagues. There are certain ways of providing this feedback which will gain you better results, which will be discussed in this article.

Be concise. The more you write, the less likely people are to absorb it all. Consider using bullet points to break your comments down into easily-digestible chunks.

Don’t be over-critical. If you want to get the best out of people, adopt a positive tone and provide constructive criticism which offers a clear pathway to improvement.

Ensure that your writing is of a high quality. You need to ensure that pupils or employees have respect for you and in order to do this, you must establish yourself as a figure of authority. Being intelligent and eloquent is a big part of this, and it’s something which you can establish through your writing.

Finally, use your writing to make those around you better writers. If you identify grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, point them out and provide solutions going forward. Students and staff who are good communicators will be able to achieve more highly across the board.

Posted in Education

Structuring a Dissertation

Posted on December 31, 2015 at 10:33 am

A dissertation is likely to be one of the longest academic texts you will ever produce, and it will require extensive planning to ensure that your writing is structured, well-balanced and meaningful. If you allow yourself to get carried away and write too much without a solid plan in place, your work will come across as disorganised and important considerations may be left forgotten.

A dissertation is often around 10,000-15,000 words long and will be split up into several chapters. The number of chapters you choose to include will depend entirely on what you are writing about – your tutor will be able to help you when it comes to deciding upon an overall structure. You may also wish to include subchapters and appendices where appropriate to further categorise your writing.

Whilst you don’t necessarily need to have decided upon every single point which you’re going to cover, it is important to have an overall idea of the information which each chapter will include. Think up your chapter titles and write down some bullet points to outline the content of each one. You can play around with these as you go along, but this method will ensure that you don’t miss out any vital information.

Ensure that you leave yourself plenty of time for editing once you have completed the writing process. It might also be useful to ask someone else to proofread your work, as they will be able to spot things which are easy to miss when you’ve been working on a project for a long time. Knowing that you have enough editing time is important in keeping your stress levels down to a minimum, and it will allow you to produce the highest quality of work you possibly can.

Posted in Education

Learning How to be a Better Writer

Posted on December 28, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Being a good written communicator is very important for people from all walks of life. It can be beneficial in many different ways, helping you in your everyday life as well as at work. Here are some different ways to go about becoming a better writer:

  • Practice as much as you can. As with anything, your writing will improve the more you do it. You’ll start to be able to write more naturally, use more diverse vocabulary and work at a higher speed. People who are good at writing tend to have done a lot of it.
  • Learn the rules of grammar. Sometimes we know how grammar and punctuation should appear, but we’re not able to explain why. Learn the rules, and if you’re ever unsure about a grammatical construction in future, you’ll be able to work it out for yourself.
  • Consider your purpose and write content to fit it. You want your writing to convey your message well and get your point across. Establish an appropriate tone of voice and maintain it throughout.
  • Take a course. There are various different options available depending on your previous knowledge and qualifications, what you want to learn, how much you want to spend and how much time you have. Online options are becoming increasingly popular – you can even gain qualifications up to degree level through online learning.

Posted in Education

Does the Use of Technology Hinder Children’s Language Skills?

Posted on December 21, 2015 at 12:24 pm

The integration of multiple technological devices into everyday life poses a difficult problem for teachers. Many of these devices allow people to communicate across various platforms, meaning that children are frequently writing in non-formal situations which allow for colloquialisms and non-standard sentence constructions. How will this affect their ability to write accurately?

Using social media and messaging apps to correspond is an extremely informal mode of communication and the danger is that many people won’t be concerned with their spelling or grammar in these situations. It’s even possible to send images and emojis to convey meaning, giving the written content less function. This could be incredibly damaging for education.

On the other hand, it gives children the opportunity to practise their writing on a regular basis. It gears young people up for a world in which methods of communication are becoming far less formal, with workplaces regularly using email and instant messaging. Of course, this is slightly different to communication between friends as it’s more important for messages in the workplace to be written clearly and precisely.

The problem comes when children aren’t able to differentiate between formal and non-formal written English. It’s even more important than ever for young people to be given a good understanding of grammar so that they’re able to use it in the classroom and in their future careers. Smart phones and other devices can widen children’s learning opportunities in some instances, but if they play too central a role in the process of learning about writing, the ability to communicate in a variety of different situations will be filtered out.

Posted in Education