Is Spell Check Creating a Generation of Dummies? (page 2)

Is Spell Check Creating a Generation of Dummies?

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based on 13 ratings
January 11, 2008
Updated on Aug 12, 2010

Galletta says the point of all this isn't to disable spell checks, but to make sure kids know how to use that little “ABC” button responsibly. He says parents must explain to their children that the onus is on them to edit their work, with maybe a little bit of help from the trusty spell check.

Roy Peter Clark, PhD, is Vice President of Poynter Institute, a school for journalists, and author of Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. He agrees with Galletta, saying that the root of the problem isn't spell check, it's a lack of three basic behaviors: reading, writing and talking about how language works. “The more of that there is, the more literate the student will become. The less there is, the greater the temptation to rely upon a crutch which will not always be your friend,” he says.

Clark suggests that parents encourage their kids to use low technology solutions on occasion, such as writing by hand in a spiral notebook, “as a way of creating versatility to master many different expressions of your craft.” He also recommends printing out documents off of which to edit before even thinking about pressing “spell check.” Most important, says Clark, is to point out the imperfections of the spell check. If the red and green squiggles make your child's essay look like a Christmas tree, play the “are you smarter than the computer?” game. Ask your child to identity where the computer failed to catch a mistake in his paper, or alerted him to a mistake that didn't exist.

Though the technology has improved significantly since 1980, with spelling and grammar checkers learning how to sort out the context of words, it still isn't as good as the human eye. And it never will be. Now, doesn't that feel good?

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