The Results: All of my students in grades 4+ are fully literate. These students are reading at a higher level than the average 11th/12th grade student. Students who actively participated in the reading program surpassed the predicted growth metric by an average of 6.7 points. Students who did not actively participate in the reading program fell 1.2 points shy of the predicted growth metric. To put this into perspective, students average about 5 points of growth per year on this assessment.
When I woke up this morning, my thoughts were focused on the day's events. It's a Saturday. This is one of my busiest days of the week. Students are attending classes. I'm teaching classes. Moreover, today we have an Open House. I didn't foresee starting my Language Arts class with a discussion regarding pronouns. My fourth grade language arts class understands pronouns. They know that he is a singular masculine pronoun. She is a singular feminine pronoun. It is a pronoun typically used to refer to a thing, although, "it" can also refer to a person. "It" can be used to identify a gender neutral person.
Perhaps I’ve just reached ‘that age’ where I look at new age technology and slang with disdain. Perhaps, however, this new “Millennial Language” is a true detriment to one of the most evolved, efficient and productive languages across the globe – The English Language. A 2010 study did indeed determine that English is the most efficient language, encoding more information per syllable than any other language. We, as humans, possess a unique ability called reflexivity – the ability to use language to reflect upon language and its use. This ability is what allowed the English language to become such a complex and productive language.
Yet, this Millennial Language which consists of “Emoji Speak,” creative acronyms, slang and abbreviations is a movement towards a less evolved, less efficient, and less productive language. We are reverting to the times of the Ancient Egyptians; we are communicating with arbitrary symbols and less specific utterances.