New Languages, New Literacies and the School Curriculum

New Languages, New Literacies and the School Curriculum

Adams B. Bodomo (University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-868-0.ch009
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We have in previous chapters undertaken a quite detailed analysis of the features of language and literacy practices within the medium of communication technologies, including email, ICQ, MSN, mobile phone speech, and mobile phone texting. This has given us the opportunity to examine carefully new or peculiar linguistic structures, and new ways of communicating and expressing oneself within these new technological environments.
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Case: New Of Language And The School Curriculum

Introduction: Rationale for the Study

There has been a general concern about the falling standards of language among students in Hong Kong. However, language use among the youth in some new channels of communication, such as texts from email, ICQ, and mobile short messages/SMS, reveals a good amount of creativity, eloquence, dexterity, systematicity, and multimodality. The issue is, if standards are really falling, how should we handle this paradox whereby students manifest falling standards within the formal context of the educational system and yet manifest considerably high levels of proficiency and linguistic sophistication in IT communication modes? This case study aims to:

  • i.

    Address the issue of ‘language standards’ through analyzing texts produced by the youth in new information communications technologies (ICT texts),

  • ii.

    Investigate the plausibility of using ICT texts in language education, and

  • iii.

    Develop a considerably large corpus of ICT texts for educational purposes.

It is, therefore, expected that a better understanding of the changing paradigms of communication can help language teachers, educationists, and curriculum developers produce competent graduates to better serve society’s manpower and human resource development needs.

This report presents findings from three school visits, involving over a hundred local secondary school students and their English teachers. Through surveying and interviewing these students and teachers about their attitudes towards ICT communication, we hope to better understand the relationship between ‘Netspeak’, the language of the Internet, and formal language education.

The case study is organized as follows: Part two outlines the methodology of the research, including two sets of questionnaire survey and in-depth interviews. Part three reports on the findings from the two sets of questionnaire, in terms of habits of using ICT tools, the ways in which language is used, and how it is related to formal language education. Results from the interviews are also summarized. Part four attempts to compare results from the student and teacher surveys.

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