Put clarity b4 formality when teaching writing
Teachers have always wanted students to write more formally than they speak. Now this age-old issue has an electronic aspect. Middle-school students around the country are letting instant-messaging jargon such as “b4” and “ur” creep into their school papers.
Informal language is often inappropriate, and students must communicate with people who don’t do instant messaging. But the bright side is that students are using this new form of writing fluently and enthusiastically. They have invented an electronic dialect that deserves respect.
Writing should never be so formal that readers have trouble figuring out what it means. Some highly educated people never learned this lesson.