Will Emoji’s be the hieroglyphics of our generation?
By Trisha Cashman
While enjoying a much-needed catch up with a dear friend, I discovered that I was not alone in my struggle to help my primary school aged child with English homework. Over our pots of tea my friend and I (oh whoops! me and my friend) wondered how many other parents were struggling and naturally our warped sense of humour lead to the concept of Emoji’s becoming our form of written communication. We envisioned archaeologists of the future deciphering Emoji’s like hieroglyphics. Raucous laughter ensued but I found myself wondering how right we may have been?
I discussed this with my husband, more commonly known as; My Better Half (MBH), and he informed me that on ABC radio there was mention of a contract that had been drawn up in WA in comic form. A sense of shock and awe filled me, could this be true?
Yes it is! The Law report ABC, Tuesday October 4th did have a segment Comic Contracts.
I now find myself wondering if this is evolution or regression? How will the written word further change? Will that smiling pile of brown poop be representative of the world we know today? All questions for another pot of tea.
So how do we help our children now?
Shakespeare died in 1616 and the published written English language has greatly evolved since then. Thou became you and now u is accepted in TXT messaging. Words are outdated and new ones created daily. The spoken English language has dialects depending on the origin and socio-economic status of the person speaking it. Is that going to translate to the immortal written word? – It appears so. Should it? Short answer I believe yes. Why? because if you can understand it, what does it matter. But the Australian education department does not agree with me so how do we as parents help?
The Australian Curriculum sets the expectations for what all Australian students should be taught, regardless of where they live or their background. For F-10, it means that students now have access to the same content, and their achievement can be judged against consistent national standards.
ACARA Australian Curriculum Assessment Reporting Authority
ACARA gave me explanations of what my child is studying and examples of a satisfactory achievement. I must admit to feeling a tad overwhelmed when exploring this site. What are our kids in for? No only are they overloaded with technicalities, to my memory I didn’t explore until high school, they are studying a language that now has so many variants that I question if the curriculum is actually right. In all honesty, as a parent, I find it perplexing that we don’t study ‘Australian’ after all we have Auslan, Australian sign language. Although, come to think of it, we do have the Australian National Dictionary-Macquarie Dictionary, so maybe I will pull my head in.
Time to get off my soap box and find a solution.
I believe the answer is teach our children to read, not just the words, because they will change over time, but how to comprehend the text. Get them to read every night things that interest them, not just the home reader. This is easy for me to say with my teacher aide hat on but with my mother hat, I admit I did struggle with this. My children just didn’t like to read. I thought I did everything right, I went to school and participated in reading groups, I read every night with them, I modeled being a good reader, nothing seemed to work.
Enter the Reading Bug… and how to help your child catch it. By Paul Jennings. My Mum hat says thank you Mr Jennings! Especially your chapter on boys. One of my children is now infected. I recommend reading this to all parents.
With my Teacher Aide hat on I say talk to your child’s teacher, they are human even though there are superhuman demands on them. They will understand the battle and they will also understand if your child prefers a special interest book to the reader they are sent home. Remember reading is not just reading, it gives insight into culture and self-awareness. It is a skill that will get our children through life.
If the smell and feel of knowledge is not tangible or your child is more computer/device orientated try:
Reading Eggs helpful for both reading and comprehension. There is a free trial with no obligation to purchase. Hard copy resources are also available from bookshops and online order.
Spelling City is exactly as it sounds. It has a free and a premium purchase option.
If you are in the same boat as I (sorry, me), I would love to hear your thoughts and what you have found helpful.
Till next time.