Rise of text messaging ‘has made English lessons unnecessary,’ claims leading academic


The rise of mobile phone and digital technology means traditional school lessons in the English language are effectively pointless, a leading academic has claimed.

Professor Sugata Mitra, an education technology expert at Newcastle University, believes that teaching spelling, grammar and punctuation to 21st century teenagers is “a bit unnecessary”.

Technology that “auto-corrects” spelling and grammar is widespread and means children are learning basic linguistic rules in their own unique way, the academic told the Times Education Supplement.

He said: “Should [students] learn how to write good sentences? Yes, of course they should. They should learn how to convey emotion and meaning through writing. But we have perhaps a mistaken notion that the way in which we write is the right way, and that the way in which young people write, through their SMS texting language, is not the right way.

Prof Mitra, who recently won a prestigious $1m education prize to develop a generation of “cloud schools” where children learn from each other online, added: “This emphasis on grammar and spelling, I find it a bit unnecessary because they are skills that were very essential maybe a hundred years ago but they are not right now.”