Digital alphabet: Emojis to be taught at Serbian schools

As of next school year, second and sixth grade pupils will have fewer books to read on the mandatory reading list. Also, one of the novelties is that some classes will be devoted to developing the language and culture of writing,  and children will even learn about emoticons.

Deputy Director of the Institute for the Advancement of Education (ZUOV), Dejana Milijic Subic, told Tanjug newswire that “a limited linguistic expression in children has become a clear problem”.

“This is not just a problem with us, but everywhere in the world where the Internet is in daily use,” said Milijic Subic, adding that “a lot of hours at school will be devoted to developing language and writing culture, as well as analyzing emoticons with real words.”

LOL” may not be enough

Milijic Subic adds that “it is not enough to say that something is LOL” or “neat”, but children need to learn “how to verbally explain their experience behind the use of these words.”

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However, Svetlana Medar, a Serbian language teacher at a primary school in Niš, and president of the Society for Serbian Language and Literature of the City of Niš, has a slightly different view of the development and use of the language.

“Communication cannot be harmful. If someone does not follow the standard communication rules, that does not automatically mean that they are expressing themselves wrong”, Medar told the BBC Serbia.

She explains that it is important for children to use full words in communication, forge sentences and form their own style of expression.She adds that “the purpose of the message” is important too.

“Just look at the people today. We shorten the words we use in oral communication, we form incomplete sentences, and misuse subjects in sentences”, says Medar.

“The idea (behind learning about emoticons in schools) is for children to use emoticons properly. Both the culture and the way we live today have changed in the last few decades, and the language should not lag behind these changes”, Svetlana Medar adds.

Language to keep up with technology

Medar points out that most children have a very limited vocabulary. “If you take a typical child and analyze their vocabulary, you will notice that it is rather modest for their age”, she adds.

However, although children are neglecting proper use of language and the traditional form of communication, they are developing or complementing their knowledge in other areas.

“If we were to conduct a research into children’s digital knowledge, we would see that they are at the top, they know a lot, and we can measure their knowledge. Take YouTube, for example, and you’ll notice that children are actually starting to create in multi-media”, Medar adds.

She sees the combination of language and technology as an almost perfect formula for success in further education, but underlines that teachers in Serbia are “unfortunately, not sufficiently trained to use technologies at the same level as children do,”, Medar concludes.

On another note, she advocates primary school children having more Serbian language classes too, saying that she “needs at least 13 native language classes, as it is standard practice in the West”. Medar also says that the number of Serbian language classes is drastically reduced in 5th grade, to only 4.

(B92, 04.02.2019)

https://www.b92.net/bbc/index.php?yyyy=2019&mm=02&dd=04&nav_id=1501610

 

 

This post is also available in: Italiano

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