7 Reasons Why Teachers are Against E-mails in the Classroom
- Proper languageWhile emails are quick and easy to use, there is a great temptation to use abbreviated words and slang rather than learning and employing proper spelling and grammar. The current generation has grown up using text language and abbreviations as the norm, and thinks nothing of replacing the word “you” with the letter U, or abbreviating “great” to Gr8 or “later” to L8r. It is all too easy to use these same abbreviations emails and other electronic communication.
- The Difference between Reading and SpeakingThis becomes readily apparent when foreign language classes try to communicate via email. Most standard QWERTY keyboards are not designed with keys specifically for the accent marks and other punctuation that are important when writing other languages, and it can take pressing anywhere from 2 to 6 keys at a time to get the proper letter. There are also subtle nuances of language that cannot be translated into text at all, and you losing a lot in translation when you try to communicate via email.
- Not everyone is connectedWhile it is very common to be consistently connected, not everyone has constant access to the Internet. There are a number of sources of free Internet, such as going to the local Starbucks or McDonalds, but it is not always easy to get to. This comes in to play more for students who live outside the United States, but there are a number of areas within the States where people do not have access to the Internet.
- Too Easy to IgnoreEmail is great. You can send a message and have it instantly delivered to the intended recipient. The negative thing about this? There is no guarantee that you're recipient will actually read or respond to the email in any sort of timely manner. It is very easy just to ignore any alerts that may appear stating that you do in fact have an email. In the same vein, if you send a time sensitive email, you don't have any idea whether or not the recipient will respond in time.
- Lack of ParticipationMany of the previous items listed can to one major negative point; lack of student participation. Some students can adapt to electronic communication and classroom environments well, others do not. Those who do not adapt generally will not participate at all, and since there is no oversight because email is private, there is nothing to encourage students to join in or to ensure that they do.
- Encourage Social DisconnectionOne of the main arguments against social media and electronic communication in a classroom setting is the fact that it encourages a disconnection from normal social activities. People would rather sit around staring at their phones or texting each other from across the room, and then actually make a phone call or start a conversation with a stranger or even a friend.
- BullyingSpecifically, cyberbullying. This is a problem with any form of online communication. There will always be bullies in any sort of classroom, and in an electronic setting, where again there is no oversight and no real supervision, it is easy for bullies to prey on their fellow students. This by itself can be one of the most detrimental things when trying to use electronic communication in the classroom. It can discourage students from speaking their minds or participating, even in classroom settings.
Emails at the classroom level, as well as other forms of electronic communication and social media, do have their uses. They can encourage students to work together in ways that wouldn't be possible otherwise (find friends on eLearning websites using e-mail, get a result of online exercises via email like on Ratatype). It is up to teachers to decide for themselves whether or not email is appropriate for their classroom. Each teacher needs to weigh the pros and cons based on the curriculum, the lessons, and the students themselves and decide whether it is beneficial or detrimental to the students and their learning experiences. As technology advances, there is every chance that the use of email and electronic communication will become commonplace, depending on the age of the students. Hopefully before it does, we can manage to overcome most, if not all, of these negatives.