Today I was discussing grammar with my Year 12 students who seemed to take great pleasure in telling me that ‘they looked it up on Google’. Now, I think that Google is a wonderful source of information and I love the authenticity of resources available online, but I am becoming more and more concerned over our students inability (or lack of desire) to look things up in any other way. As a child my mother took great pleasure in taking me to the civic centre library and around local monuments to research history projects, and if I needed a word to complete a homework for Spanish or French I used dictionaries and grammar reference books. I even had thesauruses in multiple languages.
My students today, even at A Level, are content to use Google to translate words. Furthermore they don’t see the point in using a ‘normal’ dictionary very often. I encourage my students to use www if they must look it up online, but still the wonder of looking through a book is lost. There are so many words that I’ve stumbled across whilst originally searching for something else in a book and the invention of the Internet stops this from happening as much.
I would like to reiterate that I love the Internet and what it offers, but I wish ‘books’ didn’t have to become obsolete (in young people’s eyes anyway). Maybe a Kindle per student with textbooks, dictionaries and grammar books are the way forward?