How many letters do you lately find in your letterbox? And how many paper based letters do you post in the red post boxes? Compare that with the number of emails you receive and write daily. For most of us, emails are now the preferred way of communication, to such an extent that we hardly make use of snail mail.
At school we were all taught how to write letters: the personal “Dear Mary” type, as well as the more formal “Dear Mr Smith” business letters. We were taught about form, register, good letter writing techniques and even some letter writing etiquette.
Did you know that this is still what is being taught in South African schools? This in spite of the fact that learners may never have seen such a letter in their life! The writing of emails is not part of the curriculum of language subjects. It is true that the writing of emails is part of the CAT (Computer Applications Technology) courses, but relatively few learners take this subject at school.
Of course, a few teachers have already taken the bold move to “extend” the curriculum unofficially by including email writing in their classes … but these ones are the exception.
This is just a small example to illustrate the long way we still have to go to prepare learners to function efficiently in this digital age.