Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Technology - Never Meet Your Heroes - Just Point out Their Mistakes: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Technology - Never Meet Your Heroes - Just Point out Their Mistakes: News

Article excerpt

Students use Twitter to correct celebrities' spelling sins.

It has transformed news and social media, taken internet "trolling" to new depths and given millions access to extensive details about their favourite celebrities' lives.

But Twitter, with its 140-character limit, quick-fire exchanges and multiple crimes against syntax, has never been an obvious resource for teaching good English.

Now, though, worried by its growing influence on young people, teachers in Brazil are turning the grammatical atrocities that often appear on the micro-blogging site to their educational advantage, asking students to identify and correct mistakes in their idols' tweets.

Pop stars Miley Cyrus and Mary J Blige were among the first celebrities to attract the ire of the eight- to 13-year-olds from Red Balloon, a Brazilian chain of English language schools.

"So many peeps I love birrrfday is today!" tweeted Cyrus, only to be told by a fan, Amanda, "Look, 'birthday' has no Fs."

"Why is that people always try to understand estimate my intelligents?" wrote a puzzled Blige in an infamous message to her fans.

"I think you wrote underestimate and intelligence wrong," 12-year-old Maria helpfully pointed out. …

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