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  • Writer's pictureNastassia Acevedo

Prescriptivism vs. Descriptivism 

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

Have you ever thought about the approach you embrace in your online classroom? Prescriptivism or Descriptivism.

Firstly let's distinguish these two methods and analyze their meanings.

The prescriptivism approach is to establish order and to view English from a traditional standpoint. Where rules take precedent and any spoken or written notion that falls outside the standard are deemed errors or mistakes.

  • Never use double negatives.

  • Do not end a sentence with a preposition.

  • Do not split infinitives.

The descriptivism approach's main objective is to observe and analyze how the language is being utilized. This notion is free from judgment, and there isn't a right or wrong way in the expression. It intends to conceptualize how the language evolves and sees variation and adaptation as natural and necessary.

  • Using filler words or hesitating in spoken communication

  • Reinventing words or phrases

  • Ungrammatical utterances such as using (literally) in a figurative notion

As an online teacher, you must adapt and accommodate your student's needs, and choosing one method over the other would be a disservice to you as an educator and your students. Consider looking at the advantages of each concept and leave an opportunity for a happy medium.

Remember, language is an amalgamation of beautiful and complex speakers, listeners, writers, and readers.

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