CAPITAL LETTERS: Aggravating Both Sides
Written By: Mac-Z Zurawski
“Professor Doe, I WANT TO SPEAK WITH YOU TODAY REGARDING MY LOW GRADE ON EXAM C”. Is this person aggravated with their grade? Why the capital letters? One of the best rules in any syllabus that I read was the proper usage of capital letters. A former professor alerted his students to the improper usage of capital letters within any email or online correspondence. He stated they appeared as a form of shouting.
I had never thought about it until that day. Then I started to look through my own emails and online correspondences for a comparison. An email from my Coke Rewards site was capitalized as if it was shouting at me. PAY ATTENTION TO THIS EMAIL!!!! Wow, my professor was right. Not long after that I had a disagreement with a fellow student on the structure of a class project. He capitalized many of the words inside the email that he did not agree with my form. “Okay,” I thought. You are shouting at me about your ideas versus mine. My first line back to him was if he stopped shouting at me then we could progress on the discussion. He immediately sent back an email apologizing for the rude behavior.
A strong message needs to be included in rules for online/email correspondences for students regarding capitalization. As a professional learner and educator every one of my students is treated as a professional. My first day of class we discuss capitalization as unprofessional behavior. Even when something is urgent, I don’t condone the use of “shouting”. A professional use of a critically thought out and somewhat motivational message is always better than shouting. As educators it is our role to teach our students 21st Century methods of communication alongside research, writing and presentation. We may be the first leaders to emphasize professionalism for our returning adult students. Laborers, linemen, waitresses, construction workers, etc may not have daily professional emails to communicate. (I can attest to this as a laborer myself. I rarely need to send inner work emails). The same goes for the teenagers coming into our classroom. How many professional emails between themselves and their friends do they have? There can be a whole article on not using text speak as well.
As our role as teachers evolves, communication specialist is more important now than ever. Our student’s success is our success. We must push forward more information and knowledge upon their open minds than ever before. We are coaches teaching more than plays. We teach how to play. We “bridge the gap between dreams and realty” as professionals in creating professionals with our knowledge. But, I am always happy to be a part of this new evolutionary group.
Mac-Z Zurawski is an active community instructor in adult education throughout Chicago. She instructs an adult ESL Current Events class at Aquinas Literacy Center (aquinasliteracycenter.org) and tutors Adult GED and US Citizenship Coaching through Chicago Cares, Inc (chicagocares.org). She blends andragogy and technology to create active learning environments. She was inspired to support others by watching her young son struggle with a severe speech impairment that has led into delayed learning process. “If he feels frustrated, an adult must be even more stressed by lack of support”, she says. She is a board member for the Midwest Sociological Society’s Committee on Women in the Profession. Her goal at the MSS is to create workshops on networking in academia and support for new comers to the field. As a member of the Working Women’s History Project (wwhpchicago.org) she supports educational awareness of women’s history. Ms. Zurawski believes education is a positive and lifelong action to help adults “bridge the gap between dreams and reality”. Her education is based on Political Science, Social Justice Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Sociology and Criminal Justice. She is actively pursuing employment in these fields in higher education. You can find her on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mac-z-zurawski/2b/225/5a3 for more information or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.