You do not need to use tje contraction to correctly form the sentence, however, it is best to learn them. German speakers use these contractions more often than English speakers use contractions like "can't" and so not knowing them is a serious detriment to understanding the language.
I have a question regarding dative preposition followed by (contracted with) a definite article... In English, we use "the" to specify a particular thing, e.g., the school. Hence in this example, does it mean "I go to school" or "I go to the school" or it can be both depending on context?
Could this also be "Ich gehe in die Schule?" I asked a friend and she said that you should use "in" when you are actually going inside something and you use "zu" when you are visiting an actual person, a person's place, or a geographical location but not something you can actually go inside. In this case, you can go inside the school, so would you use "in die Schule" instead or does it matter?
Take a look at this link: http://www.deutsch-als-fremdsprache.de/austausch/forum/read.php?4,85730
I am copy pasting from there: " wenn man sagt: "ich gehe zur Schule", kann das entweder "ich bin ein Schüler" und gehe deswegen regelmäßig zur Schule oder "ich gehe zu irgendeiner konkreten Schule", werde aber nicht unbedingt hineingehen (ich habe z.B. ein Treffen dort, an der Schule, organisiert) bedeuten. Und wenn man sagt: "ich gehe in die Schule" kann das entweder "ich bin ein Schüler" oder "ich werde jetzt in irgendwelche konkrete Schule hineingehen" bedeuten."
The audio here sounds a lot like, "shul." In fact, there are many small differences between the German taught in this course, and what I learned in school, e.g., I learned "Feder" for pen (I love learning new words, especially fun ones; I also see that Kugelschreiber refers to a ballpoint pen), learned to pronounce "Schule" as "shul-e;" I was aware of "tun (which always sounded like "do" to me)," but learned that people almost always use, "machen." Also, I learned to use the genitive case to form possessives. I was never acquainted with using "s" before this course. Has German usage changed so much since Reagan was president?