Is Self Expression Important?
Earlier this month, the AP published an article about the importance of teaching kids to write. Not penmanship, though the value of that shouldn’t be overlooked. In this case, the author’s focus was the act of writing to communicate ideas. The question: Is teaching writing as important as teaching reading?
Positioning writing against reading answers the question before it’s finished being asked. No one would advocate willful illiteracy, and so we know from the outset that teaching writing must be as important as teaching reading.
Quoting Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Executive Director of the National Writing project, the author states that writing is “more active [compared to reading], encouraging students to be independent thinkers, take ownership of their own stories and ideas, and communicate them clearly to others.”
The article continues, “[from] a practical standpoint, writing is more important than ever; we depend on it for personal and professional communication.” From which Edeman-Aadahl elucidates, “We see this from employers all the time. They’re looking for folks who can write.”
Indeed, anyone emailing, texting, even Google searching, and especially people for whom communications factor even fractionally into their job responsibilities, are authors of a kind, dependent on their ability to clearly and concisely share ideas in ways that evoke a strong and, preferably, positive response.
Writing is, thus, as important as reading, lending itself to improved reading as well. That value is something businesses are demanded to understand and embrace. A workforce of expert communicators, led by expert communicators, quickly wins loyalty and new champions in the form of colleagues and customers. We would do well to recognize the long-term benefits of teaching writing and communication skills, of regarding them with the same value that we do certain STEM disciplines. Failing that, it’s never too late to course correct; writing, like any discipline, can be learned and improved with practice.
Think of some of the world’s most successful businesses. Do you know their story? Is it concise and exciting? I’m willing to bet the answer is yes. That’s not without intention.