Rewriting education

I warned about this before, and only now are people realizing that I was right (see my soapbox article, link below). Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that writing skills are becoming a major issue in education. That’s because most people do not spend enough time studying the written language. Instead, they write what they think as if it were speech and assume it looks good on paper. I wasn’t different when I started my career, but my supervisor at the time taught me the error of my ways and instilled a sense of proper written grammar.

I hate to break it to you kids that want to make a career of writing in a business setting, but writing skills are now more important than ever. With the need for proper documentation and clarity for the non-expert, it is important to be able to write so that a majority of non-technical readers know what you are writing. If you write inconsistently and unclearly, then the work that you spent on the document is wasted; no one will read it. Even if it is read, your credibility is questioned, and readers will ask others before coming to you.

Proper writing (not creative writing; that’s a different set of rules) should reflect that you are competent. It should show that you understand what you are writing about, and it should demonstrate your expertise. Even more important is that your writing becomes a reflection of your character. If you write incomplete or incoherent sentences, it shows your reader that you are unaware of what you are trying to explain, and that you may not know what you are doing.

So learn to write well. Computers are tools, not ends to a means. And above all, encourage writing in children by teaching them to read and write proper grammar.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Rewriting education

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