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Thursday, November 16, 2017

How Much Time Should Professors Spend on Writing Versus Core Content?

Writing is increasingly becoming critically important for future career aspirations as more and more information is being sent via written letter. Whether one is turning on their computer, or reading a company email, they are inundated with written messages. As college professors, we often fight with ourselves over how much time we should spend on writing and how much on core content learning.

Knowing the Topic and Communicating It

I have found through business life that if a person can't communicate what they know well, then they don't likely know the topic thoroughly. Clarity and conciseness, assuming no physical or mental impairments, is one sign the student doesn't have depth. They are unable to form a concise image in their heads to explain to others in a way that is meaningful.

Clarity of Thought and Clarity of Writing

Furthermore, clarity in writing parallels clarity in thought. If the script is broad and not specific, then the knowledge is also general and not concise. If the paper doesn't provide some application of the material, then they are also unlikely to know how to apply it to their work lives.

Headings Teaches Us to Break Down Ideas

There are also those pesky little things like headings that separate main ideas. When these are missing all of the paper runs together. When this occurs, one has not mastered how to break concepts down into themes and explain them well to others so they may understand it well.

While I do not advocate grading mostly on writing, I do believe it is vitally important to learn writing skills that lead to clarity of thought and understanding. That doesn't mean I am the best writer or know all the grammatical rules, as I am not an English teacher. However, I can write a robust email and a more extended paper that breaks ideas down so others can understand them. In business, one will need to communicate to a broader group of people and having writing skills is essential for sharing one's knowledge and taking on management positions that direct the actions of others.

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