This month, my friend and colleague, Megan Maxwell-Smith has written a brilliant guest post that I think will resonate with many of you. Megan, an online writing coach, shares why she thinks writing needs to be priority for our children’s education. (This is Part 1 in a two-part series).
As a formerly timid and lost learner, I greatly admire the student of the future.
This self-aware student makes intelligent use of educational hacks that fit her neuro-uniqueness. She is not beholden to bloated publishing conglomerates or static curriculum. She self advocates.
But one traditional skill that tomorrow’s student won’t have outgrown is writing.
Writing Shapes the Brain in Positive Ways
The student of the future needs the critical thinking skills that writing imparts. In a world of ever more input and the opportunity for instant reaction, she needs to be discerning and thoughtful.
Learning to write is learning to argue—and to take apart and evaluate arguments. The craft and practice of writing will teach tomorrow’s student to think deliberately, logically, deeply, and expansively.
The Internet Makes Writing More Important, Not Less
Movements and companies are born on the web. Our leaders, innovators, and gurus are the people who communicate consistently and clearly via Internet channels. They bring us the ideas and solutions we didn’t even know we were looking for. Their humor heals, their compassion inspires, and their dedication moves us forward, individually and collectively.
If the student of the future wants to lead, innovate, learn, cooperate, or experience her culture fully, she will need to be an active participant on the web. She will need to contribute her ideas through her writing.
Writing Opens More Doors in the New Economy
The student of the future will invent objects and processes no one has ever thought of before. She is also likely to invent many of the professional and social positions she holds. Her advancement will depend on effectively describing her unique experiences and getting others excited about what she’s done.
Whether she speaks in person, records herself, or uses print or digital media, the student of the future will have to write. Because, in a larger sense, writing means curating ideas and selecting words with care. It means revising and editing in a patient process, until one’s meaning is direct, graceful, and inviting.
This student’s ability to communicate will allow her to collaborate with, manage, inform, and inspire a workforce or a movement. Her writing is what will grab the attention of heads of companies or heads of state.
Storytelling Will Be One of the Most Valuable Skills of the Future
From cover letters and program applications, to clever tweets and well-chosen hashtags, writing tells our stories and establishes our personal brands.
The future will bring us an endless supply of More. More platforms. More participants. More noise. In order to stand out, the student of the future will need not more volume, but more individuality. She will need to be committed in her voice and confident in her style. What else but the regular practice of writing will do this for her?
Writing Is the Entry Point to Culture
Even as we’re hearing (in written articles!) that people read less and less, the number of writers is only growing. Writing is now for everyone. In every tone, on every topic. We are becoming a culture of writers. There is no longer any barrier to entry for publication.
To participate in her culture, the student of the future must read, write, and respond. Writing will give her entry to the ongoing dialectic of culture. It will allow her to evaluate what has come before her and to argue for what should come next. And that is a power that all students should possess.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series next month!
Megan Maxwell-Smith is an online writing coach who specializes in making writing less stressful. She loves creating practical templates, outlines, and checklists so that students of all skill levels can successfully follow the writing process and adapt it to suit their unique learning styles. Her commitment is to helping students build skill and confidence in writing as they enjoy expressing themselves.