Writing is a way in which we communicate non-verbally and record our thoughts and ideas for future review by ourselves and others. It allows us to review the events of the past as if they were occurring in the present with higher clarity than memory. Just as verbal communication is a critical skill for social engagements, so is written. Being able to take notes, compose emails and letters, and write in your field (documentation, grants, research papers, etc.) is crucial for any given professional life. But writing goes far beyond that as a form of communicating self-expression and self-organization.
Therefore, because communication is so integral for interacting with ourselves and others- with writing being a pillar of that, it is absolutely necessary to have students practice writing in the classroom more. Practicing writing helps build confidence in communication, creativity, and familiarity with our own thought processes.
The nature of most of the daily communication today can be described as often concise, yet effective. For example, SMS text messages, Twitter posts, and social media captions are often brief blurbs or text. This makes being able to convey thoughts, ideas, and emotions in more concise forms an important skill in the modern age of technology. Because of this, essays and long papers are not the only types of writing assignments that should be given to students. In fact, it is crucial that “lower-stake” and non-serious writing exercises be included in lesson plans.
Blog posts are useful for this because they are very versatile by imitating various platforms. They can be seen as casual, academic, or somewhere in between. Likewise, the length of a blog post could be short to imitate a Twitter blurb or on the longer side. In this class, we have used blogging exercises to synthesize reading ideas with a more casual and personal approach. The brings various benefits, including- the practice of explaining sometimes technical and abstract ideas in a casual, accessible way. Due to the length, we must practice organizing our thoughts and laying them out in a logical fashion for others to understand. Between these two criteria, we sometimes must get creative with how we converse or present ideas- occasionally bringing multimedia into play. Altogether, this makes blog posts a great exercise assignment in communication.
To conclude, writing is foremost a form of communication- something that affects all of use in our daily and professional lives. While teaching students to write and communicate in their discipline is important, I may argue that getting developing minds to practice everyday communication is even more critical as they grow and adapt into society.