Students often ask, “Why do I need to learn to write?” This is usually followed by, “I am an IT major,” or “I am a Nursing major.” During our recent Kaplan University General Education Conference, Margie Stogsdill wrote the following during a chat: “If they want to be treated professionally, the wardrobe of their minds should match as much as their shoes match their belt.” Creative statements like this can really help students grasp the necessity of writing skills, no matter their majors. Students need tangible ways to understand how writing skills fit into their professional goals. Explaining the importance of writing skills can be part of the larger task of helping students understand what it means to be a professional in their fields.
Like the teen girl I overheard singing to her friends and the waitress late one night in IHOP, our students want to succeed and be heard. However, most of the professional world will not be as kind as the waitress who told the late night singer she should audition for American Idol.
I would like to hear how you reply to students when asked, “Why do I need to write?”
Quote used with permission. See the Thursday Gen Ed Conference page and click the archive for I am not a Composition Teacher – How Do I Assess My Students’ Writing? Presented by Ellen Manning, Stephanie Thompson, Melody Pickle, and Ellen Weston