Writing plays a significant role in helping students put together their ideas and develop their thinking skills. In order to improve their knowledge and adapt to the demands of the working environment, students need a lot of practice and as often as possible. When it comes to writing, there is always the thought that it is something very difficult and only the talented ones are able to do it right. In addition, there are many teachers thinking of writing just from the perfect grammar and formatting perspective and don’t think of the incredible power it has to close the education gap.
The CEO of The Word Point, a leading company in the writing sector, thinks that: “Writing skills are necessary in any domain a student wants to pursue when he becomes an adult. We have worked with many students and discovered different personalities and beliefs along the way. Those students who were encouraged through writing to come up with innovative ideas, put their thoughts in a draft and ask for an opinion from their teacher, or write down their opinions, proved to be the most efficient. Therefore, writing is essential in closing the education and achievement gap and it is our strong belief that the public education system should focus more on developing this type of skills.”
Can Writing Skills Help in the Education Gap?
If we think of the people who rule the world today, we will discover that most of them have graduated from top universities like Cambridge or Oxford. However, the majority of those who choose these universities come from wealthy families. Money allows you to choose the best education and mentors. Therefore, for a student who cannot count on his family’s financials, writing can be the solution. So, how can writing help students succeed even if they cannot afford paying the tuition fees of top-ranked universities?
Writing improves critical thinking!
The more a student writes, the better he learns to organize his ideas. Writing helps students better support their ideas and present their projects, as well as become more courageous in addressing complex topics. All this exercise helps students improve their critical thinking and so become successful in university.
A writer doesn’t only say what he thinks. A good writer gives also arguments on why he thinks what he writes. In this case, that writer will do a deeper research and analysis of his inner thoughts to clearly express his ideas. Therefore, if all students would practice their writing skills more and would be stimulated by their teachers to openly express their ideas, the education and achievement gap could be significantly reduced.
What could teachers do in this case? Instead of evaluating their students based on the grammar level and giving lengthy assignments, they should better check how clearly their students can express their ideas. What is more, they can develop various exercises to help students enhance their ability to learn and think critically.
Writing can be self-affirming!
When students are encouraged to write about themselves and their background, it will become easier for them to find their voice. Writing enables them to express their ideas and show their personalities. Therefore, they become more confident and ambitious.
Geoffrey Cohen conducted a very interesting research on African-American and Latino students. He chose three distinct periods of the year: beginning of the year, holidays season, and before major tests. He then asked the students from the previously-mentioned categories to write about what was most important for them. They could talk about anything they wanted, including things, people, or values.
Through this study, Geoffrey managed to demonstrate that students are more successful when they consider diversity as an asset, and not as a problem. They become more confident and preoccupied about school when the teacher embraces diversity and creates a positive experience by allowing them to write and talk about their families and background. This is how students receive the empowerment they need to evolve. And, this is also how writing helps bridge the education gap.
Writing helps teachers to personalize their teaching methods!
The path to closing the education gap needs also a lot of involvement from the teacher’s side as well. Nothing is more efficient in helping a student who has fallen behind than evidence-based intervention. Writing is a very simple and fast method that teachers can use to gather evidence and evaluate a student’s abilities.
Writing allows teachers to asses the grammar, punctuation, structure, or layout. But, teachers can use writing assignments to also check how their students think and what holds them back in expressing their ideas. Therefore, a teacher will quickly identify what goes wrong and focus on the errors and gaps identified during the next lessons.
How can students be encouraged to develop writing skills?
Both students and teachers are involved in closing the education gap. It takes a lot of effort and commitment from both sides. However, the successful adult of tomorrow is the one who uses his writing skills to express his ideas, develop critical thinking, and find solutions to complex problems. The tips below will help students develop their thinking skills through writing:
- Teachers should encourage their students to gradually write about complex topics that challenge their thinking.
- A student should use his creativity on any topic. This is how he develops his vocabulary and imagination.
- Each new idea should be supported by evidence and relevant examples. Therefore, students train their brain to find the reasons behind their ideas and build convincing arguments to support them.
- Whenever a topic is too difficult to address, it is always better to unpack it into smaller parts and thus find clarity and the way to connect ideas.
- A student’s writing becomes more powerful when he is encouraged to use the power of verbs and carefully select words to make the reader immediately imagine the narrated story.
Students should develop their writing skills irrespective of the path they want to pursue after they graduate. What is more, these skills can have a positive impact on closing the education gap, offering students equal opportunities to access educational tools. But, everything starts with the intention and willingness to do more and consider that everyone can learn and develop their writing skills, regardless of their ethnicity, background, or class. All students deserve to have a voice and receive the opportunity to evolve. This is how we can really help bridge the education gap.
Author Bio: Pauline Farris speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian. She travelled the world to immerse herself in the new cultures and learn languages. Today she is proud to be a voting member of the American Translators Association and an active participant of the Leadership Council of its Portuguese Language Division.