Why Writing Skills Are Important For Teens
(This is a much-discussed topic with students, teachers, parents and within our team!)
It may seem like STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education is getting all the attention nowadays in schools. Sure, STEM is important for students to be able to master, but so is another area just as fundamental but less hyped: good writing skills.
Being able to communicate effectively is a critical skill that every student, not only aspiring writers, needs in order to to compete in our increasingly complex world. And, many leading educators as well as science/industry leaders are advocating the importance of language and other arts in a well-rounded and effective education – there are quite a few who promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) instead of just STEM.
Develops Logical And Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking is a necessary skill in understanding and analyzing the many perspectives and biases that inhabit the information we receive (from the news, social media, even textbooks). Writing essays trains students to consider various viewpoints and to argue their own ideas critically and skillfully through a carefully considered thesis and argument – the essence of critical thinking, which can be used for any subject or problem.
You see this argument building in math, too.Take for example writing proofs in geometry, where every mathematical action requires evidence to support it.The practice of writing helps students build universal skills in analyzing, reasoning, and logic, which are essential in any field of study.
Promotes Individual Thinking
Writing is great way for students to develop their own opinions, perspectives, and criticisms on everything and anything, from the young adult book they’re reading for fun to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, current events, or their own values and lives.
Most essay writing starts with “brainstorming,” an approach that fosters creative thinking and innovation. Essay writing will aid young students in developing their overall communication skills, including the expression of their own opinions, and taking creative and unusual perspectives. All these skills are useful in college and the workplace, where effective communication is as important as innovative thinking (after all, what’s the point of having a great idea if you can’t explain it?).
Builds Memory and Understanding
How often have you read an article or heard a news story, and forgot some of the important details moments afterwards? Now imagine trying to remember and understand the main points to something more lengthy and complex.
Putting thoughts to words on paper (or screen) helps teens, and adults, better synthesize, understand, and retain information. The structured approach of essay writing hones the skills that aid in understanding and retention, without requiring a teen to write a full-blown essay (unless you are asked for one!).
For more details on how writing helps your brain, check out this infographic about writing and the brain.
Prepares For College And Careers
Students (and their parents) probably already know that writing skills are a must for college. Almost every college requires personal essays as part of the admissions process. Writing is also a key component in just about every college-level class, in subjects as diverse as economics, anthropology, comparative literature, biology, and math.
As for the workplace, good writing skills are a requirement in many fields, and especially so for advancement.You may wonder why writing is important when communications are all about short tweets and YouTube videos. Want convincing? Here’s a Harvard Business Review post stating “Effective writing must be a company wide endeavor.”
Helps Reduce Stress
Writing is also a great outlet for stress. Teens and pre-teens are dealing with a variety of personal, academic, and social pressures and challenges. Writing has been proven to reduce stress. Maybe that’s why so many professional therapists and self-help advisors recommend keeping journals!
Best of all, writing offers a creative outlet. Not all of us may be capable of playing music or painting works of art, but everyone can write about something. Once your child is past the stage of worrying about writing “well,” she can write for enjoyment. Encourage your kid to write – it’ll give him a lifetime of confidence as well as comfort.
If a teen needs to improve his or her writing skill, parents can make an effort to provide some help. Teachers may have suggestions on activities and resources, and you can of course find any number of workshops and classes, online or onsite, especially during the summer. And if you want feedback on the writing, check out our essay review!
What do you think? How important are writing skills to you? Leave us a reply!