The Importance of Developing Writing Skills
In the Harpur School of Arts and Sciences, all students are required to have several composition-based courses under their belt in order to graduate. English professors are very used to being told by students that they are, “just here for the Gen Ed.” On the student side, many of us find ourselves wondering why we need to take these courses, believing that we are already competent writers or that we will not need advanced writing skills in “real life.” So why is composition so heavily valued by our university? Although we may not realize it, we employ the skills we gain through these classes every day. Writing and composition is a foundational tool that is necessary for further learning and our future professional lives. Here are just a few of the ways that writing and composition prepare us for successful futures in the workforce:
Educating the Public
Successful societies are made possible by the cultivation of an educated public. For students majoring in Education and Human Services fields, this can mean anything from writing grant proposals to drafting petitions aimed at our Congressional representatives. For professionals in advocacy or non-profit roles, a significant portion of the day may be dedicated to community outreach and showing the public why they should care about a particular issue. The common thread running through all of these scenarios is that the ability to write comprehensively and succinctly is crucial to success. Our writing courses teach us how to take complicated topics that we as professionals are well versed in (e.g. the rate of decline in the bee population and its effects on crop pollination) and translate them into a message that can be digested by the public (e.g. we must protect the bee population in order to grow enough food for ourselves). When we are able to effectively convey our ideas to the public, we have the power to inspire lasting change.
We create a whopping 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, and that number is only growing. Our access to raw data is incredible, but data only becomes leverageable information when we have people to interpret and contextualize the numbers. Take this table:
On its own, the data listed above is useless. However, a professional trained in critical thinking and writing can explain that in the year 2014, the literacy rate in the countries of Guinea and North Macedonia were 32% and 98%, respectively. They could then dive deeper into the root causes behind this disparity and develop a plan for bridging the achievement gap between the nations. Critical thinking and writing, another staple of Binghamton’s composition courses, gives us the tools to interpret the world around us and take steps to improve our society.
Teamwork and Empathy
“The only effect I ardently long to produce by my writings, is that those who read them should be better able to imagine and to feel the pains and the joys of those who differ from them in everything but the broad fact of being struggling, erring human creatures.”
As the name implies, the Education and Human Services field is all about humanity. Writing prompts us to take the time to truly think about the ways that we are all connected. Through composition, we learn how our similarities can be used to communicate and celebrate our differences. Whether working with students, coworkers, or the general public, human services professionals are dedicated to understanding and helping others. Writing allows us the opportunity to reflect on ourselves and how we interact with the world, therefore it is vital to a well-rounded curriculum and a successful career.
Writing permeates every level of the Education and Human Services field. Although our Gen Eds may seem inconvenient or tedious, they provide us with some of the most critical tools for the future. By committing to learning and growing within the world of composition, we are creating a brighter world for ourselves and others.
*** Looking for extra writing support? Visit the awesome tutors at The Writing Center!