Thursday, March 3, 2011

Writing and Communication as a skill

As most of you may know, I am in graduate school. I am attending an online college (Capella University) for a Masters in Counseling Studies (though that may soon change to a different program). The format for classes is Discussion Boards and critical thinking writing assignments. So, there is a lot of writing involved. This is fine with me, because I consider myself a writer.

However, I never cease to be amazed at the level of borderline illiteracy among my fellow students. These are adults, most in their 30’s and 40’s, with at least a Bachelor’s degree, and often years of experience working in professional settings. Yet the number of grammar, syntax and even spelling errors is staggering. With technology being what it is, simply composing your discussion post in MS Word before copying and pasting it to the board would cure half of these problems (I’m doing that for this very blog post). But it often makes me wonder if the problem runs deeper.

Education is under fire in this country from many sides. Here in Wisconsin, our Corporatist Governor (I consider him neither Conservative nor Republican) is slashing nearly a Billion dollars from education with his newest Biennial Budget. And with the Senate in his greedy little pockets, it will most likely pass. The idiot is a college dropout (it took me 14 years to finish my BS, but I DID IT!). Clearly he places less value on education than many people.

So, when education is underfunded, what do we end up with? Adults who can’t string together a coherent paragraph in a somewhat intelligent manner. And these people are in a Masters program in college! I makes me physically ill to read some of these posts.

I have long held the belief that reading is the single most important skill a person can have. All other skills are derived from the ability to read. And this includes writing. By reading more, one learns by example a greater vocabulary, proper sentence structure, proper use of syntax, grammar and punctuation, and how to communicate an idea in a clear manner. I wish people would read more.

Or at least read what they are writing before they hit the “submit” button.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

It is everywhere. And I see a lot of carelessness. I got a proposal from a faculty member today with all kinds of misspellings in it that would have easily been caught by a spellchcker. Geeze, how they couldn't have been a bit more professional I will never know.