kitchen table math, the sequel: 'good writing matters'

Friday, September 28, 2012

'good writing matters'

in the Atlantic:
I have an MBA and was a turnaround corporate and real estate banker for over 23 years. My husband also has an MBA and is a senior-level manager in the financial services industry. What we've both seen, in the course of our careers, is that good writing matters. While the weak writers may get hired -- job interviews rarely require a writing sample -- once the candidates get the job, they don't tend to go far. Soon after they start work, they are asked to prepare a presentation or simply send an email. Then, the trouble begins.

Writing longer pieces -- presentations, for example -- only confirms the negative impression weak writers make in the workplace. While they might be very intelligent, their inability to clearly and concisely advocate their position on paper completely undermines their reputation. As a result, others become reluctant to have them on their team. Even individuals in verbally focused careers such as sales need to write pitches and send frequent follow-up correspondence.

When my husband and I were children in the public education system, we routinely wrote five to six paragraph essays across several subjects. We also learned proper handwriting, a skill that's far too underrated today. (One cannot use the computer to fill out a worksheet or critique a colleague's hard-copy document.) In addition, we rarely took multiple choice tests, instead tackling open-ended questions that required at least full-sentence answers. None of this is the case in many schools today. What's particularly frustrating to us is seeing these shortcomings in a school district like ours, one that has far fewer obstacles than a lower-income school like New Dorp.
Why I Took My Child Out of Public School
As long as process pedagogy rules the day, matters will not improve.

Of course, it could always be worse:
Pedagogical resistance is perhaps most apparent in the claim that writing cannot be taught, which stems from the argument forwarded by Kent that writing is a situated, interpretive, and indeterminate act. In Paralogic Rhetoric, Kent suggests that accepting a post-process perspective (at least in a paralogic sense) means rejecting process as the ultimate explanation for the writing act and instead recognizing the role of interpretation and indeterminacy in the writing act. Consequently, if we consider writing as an indeterminate and interpretive activity, he asserts, then "writing and reading -- conceived broadly as processes or bodies of knowledge -- cannot be taught, for nothing exists to teach" (161).
Post-Process "Pedagogy": A Philosophical Exercise by Lee-Ann M. Kastman Breuch
I wonder how post-process people feel about comma splices.

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