Although writing is not technically verbal, it is an important aspect of communication. This is an important reminder for students. A common complaint among freshman students in English classes is that they will not need writing. Despite the fact that conducting research, leading presentations, and writing papers will be an important part of all majors and many careers, writing, in the most basic form is communication, and everyone, no matter who they are or what they chose to do in life, will communicate. Although most colleges require students to take a speech course, which helps with communication, verbal communication is not the only method. Papers, research, presentations, briefs, and emails, are just a few examples of written communication that is utilized everyday.
Clearly, all forms of communication are important, but it can be difficult to convey a point. Bazerman states that a “problem in communication precedes the choosing of any words or shaping of any message: identifying the situation we are in and the nature of the communication we wish to make” (35). A writer needs to consider what they are writing about, who the audience is, what their tone should be, and what the purpose writing the information is. This relates back to words having meaning based on context. Writing relies on outside factors. Richardson states,” Every receiver is unique and receives messages in a different way. The sender of the message needs to show sensitivity toward the receiver by adapting the method of sending the message.” (para. 2). This extends beyond professional papers and weaves into personal written communication, as well. For example, if I am discussing a need for a raise, I would write these needs differently in an email to my boss and a text message to a friend. My boss and friend have completely different roles in the situation and a text message and email vary greatly. Thus, I would go about these pieces differently. For a laugh, follow this link to read about eight times people had horrible email “fails.”
Though Bazerman stated that struggles in communication involve more than just choosing words, word choice still plays a vital role in what is conveyed. Bazerman went on to claim, “Writers often have great ambitions about the effects and power of what they write and their ability to capture the truth of realities or conjure imagined realities, but they are constantly caught up short by what they can bring into shared reality through words” (38). I think this quote sums up the struggle that many students and writers have when beginning a paper. Writers often times have so much to say that they do not know how to convey it or where to even begin. Last night I was struck with the urge to write a poem, and I could barely move my hand as quickly as my mind was moving. Nonetheless, after I “finished” the poem, I still wasn’t content with the words that I chose. Finding the right words to write (ha) can be troubling!
In terms of writing in the classroom, it is important to portray the importance of texts “rely[ing] on each other to make meaning” (Roozen 44). All writing is a reflection of other texts and writing. “Why is Reading Important” is an article that explains the importance of reading. Reading is a way for people to engage with others and become inspired to write their own ideas. I would want to emphasize this before beginning a research paper. If students keep in mind that everything they write is a reflection of something they have read, they may view research papers as less ‘painful,’ since it is not that different from everything else they write, except they are more aware of the outside information they are analyzing. Students have the power to create new ideas and provide new insight, knowing that other people will reflect on their ideas.
Bazerman, Charles. “Writing Represents the World, Events, Ideas, and Feelings” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, 37-39.
Bazerman, Charles. “Writing Speaks to Situations through Recognizable Forms.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, 35-37.
Daveshky, Evan. “8 Email Fails that Will Make You Cringe.” PC, 21 August 2014, https://www.pcmag.com/article/326500/8-email-fails-that-will-make-you-cringe.
Davis, Glenn. “Why is Reading Important?” Learn to Read, December 2016, https://www.learn-to-read-prince-george.com/why-is-reading-important.html.
“Five Reasons Why Writing is Important.” EssayMasters, 6 September 2019, https://www.essaymasters.co.uk/five-reasons-why-writing-is-important-in-real-world .
Hampsten, Katherine and Ted-Ed. “How miscommunication happens (and how to avoid it)” YouTube, 22 February 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCfzeONu3Mo Accessed 6 September 2019.
Richardson, Megan. “Problems in Effective Communication.” bizfluent, 22 Janurary 2019, https://bizfluent.com/list-6576212-problems-effective-communication.html.
Roozen, Kevin. “Texts Get their Meaning from Other Texts.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, 44-45.