Trying to get students to write can be an absolute nightmare! Very often kids push back at writing. It can be difficult for an educator or parent to show a student why they should practice the art of writing. In a modern age of chat-slag like "brb" and "ROFL" it can be difficult to show that true communication requires effort. I've often heard the thought that if a child's goal isn't to actually be a writer, then learning to write is a waste of time. I see where the logic comes from, but as a teacher, I see it every day. The most confident students in a classroom are often the ones that have worked hard at their writing.
The development of writing skills improves reading and speaking skills and gives students a better vocabulary base. It also helps kids develop confidence physically (the hand-eye coordination practices that are not only necessary for writing but also for things like golf).
Writing is simply another form of communication. And communication, the ability to let others know how we feel and what we think is one of the things that makes humanity unique.
However, "writing" doesn't necessarily mean physically writing, or even having anything to do with penmanship or spelling. Those are different things. So, I want to be clear. I believe that students should work, to the best of their ability, to express themselves in written form. Well, that writing might be handwritten--then again it might be dictated or typed. We live in a modern age, the act of "writing" isn't what it was when we were young.
But you know what hasn't changed? The power of the imagination and storytellers. The occasional need adults find to write clear, concise, statements. Jobs that require written communication at times. Sharing information with others.
The truth is writing might be more important in the future than in the past. Does a student want to work in a virtual setting? How many emails do you think they'll need to shoot off every day? And if their boss, clients, or colleagues knows them mostly from those emails, what impression will they make?
How many modern people try to find romance or employment online? Describing yourself in a profile is an art--a written art.
Don't forget about the day they have to write a written statement that could have serious repercussions. Will they be able to express themselves, or will their points be lost in a swirl of confusion?
And don't think that students who want to work on visual things like movies, video games, or comics don't need writing. The most popular of these things have well-written stories, expansive universes, character development. Someone took an idea, flushed it out, then began creating it. If they want to be successful, they'll have to have a story to tell and be able to tell it.
Can you think of any connections with writing that your student might have in the future?
If you have an elementary or middle school-aged student, I suggest checking out Night ZooKeeper. It is a gamified writing platform that I don't have to fight my son to do. In fact, he usually asks to spend more time on it, and I've seen a drastic improvement in his ability to express his creative thoughts in words! Use my link for a 7-day free trial and a $5 coupon.