Writing is the most important skill students learn — or fail to learn — in college, argues Henry Adams in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Many students see themselves as customers buying four years of frolicking that will magically morph into a job, so here’s my suggestion for weaving career training into la dolce vita: Instead of having only one first-year course devoted to composition, every general-education curriculum should require students to take a writing class every semester to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Those courses shouldn’t be writing-to-discover-yourself experiences. They should be writing-to-demonstrate-the-other-person-is-wrong courses.
Students will balk, but for their sake, let’s apply the business model to higher education. Let’s tell students that if they learn how to think, analyze, and express, they will outperform all other employees in their workplace. While we’re at it, let’s tell them an inconvenient truth: They won’t go far in their careers unless they apply themselves, but this sequence of courses can prepare them to do that.
Adams adds, “We might also consider using course evaluations that ask students how much they learned, rather than whether they thought the class was fun.”