Writing to Learn

Education theorists know that writing increases learning, not only subject matter but also thinking skills.  See an article here

In my own life, I’ve recently experienced the power of writing as a learning tool.

The other day, a freind asked me to encapsulate my thinking on the relationship between the financial industry and consumers in the recent credit crunch.  I was shocked at the struggle a coherent essay required. I thought I understood the subject well.  But, alas, I had much clarity to gain and the only way I could earn that clarity was to struggle with the process of writing for an audience.

At the exaltant moment when I sent the document off, I realized that I’d discovered a deep truth about my own learning:  I had to struggle through the writing process on a subject before I could reasonably decide that I’d reached some solid understanding of it.

By struggling toward coherence we sharpen our understanding of the concepts, the connections, and how the subject fits into our world.  This process also increases our facilities for gaining understanding more quickly and more clearly for the next subject. 

Importnatly, a thoughtful, well-crafted piece of writing and the struggle required to produce it also presents an extraordinary opportunity to boost a deeply rooted self-esteem.

Write on,

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