When I teach my Primary and Secondary school students, many of them will whine and groan when I reveal that the task at hand for that day is Essay Writing. To these students, Narrative Essay Writing, Situational Writing, Argumentative, Expository, Persuasive writing or any other form of writing is the most tedious and painful task that they have to undertake as part of their learning curriculum.
“Write all these compos for what? Next time go to work got use meh?” my students will whine.
So once and for all, I would like to clarify my thoughts on how Writing has significant relevance to our lives. I want all students reading this to understand the pragmatic purpose and power of good writing. Again, I would like to stress that all these writing skills are not just trained in essay writing or situational writing but also in the way you express your answers in comprehension passages. My comments and words may come across as overly blunt or direct in this post, but I beg you to keep an open mind!
How do you think you are going to get a job next time when you grow up? You do up a resume, and attach a cover letter – stating why you are the right person for the job. What will make you stand out from the thousands of other candidates? Your pretty/handsome photo? Maybe. Your qualifications? Maybe. Your experience? Maybe. What if you are average-looking, just fresh out of university or poly with no experience at all? Your chances of getting hired is pretty low huh?
You know what can make you stand out? A well-organised, concise, well-written cover letter and resume that stands out from the rest! Speaking as a boss, you have no idea how many terrible resumes I delete from my inbox because I can’t stand the writing / organisation of the resume or cover letter. I don’t care if the applicants teach other subjects and do not specialise in English; a poorly written resume/cover letter shows a lack of effort and sincerity in asking for the job!
Good writing = higher chance of landing a better job!
Written Communication – Work
When I first started working as an engineer, I was typing out rushed emails and sending them to my boss without proper organisation of the content or message. Sometimes, as I was in a hurry, I would not even include the Subject line! One day, my boss got so fed up that he called me to the office, sat me down and gave me the biggest scolding of my life.
“What is this? What are you writing? No subject! Vague description! You sure you graduated from NTU?”
In case you don’t know, getting scolded by your boss is more embarrassing than getting scolded by your teacher. Firstly, you are getting scolded as an adult, not a kid. Secondly, your job is at stake. Lastly, getting into your bosses’ bad books will make everyday work pure drudgery.
I had forgotten and conveniently neglected all the Situational Writing methods that my secondary school teachers had taught me. Immediately, I changed my attitude, remembered everything taught in school and applied it to all my emails, proposals and letters at work.
One advice to save you from unnecessary embarrassment next time: TAKE SITUATIONAL WRITING SERIOUSLY.
Written Communication – Whatsapp/SMS
How many times have you received a badly-written Whatsapp message that doesn’t make any sense?
“Hey, later we go arkade afta skool. Meet at houngang mall that noon 3pm. LOL #cantspell #yolo .”
“mY MoThEr SaY i LaTeR dunnid go tuttion coz my england get A”
“My daugther have school at cca. tuition today no come! Thankyou!”
OH MY GOD. What language are you speaking in??? Swahili???
I have received this kind of messages from some friends, acquaintances, students AND PARENTS as well. Yes, adults you are guilty of this too! Unnecessary exclamation marks, wrong spelling, improper sentence structure, wrong tone, wrong usage of words, alternate caps…
There is only one place where you can talk like that and everyone will understand you. The Hardware Zone forums.
Good Writing = Better Communication!
Written Communication for Boyfriend / Girlfriend relationships – Whatsapp / SMS
Kids reading this: Don’t laugh. Don’t say “Eeeeeee…..boyfriend, girlfriend yucks!”
I can bet with you 3-4 years later you will be coming back to Intellicat’s website to look at this post again. True story of my student, whom I started teaching in P5 and is in S2 now.
P5 boy: Why is this class full of girls? I hate this class! I don’t want to come tuition anymore! Girls suck! Waaaahhhh!
3 years later, same boy, now in S2…
S2 boy: Teacher, can you get more chio bus to join our class or not?
Want to find a boyfriend or girlfriend? Make sure you don’t type Whatsapp messages like the people I mentioned above. Also, with a strong mastery of language and inference skills (from compre and literature), you can sense if your significant other is happy or sad and respond appropriately. A good vocabulary will also help you to say mushy stuff but sound smart at the same time. (*Guys take note! Important skill!) Therefore, unless you plan to be forever alone, please make sure you write proper messages when you are wooing your girlfriend or boyfriend.
Good writing = Love!
Writing to Make Money
Singaporeans like to be pragmatic and often relate educational qualifications /achievements to income earned. Yes, all the essay writing that you do can help you make money. How? There are many ways! Other than running this tuition centre, I write as a hobby and occasionally use it to promote affiliate sales for online courses or other products/services on my blog. “Affiliate sales” means I get commissions whenever I make a sale from my blog. How do I make those sales? Simple, I type out a blog post or content article, use emotive language, throw in a persuasive tone, tell a true story, use analogies and metaphors. Then I paste the links of the sales page onto my blog post and I go to sleep.
When I wake up, I will find that people have bought the products and I am a few thousand dollars richer! Who doesn’t like to make money while sleeping?
Sounds easy? Wait there’s a catch – all my writing skills were picked up from paying attention and learning during English and Literature classes. Yes, Literature! The subject that many schools have removed from their syllabus due to complaints that Literature is not practical or pragmatic in our society. I pity all the students who don’t get to learn Literature, and I pity all the short-sighted people who pushed to scrape Literature. Now my skills learnt from Literature and English Essay Writing are paying me dividends while I sleep. Talk about being practical!
Wait did I also mention I get paid to write for people/companies?
Good writing = $$$
Writing to Change the World
All great ideas, thoughts and opinions are recorded down in books, biographies, reports, newspapers, etc. The written word has been used to spread knowledge, record history or pass instructions since time immemorial. Sure, we may have evolved from writing on a paper to typing on a computer. We may have evolved from writing letters, to posting on Facebook and Twitter. The mediums evolve with time but the same good writing techniques will always be applicable. After all, what dictates a good essay or post is not the technology used but the writer himself.
Words have the power to topple kingdoms/governments. Words have the power to bring about revolutions. Words have the power to record knowledge, duplicate it for the masses and store it forever. Words have the power to persuade, convince, spread ideas and change people’s lives.
The pen is mightier than the sword. Do not underestimate the impact of good writing!
Hope you enjoyed reading my article. If you want to learn further, check out my online essay writing course.
By Jerry lee
Intellicat Tuition School