How Writing Should Be Taught In Schools

This tweet got me thinking…

You can always tell when someone was an academic superstar if they send you a detailed two page document that could have been communicated in 3 bullet points. Why? Writing more than necessary is rewarded in most schools.

The real challenge of writing effectively is cutting the fat, not producing volume. Most schools teach students the opposite.

Teachers enforce page minimums and incentivize students to copy and paste clutter. Since teachers inherently have a monopoly on students’ attention, they never learn the hard lesson that the supply of attention is limited.

I wish schools taught the following:

  1. Less is more
  2. No one in the real world has time to read your long winded essays.
  3. No one cares about your writing unless they think it can help you
  4. Enforce word maximums instead of page minimums
  5. If you don’t have a grabbing headline with an emotional appeal, no one will read it
  6. When in doubt, write bullet points, lists, or short paragraphs
  7. Although, big words have their time and place, aim to simplify, not pander to elitists
  8. How to properly use commas.
  9. The challenge of writing effectively is cutting the fat, not producing volume. Most schools teach students the opposite. Teachers enforce page minimums and incentivize students to copy and paste drivel.

This scene from A River Runs Through It is how kids should be taught to write: