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Are Tomorrow’s Leaders of Business, Journalism, and Politics Ready to Communicate Effectively. What about Tomorrow’s Authors?

Think about this, the students in middle school today will be tomorrow’s leaders. Shouldn’t we prepare them for the world ahead?

You only need to visit the Internet and most social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and others to recognize that command of written English is losing ground. There are typos, shorthand, and errors on sites that offer us news, educational and technical information for consumers, hobbyists, and the general public. Would you trust someone whose communication skills are lacking?

US News and World Report, “How to Fix America’s College Remediation Issue – More than half of community college freshmen are told they aren’t ready for college-level work.”

An article about remediation, “Report shows more than $3.1 billion is being spent annually on remedial writing training.”

The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy’s article by John Maguire, “Why Many College Students Never Learn How to Write Sentences.”

There is a movement, if it is, I choose to be a hoax, or not to eliminate the teaching of cursive writing being taught in schools. Parents should check their child’s curriculum and verify that cursive handwriting is being taught to their child or take it upon themselves to request it of the school district. If that fails, it is the parents’ duty to teach their child cursive handwriting.

Check out this article by about cursive handwriting in The Washington Post’s article, “Cursive handwriting is disappearing from public schools.

Are college standards being dumbed down to accommodate students as this article states? Remediation and the Dumbing Down of Campus Standards article by Paul Trout, English MSU-Bozeman.

Who is at Fault for the high need of Remediation of High School Graduates? 

There is more than enough blame to go around from parents who don’t look at their child’s homework, teachers who are over-worked and underpaid, bilingual education which exacerbates not assimilating into English, core standards, the government’s no child left behind report sent to President Regan and the Department of Education to the rewriting of books that the far right in America is trying to do to the point of ignoring history so as to not offend someone. There are some that still deny some history like the holocaust and genocide conducted by governments to various religions. There is an old quote, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Originally attributed to George Santayana.

Another thought, The United States of America stands as the only industrialized nation without a designated language. That’s right, although English is taught in schools, the United States Congress has never passed a bill to make English the designated language. There have been many bills generated to create a designated language, no bill has ever made it to the desk of the President of the United States for signature.

The dumbing down of standards actually began in the 1960s with the emphasis on test scores rather than actual learning how to study, writing, reading, math and science. There was more emphasis on test scores than learning what students need for the real world like learning how to comprehend what they read in their textbooks and basic computation and communication skills.

With both parents required to work to survive the new economic reality, some have scant time to make parent teachers meetings that were held in the 1940s and 1950s when one parent could afford to stay home. Parents not checking the curriculum of their children and involved in what was being taught to their child.

The statistics about reading are abysmal, most parents and children do not read other than what is required for a class and nothing more, the loss of reading comprehension and reading level is one reason for remediation of college freshmen. How can one develop reading comprehension if they don’t read to gain both comprehension and vocabulary expansion?

How can parents who don’t read expect their children read?

In the 1940s and 50s

Students were held to higher academic standards for extra-curricular activities. There were dress codes, children showed respect to teachers and administrators. Misbehavior was dealt with swiftly. Parents were kept abreast of their children’s discipline and behavior misdeeds.

This does not mean corporal punishment but sent to a separate classroom allowing the class to continue learning. The use of school detention with a note to the parents was the rule of the day.

Parents were more involved with their child’s education.

Is your child’s school offering parent-teacher conferences and do you attend?

Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences at Your Child’s School.

All schools should hold parent-teacher conferences. Parents should demand to speak to their child’s teacher(s) and work at helping their child with core knowledge in reading comprehension, writing, math, and science. If their child is lacking in a specific area, asking the teacher for more work or requesting how a parent can help their child is in order.

Ultimately, the concept of solid core education is what will help the child in the future when they are ready for college to not have to be remediated to handle college-level textbooks and writing assignments. Some courses require blue book tests where the student must write a short essay dealing with the question on a test while others may require a term paper.

In college, part of a student’s grade is how well they can communicate in writing to explain a position or concept related to the course matter.

Written and oral communication is important for everyday intercourse but more so in the college environment.

A person’s command of writing and vocabulary strength are requirements for their ability to clearly express and explain their meaning at work or in classroom discussions with their college professor.

You or your child can build a larger vocabulary by the simple act of reading and use of a lexicon for words that are unclear, unknown or unusual to find their meaning and proper usage.

Reading not only helps you and your child, you also help authors by purchasing their book, checking out a book at your local library and posting a review. If you enjoy a specific book, please be kind enough to tell your friends why you liked it and recommend that they read the book. They might recommend a book for you to read that they enjoyed reading. Spreading the word at the office is an excellent way to practice oral communication skills and public speaking albeit one-on-one building interpersonal skills comfort.

We all need to practice or upgrade our basic communication skills unless we begin to backtrack on our abilities and failing to maintain our written and oral communication with others. Practicing also helps the continual growth of our vocabulary to make our meaning clear and concise to the person you are communicating with to understand your meaning as clearly as you think you are presenting the information in your mind.

Practice and preparation are the two main ingredients in communicating your thoughts to readers and through interpersonal intercourse among friends, teachers, and business associates. This also leads to being comfortability when communicating orally and in your writing.

Nathaniel Hawthorne said it best about written communication, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

There is no substitute for learning the basic core skills of reading, writing, math and science to create a will rounded intelligent person able to communicate with others and not be misunderstood.

Think about it and share your opinion in the comments.


Robert Medak

Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, and Reviewer learning branding and marketing.

When beginning writers ask for advice about what to write about, the stock answer is to write what you know.

I look at it differently; writing about what you know may be comfortable for beginners, but how many readers are there that want to read a book about what you know, what about fantasy, thrillers, mainstream romance, and science fiction?

Writers should write about their passion. If a writer likes mysteries, than they should read many of them, and then write one.

Good writers need to be avid readers. If a writer doesn’t like to read, they probably won’t be a good writer. The reason for this is simple; writers must have a passion for words and language to be a good writer.

Many writers worry about something called voice, a writer’s voice will develop over time as the writer writes. Voice can also change over time as the writer hones their writing by writing.

Only ghostwriters worry about the ability of writing in someone else’s voice. This takes special skill and is not something that beginners should attempt. Ghostwriting is for seasoned writers, and those who specialize in it.

Back to the subject

First, writing is a business not a hobby. Writers whose dream is to write and publish are entrepreneurs and must have this mindset. Think about this, what are you willing to do for your book?

Unless you self-publish, it could cost a minimum of $1,500 to $2,000 for you to work through an agent, or to work with various publishers you can find by searching the Internet to get your book published. Bear in mind that publishing houses are reluctant to work with unknown and unpublished writers.

Second, writers must have a passion for what they write, because if they don’t, the story will not engage the reader properly. The reader may become bored, set the book down, and not pick it up again. Now the writer has possibly lost a reader forever.

Who is your audience?

This is another point that is continually brought up; don’t try to jump on the latest bandwagon. By the time your book comes out, the bandwagon could have changed. Trying to write the latest fad is never a good idea.

Think about movies for a moment, how many times have you seen a movie with a big box office, and then everyone makes a similar movie. Are those movies as good? Usually not, and neither are many sequels.

Writing is the loneliest and time-consuming vocation one can chose. Writers sit for hours in solitary with only their thoughts and blank pages to fill with words that create something new for readers.

Robert Medak

Freelance Writer/Blogger/Editor/Proofreader/Reviewer/Marketer

Are college and university graduates learning how to write or are they plagiarizing prior works to get through their courses? There is some thought by instructors that students don’t understand what plagiarism is (Taken from a dictionary program WordPro™. A piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work.) Never Plagiarize.

As a sexagenarian, the term computer meant a large room filled with wires, tubes, and air conditioning to keep the room habitable for people. The idea of something sitting on a desk or portable was only a thought of the future; a period, when students of higher math, and engineers used slide rules, to make needed calculations.

The first handheld calculator didn’t arrive on the scene until 1967; Texas Instruments was first because an engineer was able to invent the printed circuit board, which ushered in small devices.

Before 1967, a calculator would need desk space. In 2012, a personal computer can do more than the earliest computer.

In 2012, there is software to help write, correct grammar, even software that converts speech into written words. Is this the way to do it? Who says the software is correct for other than academic writing? There is also ethics.

An article states that as high as 60 percent of college freshmen are not ready for college-level writing, Students are ill-prepared for college-level writing.

These students are the future of businesses, and government. They are possibly future authors.

Readers would not want to read something written by a semi-literate person who is incapable of writing a simple sentence without gross errors.

It’s obvious that the educational system is not working, as it should. One study online by OCED in Figures 2009 the United States ranks 33rd when tested against other countries.

If people aren’t able to read at the proper level, their ability to write clearly and correctly will suffer. As an avid reader, writer, and book reviewer, Readers don’t wish subjection to books, articles, and other copy with errors in grammar. People should spend their time and check resources to ensure that what they write is clear, concise, and as error free as possible.

Plagiarism is for lazy, unethical writers. There are sites online where both writers and students can find academic papers. The question is what is ethical for each individual.

If the writer is unsure of something, there are resources both on and offline available. For working offline, a good dictionary and thesaurus should be within reach. For one online source, try the Guide to Grammar & Writing , also try Copyscape® to test web content against the Internet for any duplication. Web content should be free of anything on another web site. If something does come up using Copyscape®, correct the copy you’re working on.

Parents need to work with their children on reading and writing skills to insure their ability for future tasks and higher education. Not reading at the proper level to understanding requirements for erection of equipment and safety requirements at work could be dangerous.

Part of life is communication; communication comes in two flavors, written and oral. If a person is incapable of communicating well, the chance for upward mobility or of finding readers is diminished.

It’s time for children and parents to read to each other to improve literacy.

We need to speak to Boards of Education and ask them to make reading and writing a priority.

Robert Medak

Freelance Writer/Blogger/Editor/Proofreader/Reviewer/Marketer

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