Helping STEM Students Build Soft Skills – Strategy #5: ENCOURAGE WRITING

Dear Readers: In lieu of reading this post, you can view the embedded video (bottom of post).

Hello, and welcome to Strategy #5, ENCOURAGE WRITING. It’s about the opportunity for us, as parents, to encourage writing of all kinds….including journaling, blogging, writing letters and notes, and much more.

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Now I don’t want to come off as a “negative nancy” here, but I’d be lying if I suggested that writing is an easy one to make happen with a child, especially if she hasn’t embraced it on her own. At least, this was my experience with our boys.

Writing Education Seems Different Today

It seems to me that we’ve experienced an erosion of educational requirements for writing of all kinds.

Coupled with the huge decline of print media, texting and Twitter might be the final nails in the coffin with respect to any hope for a revival of writing education and skills.

STEM Professionals Write Daily

However, even if educational requirements may have slipped a bit, the STEM working worlds that our kids are headed to still require that employees communicate effectively in a variety of written forms. Examples include project and technical reports, emails, presentation slides, and many others.

Although each form of writing is different, they all require that STEM professionals write succinctly and clearly, use correct grammar, and pay attention to today’s common preference and need for brevity.

As a result, this means that as parents, we need to work even harder to acquaint and help our kids with writing and its benefits.


ACTIONS TO TAKE NOW:

ACTION #1:

Have conversations with your child about writing they are already doing.

Admittedly, this is simply Strategy #1, SHOW INTEREST. By showing interest in examples of writing she is already doing, it will help to raise her awareness about the importance of writing. Hopefully, it will also motivate her to do even more writing.

During your conversations, you could also share examples of the ways that writing shows up in your daily work, and the impact it can have on our success at work and in life. This is actually a combination of Strategy #2, SHARE EXPERIENCES, and Strategy #4, DRIP IDEAS, in action.

ACTION #2:

Encourage the simple, but important, habit of writing handwritten thank you notes.

Obviously, this suggestion is less about learning the mechanics of writing, and more about developing a specific writing habit that can make a difference to others.

To be completely honest, I’m also including it here because it’s the primary area of writing in which I was able to successfully influence our boys.

My Opinion Is FirmHandwritten Notes Matter

Writing thank you notes is an area where my opinion never waivers.

I’m convinced that showing appreciation with a handwritten note is a habit that’s appropriate and beneficial for all areas of our lives, including the workplace. Over 20 years of positive experience with handwritten notes is simply too compelling for me to think otherwise. 

This is a soft skill that seems to have become a lost art, but you can help your child to keep it alive. 

As you prepare to encourage your child to write notes, you may find these two articles I published on LinkedIn helpful:

Leading by example and sharing your own experiences with writing notes is one of the best ways to teach this important soft skill.

Are You Ready For More Ideas to Help Your STEM Student?

Coming next is Strategy #6, SUPPORT CURRENT ACTIVITIES, which is about supporting things your child is already doing in order to help her learn more about soft skills. I invite you to continue on this learning journey with me.


 If desired, you can view this entire post in the video below:

Questions: How will you encourage your child to write more? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Note: This post is one of the chapters in the free PARENT’S GUIDE TO HELPING STEM STUDENTS BUILD OUTSTANDING SOFT SKILLS. On THIS PAGE, you can learn more about the GUIDE, watch a short summary video and request a FREE downloadable PDF copy.

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