As Zinsser states, writing is a part of thinking. If teachers do not utilize the power of writing within their content area classrooms, students experience a disadvantage to their learning. Why should any content area teacher use writing for thinking? Steve Peha (2003) states the following reasons:
1. Written output is a great way to assess student knowledge.
Teachers are able to assess each individual student’s understanding of concepts.
2. Writing is the essential skill students need as they enter adult life.
Writing (of any sort) is an output. It should sort and organize information for the reader and his/her audience.
3. Helping students learn to express themselves with confidence in all subject areas can contribute to improvements in behavior and self-esteem.
Adolescent students, especially, benefit from being able to write out their feelings and frustrations.
4. Students who write clearly, think clearly. And students who think clearly have a better chance of navigating their way through the obstacles of adolescence.
5. Writing is power.
“Writing is power. It is the power that students need to understand and control their lives, to shape their future and define their dreams” (Peha, 2003).
Teach your students how to think with their writing. Don’t worry so much about grammar rules; just let the students have the permission to communicate and learn through their written work.