The Value of Writing

Over on the HETL (Higher Education Teaching & Learning) group at LinkedIn, other professors and I engage in stimulating and worthwhile discussions.  HETL is a remarkable group, now with almost 10,000 professors from around the world.

For the past two weeks, a number of us have participated in a discussion titled simply, “Testing or Writing.”  Tonight, Dr. John Griffin (Oklahoma City University) contributed this quotable statement:

Memorization and repetition is useful, but the process of writing causes us to struggle with many concepts, and mentally test connections and meanings. This is the meaningfulness that I believe is so valuable. It adds breadth and depth to our knowledge set. Writing adds color to our black and white, simplistic knowledge. It forces our brains to burn newer neurons and make more/richer connections with existing schemas; all of which is beneficial.


Writing requires serious thinking.  Indeed, the process of writing causes us to come to decide what it is that we think.  It is not a mistake to say that by writing we can figure out just what it is that we think.  In olden days, it was called thinking on paper.  Since we don’t use paper anymore, perhaps it could be called thinking on the word processor.  Nah, doesn’t have the same ring.

by David Albrecht

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