Education Realist is teaching Book Club/PSAT, aka “Asian summer school” to a class of straight-A students. Writing is thinking, she tells them.
“See, when you say you don’t know what to write, you are actually saying…..”
“I don’t know what to think.”
“Indeed. How many of you google other essays and, please god, don’t copy them directly but take the ideas and rewrite them?” A few hands go up. “Yeah. DON’T DO THAT.”
“But I have no idea what to write.”
“Okay. So when you say you want to become a better writer, you are actually expressing the need to…”
“Become a better thinker?”
Her students want to know what their teacher wants them to say. She tells them to say what what’s on their own minds.
“But what if there’s nothing there?”
“. . . if you don’t know what to think, then I’d rather you write articulately and carefully about why you don’t know what to think, instead of making something up.”
“And that will help my vocabulary?”
Only, if they learn to think about the meaning of words, she replies.
I agree. Clear writing requires clear thinking.