01 maio 2019 On practicing what you preach
“You should write as often as possible” – that’s what I keep telling my students.
Currently, 99% of my students are intrepid English teachers either preparing for the Cambridge English: Advanced or the Cambridge English: Proficiency, which means that their writing skills will be assessed via two writing tasks. Needless to say, it is my duty to encourage them to write as much as they can and provide detailed feedback on their writing assignments.
The great Morpheus said: “(…) sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” Well, despite trying to instill in my students the need to invest hours and hours into their writing skills, I have somehow become oblivious to the fact that I myself haven’t been taking my own advice. As the saying goes, “do as I say, not as I do”, right? Seriously, though, as much as I’ve been reluctant to admit it, I haven’t exactly been practicing what I’ve been preaching. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s move on.
Why does it even matter anyway?
First and foremost, I believe that it’s crucial that we walk the walk. In other words, if you tell people what to do, it’s really important to set a good example. It’s as simple as that. Secondly, I’ve always believed that writing can be an incredibly powerful tool as far as our CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is concerned. To start with, writing helps us formalize our thinking. “Okay, what on earth does that mean?” – I hear you ask.
To put it another way, I feel that by writing, we have the chance to reflect upon whatever message we want to convey and to consider the most effective way to lay it out. Let me reiterate it by saying that writing gives us the perfect opportunity to rethink and reassess our assumptions and beliefs and organize them as coherently as possible. After all, we want our audience to understand and, hopefully, benefit from whatever we have to say. And if this isn’t a good enough reason for you to join me and start writing more regularly, I’ll give you one more.
A true story
While preparing for the Cambridge English: Proficiency, I vividly remember writing on a weekly basis about a myriad of topics: from globalization to the role of museums in our society. Interestingly, writing extensively had a knock-on effect on my grammar, vocabulary and, arguably, on my speaking as well. That’s right. In essence, writing frequently is also likely to help our language development, as it allows us to notice our output and work on it until it’s ready to be presented to the world.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
You may be thinking: “I’m hopeless at writing”. Well, for the sake of argument, let’s say that you – just like me – will probably not be the next Dan Brown. So what? Carl Jung said that “the fool is the precursor to the savior.” I believe that his quote brilliantly encapsulates how we tend to feel when trying something new. However, we must bear in mind that until we’re ready to look foolish, we’ll never have the possibility of being great.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments 😉