What I’m talking about in this post is academic essay writing.
I’m talking about the full-on, boring, dated, stuffy, no conversational tone, MLA/APA formatted essays topped with a bibliography or works cited if you can remember which one is which, the ones we all had hammered into us from high school through to college.
We don’t use corded telephones to make phone calls anymore. It wasn’t until I left academia and began writing for a living did I realize that the practice of writing academic essays is mostly useless.
I need to make a clear distinction between essay writing and academic essay writing.
More programs should emphasize practical knowledge. Instead, they focus on dated or useless material while forcing students to churn out stacks of essays in order to pass. For years I stood in front of my students and lied to them. In theory (like many things in academia) essays should be effective. My last year, I had everyone in my class share their essays with me on Google Drive right at the beginning.
Over and over again, I emphasized the importance of academic essay writing. Unfortunately, pragmaticism devours ideologies before breakfast. This meant that all 90-ish of my students shared the documents that would eventually turn into their essays with me.
Even if you work hard and master the art of academic essay writing, it doesn’t amount to much.
You simply end up leaving the academic bubble and learning a completely different skill set for your new job.
We’ve gone from a society that’s criticized people for spending too much time on Facebook to one where you get promoted for knowing how to use it. We design pivotal tests to enforce this even though the process has no significant bearing on life outside of the classroom.
Dated teaching practices are detrimental to success and need to be stopped.