Recently, I read Shelley Wright’s Blogging is the New Persuasive Essay. I was inspired by her article because it tackled many problems which exist in teaching students about writing persuasive essays.
According to Wright, helping students become independent thinkers is essential. Students’ persuasive essays are great evidences for keeping track of their developments on thinking. However, on their ways to become a better thinker, some students cannot produce thesis statements that can be argued. Also, many students don’t write persuasive essays/articles anymore once they graduated from school.
To solve these problems, Wright made blogs her writing courses assistants as well as students practicing platforms. The following points are advantages of blogging persuasive essays:
- less stress
- make writing and persuasive thinking a life-long skill
- have more potential audiences than academic persuasive writing
- interactions on cyberspace push students produce ideas that can be tested/argued
- visible progression
I can’t agree more on last three points but I hold different views on the first one and the second.
Take myself as an example. Since I might have more audiences from cyberspace and my works are no longer private (not only professor, but also other students in the class can view work), I felt more stressful when I was writing a persuasive article on blog. I experienced more hesitations than writing academic essays. Meanwhile, if we use blogs for interactions, it is important to teach students how to comment others works in a well-spoken manner, and how to answer potential language violence objectively.
Towards the second point, I agree that blogging can develop students’ persuasive thinking skills but I choose to respect students’ present manners. I won’t place blogging/writing as a “more recommended” manner or “think more highly of blogging/writing than other tools”. Some students are good at persuasive speaking instead of writing; some students’ practical actions reflect their excellent persuasive thinking skills, although writing itself is a torture for them. After all, our final goal is to develop the persuasive thinking model. Blogging is only one of the useful tools.