The Art Of Writing At School

In this world of electronic delivery the art of writing could be the casualty!

We are in an era of instant communication and connecting more, the need to be comprehensive in our writing is loosing ground. SMS language, abbreviations and slang are corrupting the art of writing very rapidly. Business at the speed of thought, sometimes even pushes us to share information without thought and editing.

True, This! —
Beneath the rule of men entirely great
The pen is mightier than the sword.
Behold
The arch-enchanters wand! — itself is nothing! —
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyse the C├Žsars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless! — Take away the sword —
States can be saved without it!
~ The sentence (if not the idea, which had been expressed in various earlier forms) was coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 for his play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy.

"The pen is mightier than the sword" means a person can cause people to change their opinions (e.g., to fight a war) and on a large scale, whereas a sword can only change a person's opinion by force and then often only results in the person's death.

Writing has character, a physical form and conveys emotions far more effectively. The written word is an art form in itself and is very personal too. With the proliferation of the electronic and print media, who knows the hand written word may be extinct in the near future itself. With touch and voice pushing us to new frontiers with gadgets, we may even end up with a paperless world in some years ahead. This will indeed be a heartbreak for the romantics, the writers and the creators of the cursive writing form.

The term handwriting encompasses both printing and cursive styles and is separate from formal calligraphy or typeface. Because each person's handwriting is unique, it can be used to verify a document's writer, the deterioration of a person's handwriting is also a symptom or result of certain diseases.

Education at school starts with the learning of alphabets and building up the art of writing. We all will remember how we first started our learning with the single letters, then the joining of alphabets, the formation of sentences and moved on to the writing statements and expressions.

The most prolific experience for me in person - our English class teacher forcing us to write a Thought for the week. This was even bigger challenge for me than to learn how to write. It made me think, have my imagination go wild, scribble and cross out and finally have a simple and eloquent hand written piece ready for my Monday morning English class. Yes, we did not have the tools of word processing and perhaps spent a lot of time thinking and imaging, this is why the quality of our writing was much better and perhaps more original too.

In my secondary school years our House Master would push us to keep a journal and write a Daily Log. This was indeed a great way to reflect, learn time management and best of all in a very subtle way it helped us improve our art of writing. Today the ubiquitous Calendar Apps keep our logs and reminders!
While at school, we had to file reports of our school outings and mid-term excursions with sketches and photos incorporated. Essays and writings of people are today curated in museums all over the world and perhaps when we go back to the archives in our schools we will be most delighted to find some of our very own original writings. Believe me, this will be your most treasured moment!

Today in the world of 'cut and paste' often the Art of Writing is the casualty. When I sit down to write my blog every 10th day of the month, I find that more than concentrate on my writing I end up browsing. When we quote with reference it is research and not copying, this is perhaps what takes us away from the original way of writing and doing deep research, thinking, scratching our heads and coming up with eloquent prose.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, writing becomes more important. This is especially true for non-writers. If you work in an office, the majority of your communications are made with text by email or IM. Whether you like it or not, your ability to exchange ideas, collaborate with others, and ultimately succeed, hinges on the ability to write effectively.

K. Stone has laid out a process to help us  write faster, better, and easier. To follow up, here are 10 timeless tips from www.pickthebrain.com to help you improve style and substance, straight from the pens of humanity’s finest authors.
1. Cut the boring parts
2. Eliminate unnecessary words
3. Write with passion
4. Paint a picture
5. Keep it simple
6. Do it with love
7. Learn to thrive on criticism
8. Write all the time
9. Write what you know or what you want to know
10. Be unique and unpredictable.
Any change in the world must be brought about by the power of expression and writing is indeed the most powerful form of expression. It is original, thought provoking and when used effectively will be the change in itself. How do we do this? Here you will find some examples and how the art of writing is encouraged at an institutional level.

How to encourage the Art of Writing?
Beyond the simple need to write an essay or do home work, the school may want  to set up a Literary Club or a Literary Society. This will bring together young people with passion, with peers in action writing will definitely become very exciting. Have  a writers workshop at school, send out entries for essay and writing competitions at the inter-school or national level. Use the internet to set up blogs and have students participate in online events and literary chats. Simple still start publishing a School Weekly or share information in groups. Am happy to share The School Weekly of The Fabindia School, hosted on the blog www.bateduction.com as an example. It took the community near 100 weeks to finally start enjoying working for the weekly, today the students look forward to Mondays, the day of the The School Weekly.

In this media-barraged world, writing skills, turn of phrase and succinctly put together information are of great importance. At The Doon School the art of writing pays a catalytic part in learning. The Doon School Weekly (DSW), written and edited by the boys, has been in existence since 1936 and is much awaited at Saturday morning breakfast. Prayas and Arpan (Hindi) and The Echo (a biannual science publication) are written, edited and published by our boys too. The Yearbook, the School List, and The Doon School Information Review are other key publications.

From websites like Worddraw.com you can download Microsoft Word School Newsletter templates (please note Microsoft Word is registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation and worddraw.com is not associated with Microsoft). There are many tools and software  programs available for free, a simple school newsletter can be done by using any average word processing software today. GoogleDocs itself is a good tool for self publishing.

The New School in New York, is a vital force in creative writing—in New York City, the nation, and the world. This School's commitment to supporting all aspects of the writer’s life is unsurpassed. Coursework emphasises literature as a living art, rather than a historical artefact. The instructors resist critical narrowness and approach the creative process from the inside out, bringing form to inspiration. Students are guided through the writing process from first draft to publication.

Playing host to an extraordinary calendar of events—readings, panels, book releases, and awards—The Writing School in London, is an active participant in today's cultural dialogue. The school cultivates a writer's life that's always growing, that is active in the evolution of the literary experience. Here's How The Writing School Can Help You - The Writing School will teach you how to write creatively and how to market your work. You can succeed as a writer. The Writing School teaches you how to write using their unique time-tested approach. You'll develop the skills to earn money from your writing.

Music and films today are not distributed with the same method and medium as in the last century, today books too are changing form and all this is perhaps a pointer that writing as a form may not be so personal anymore, however the Art of Writing will always exist as this is the most powerful medium of communication for us.The medium of distribution may change, but the power of the written word in any form will never be diluted. 

Join us in promoting the free flow of ideas and thoughts between the school children and young people please.


TO ENCOURAGE THE ART OF WRITING AND SHARING GREAT IDEAS 

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All India Schools Newsletter
The Bagpiper
The Bagpiper (TBP) took birth to be a platform for young minds to express themselves creatively and spontaneously.  TBP today has protagonist in schools all over India. Our mentor AD as AN Dar is fondly addressed, may please be contacted by email: 
amarnath.dar35@gmail.com

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The author of the article Sandeep Dutt takes the onus of the content and the opinions expressed are his alone. You may please email the author on sd@ebd.in for comments if any. Sandeep is the former National Director of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award ( IAYP in India).

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References:
1. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skill
2. www.urbandictionary.com
3. Images Courtesy: www.urbandictionary.com (pen and sword)
4.  www.doonschool.com
5. Read more at http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/art-of-writing/#5aUVVraDivbrCtw2.99
6. Gaustave Flaubert quote image form sites.google.com via image search
7. School Newsletters - http://www.sdutt.com/p/to-encourage-art-of-writing-and-sharing.html
Disclaimer: Images have been sourced with the help of Google User Content online and this blog claims no design or copyright please.