Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Companies' Internalizing Education

Companies may need to start internalizing the education of their employees. How many companies hire college graduates who can neither write, create a coherent argument, nor be persuasive? More, these same employees are convinced they can do all three.

But internalizing employee education will accomplish nothing if teachers are hired who do not have the right understanding of the importance of grammar, logic, and persuasion. It is likely one can find many teachers who believe in persuasion, or rhetoric, but who do not understand the important of the former two, even as they are of central importance to being persuasive. And even those who believe in rhetoric do not believe all aspects of rhetoric are important. One can break rhetoric down into its own three elements: ethics, logic, and emotion. It is sad to say, but one would be hard-pressed to find a rhetoric teacher who believed ethics was at all important. I have already mentioned their rejection of logic. And that leaves us with nothing but emotion. Arguments are reduced to either "do as I say, or else" or emotional manipulations, which can range from overwhelming the person with sympathy or pity for one's situation to accusations of racism, sexism, or homophobia just for disagreeing.

Thus it is important to be sure the person you hire to teach your employees how to write have, unlike too many of their college professor colleagues, the right philosophy of writing. In other words, they must believe in the importance of grammar, ethics, logic, and emotion in appropriate measure. A poorly written paper is unpersuasive. An unethical person is unpersuasive. An illogical argument is unpersuasive. And a purely emotional argument is mere bullying, even as an argument lacking emotions will persuade few of a proposal's importance.

Such people can be found, but with the current dominating philosophy found in most college and university composition programs, such people are unlikely to to be found there. You are more likely to find them unemployed by a university, or working adjunct at a community college, desperately fighting for what they believe in against the administration. Or, you will find them among philosophy majors, who will, sadly, have at least as much grammar training as your typical composition teacher, and will have the benefit of knowing logic and ethics.

As the disconnect between schooling and learning becomes ever more evident, companies who need an educated workforce are going to find it necessary to internalize education, to ensure their employees know what they need to know. But doing so will be pointless if companies simply adopt from the failing departments their failing philosophies of education. If you are going to internalize education, you need to know what works, and adopt such programs. Since companies are not colleges, it is too easy to rely on their expertise, not realizing that their "expertise" is itself the problem. No, for an internalized educational system to work, one has to buck the system. One has to adopt what will work. To do that, one needs outside expertise to help set up the programs, to hire the right people, and get the programs going. That is something we can do at Camplin Creative Consulting.

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