In today’s digital world, written communication is more common, more transparent, and more permanent than every before. It’s critical that every student is able to express themselves clearly in writing, yet sadly, many cannot.
This is reflected in the statistics. The National Association of Educational Progress estimates that only 27% of 8th and 12th grade students can write at a proficient level. Among high school students who took the ACT in 2016, roughly 40% could not write at a college level.
One reason why students struggle with writing is that it can often be challenging to foster a love of writing or deeply engage students in the writing and revision process. Why?
Students do not see the point or the relevance of the topic they are writing about.
Students feel pressure to write perfectly from the start of their writing process, which slows them down.
Feedback is important for student learning, and when students receive bad feedback, slow feedback, or no feedback at all, this is deeply demotivating.
How to Help Students Overcome the Intimidation of Writing
Solving this issue can be challenging. That said, there are several strategies that teachers of all content areas can leverage to reduce a student’s dislike of writing.
PRIMING STUDENTS FOR WRITING
It is common for teachers to point out specific concepts or subjects in a given class and state, “This might be on a test someday. Hint, hint!” You’ll see your students’ ears perk up. The same practice could also be used for essays.
For example, let’s say you plan to assign an essay on a book being read in your English class. As your students are working through the novel, you can point out topics and events in the book that could be discussed in a future essay during class readings and discussions.
This can help eliminate student anxiety during the Monday surprise when the essay is assigned, and students can start their essays with a handful of ideas.
Always Have a Topic in Mind
For many students, receiving a writing assignment where they can write about any topic of their choice can be a generally positive experience. Many students view this as an opportunity to write about something in their lives, or the chance to get creative and make up a story.
However, not all students react favorably to choosing their own topic. Some students immediately go into a panic attack of indecision. Others immediately develop writer’s block.
By having a backup plan for those students, teachers can help reduce the anxiety that comes with these types of writing assignments. Some examples of topics that teachers can suggest include:
Subjects that have been discussed in class
Events that have happened at the school
Important news stories, social trends or current events
Make Writing Fun
No matter what, some students will think of writing the same way they think of root canals. But if teachers can have writing clubs and fun names for daily writing time, and provide more in depth feedback on writing, students will have an easier time replacing dread with acceptance.
Engagement and feedback are how people improve at nearly everything. Students, whether they are first graders or doctoral students, need to be able to understand not only what they did wrong and how to fix it, but what they did right and how to leverage their writing strengths. Outsourcing grading for writing assignments can be highly beneficial in such instances.
Helping Students Accept Writing Assignments
Every teacher can agree that strong writing skills are crucial to a student’s long term success, both academically and professionally. There are several tactics teachers and students can employ to make writing more acceptable and fun.
Get in touch with The Graide Network to discover how we can help enhance your student’s writing skills.