Intimidating confidence

First, a heavily “marked up” paper can overwhelm a student who lacks confidence about writing.Second, students can come to believe that revision is simply a matter of incorporating the instructor’s edits, rather than thinking about the paper’s strengths and weaknesses and making their own editorial decisions.Informal writing assignments can reduce the tension students associate with writing, help them get their ideas down on paper clearly, increase their confidence, and eventually pave the way for more formal writing assignments.It may even convince reluctant writers that they like writing after all.Emphasize to students that low-stakes assignments provide them with the practice and feedback they will need to perform well on higher-stakes assignments.

Structure into your course short assignments that are un-graded (but required) or assignments that have a pass/fail grade or a low overall point value.The confident person gets passed up just like the ones who aren't confident enough. Students who have not taken writing-intensive courses in high school or college may find writing assignments unfamiliar and intimidating.Students sometimes feel overwhelmed by instructor feedback and don’t know where to begin to improve their performance.Consider providing targeted but not extensive feedback.

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