Anxiety and Academic Writing
It is great that student wellbeing is becoming more of a priority in the UK HE sector. But I feel one issue that is not getting enough attention is writing anxiety. According to Dr Margarita Huerta in Higher Education Research and Development, writing anxiety is the cause of 50% of American and Canadian students dropping out of their doctoral programmes. From my past experience as a Doctoral student writing anxiety was a significant issue and it is not just students who experience this problem but also academic staff who are under pressure to publish.
In the past year I have provided academic writing workshops at different universities and DTP Partnerships in the UK (to PGR students and Academic staff) and from the feedback I have received many PGR students and Academics ( from all disciplines) have cited writing apprehension as one of their main sources of anxiety. I have developed a new 7-step approach to academic writing which removes the areas that can trigger writing apprehension and it is having a significant impact. Since I started my company, Scriptor Cube Ltd (www.scriptorcube.com), our 'Academic Writing: Reduce Anxiety' workshop has grown in popularity. In 2018/19 I ran this programme at 13 universities, 3 DTP Partnerships and 2 CDT Partnerships.
I collect data from every workshop. On average workshop feedback, for PGRs, registered an average 25%+ increase in confidence in academic writing. Our ‘Academic Writing: Reduce Anxiety’ workshop for Academics received a feedback average of 27% + increase in confidence in writing journal articles. In every workshop I focus on the group and also spend time with individuals helping them fine tune their discursive analysis. The 1-1 dimension is a very important part of my workshop as participants feel supported and heard. I am already receiving a lot of bookings for the next semester and am looking forward to supporting Students and Academics with their writing projects over the coming year.
Here is an article i wrote in 2018 for University World News regarding our impact: https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20180711113924221