Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 26 seconds

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 26 seconds

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 26 seconds

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 26 seconds

When I used to do drop-in academic support – students would often come to me asking me to proofread their work (which technically we do not do) – and I would say that my task was to help them to see whether or not the writing had tackled the question – whether the structure was as good as it could be … and that i would probably point out a few technical errors on the way because I’m a bit OCD that way and I used to be a magazine editor…I would stress that the best way to make the most of me was to say what they wanted me to focus on;; to know and say where i could be the most useful to them…

When I talk to academic staff about student writing, they nearly all tend to focus on spelling, punctuation, grammar – this is what they tend to identify as the student writing issue; my work with students indicated that the problem for them in re academic writing was nothing of the sort – it was fear of failure – fear of getting it wrong – fear of being made to feel a fool…

The trick is in bringing these perspectives together in a helpful and productive way… for staff I recommend ending seminars with a ten minute writing activity – that they review or where they encourage peer review. In this way students get to develop a writing habit – start to lose their fear of writing and lo they actually do get better at writing; for students I recommend blogging their learning – and experimenting with free writing to get started.