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Miss Thang
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For the past two nights, I've been helping underprepared students get ready for the demands of university life. Part of that requires them to attend three classes for college credit: English, Math, and a University Orientation course. In the afternoons and evenings, they are required to attend tutorial sessions to get help with their homework. Some students need help with math; others need help with English.

The four students I was able to assist with English homework had writing anxiety. I did not realize how common this was until I began working with the students I taught last spring and the ones I'm working with now. In speaking with these students, I encourage them to freewrite and keep a journal, and not to get caught up in rules and "conventions". Instead, they are to write everything that comes to mind.

And that's the same advice I give to others who struggle with writing. Whether you are a native English speaker or a second-language learner, I encourage you to write non-stop for five minutes about anything that interests you. Do not wonder if you've spelled words correctly or applied the right punctuation marks. That comes later. The main focus should be on idea development.

I hope that what I've said gives someone some encouragement and helped him or her to realize that writing is not as painful as it sometimes looks.
 
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