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Title: Helping Students Improve Their Writing
Contributor(s): Malouff, John M  (author); Rooke, Sally E  (author); Schutte, Nicola  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2008
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Abstract: When a student paper states that performance anxiety can lead to sexual impudence, we might laugh. When a dissertation uses the expression 'It is argued' more times than we can count, we might cry. High-quality written communication is important at all levels of psychology education and in most fields of employment related to psychology. Accordingly, the APA's Task Force on Undergraduate Major Competencies (2002) named effective writing skills one of the top goals for undergraduate psychology education. Despite the importance of written communication, the quality of student writing in psychology courses, even at the graduate level, is often so low as to make academics despair. Although writing skills are not usually the focus of psychology courses, we believe that instructor efforts to improve student writing can be beneficial regardless of the course topic. We provide below a list of strategies we use to help our psychology students improve their writing skills. The strategies are based on psycho-educational principles such as instruction, prompting, modeling, and reinforcement. In addition to actually improving writing skills, these strategies aim to increase motivation for writing improvement. We see enhancing motivation as the key to helping students because students themselves can find ways to improve their writing if they try. Also, with high intrinsic motivation, students will continue to strive to improve their writing after they finish any particular course. We also help students learn specific writing rules. We believe that helping a student learn just one writing rule (e.g., noun-pronoun agreement in number) can lead to a lifetime of improved writing.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Association for Psychological Science Observer, 21(8), p. 36-38
Publisher: APS: Association for Psychological Science
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1050-4672
Field of Research (FOR): 130205 Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl Economics, Business and Management)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 930201 Pedagogy
HERDC Category Description: C3 Non-Refereed Article in a Professional Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Psychology

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