The act of writing can prove very powerful, as demonstrated by numerous studies which show it can increase productivity, help manage stress, and even reduce depression. It also orders thoughts and emotions, and allows people to locate and resolve problems and negative feelings. What's more, it can free the mind to brainstorm solutions, especially when the goals are pursued. Unfortunately, very few people undertake this practice. For example, it's estimated that less than two percent of people write down goals.
A study recently conducted on university students demonstrates the benefits of writing, though, with clear positives for students who tend to be academically at risk for failure. Some students may be underprepared for university or lack role models, to cite two possible reasons such students drop out. The university decided on proactive intervention and, upon entering the school, students reflected on important events from their past, identified key personal motivators, and created plans for the future. Goals were specific, and strategies to overcome obstacles were included too. These students were then tracked and compared to their peers throughout their university experience.
As a result of the writing exercises, the dropout rate decreased and academic achievement increased. What's more, two years after the exercise, any ethnic- and gender-group differences in performance had all but been negated.
The study believes that expressive writing combined with setting goals can mitigate any damaging beliefs students might have about their own academic performance, even when the threat comes from negatively stereotyped opinions which the students might personally hold.
The act of writing truly is more powerful than people think.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- I am a person who has a lot of goals.
- I almost always achieve the goals that I set for myself.
- Writing down my problems helps me succeed.
- Writing down my negative emotions helps me feel better.
- University isn't (or wasn't) a challenging environment for me.
Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.
- What's more, it can free the mind to brainstorm solutions, especially...
- A study recently conducted on university students demonstrates the benefits of writing, though...
- These students were then tracked and compared...
- As a result of the writing exercises, the dropout rate...
- The act of writing truly...
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- How often do you set goals for yourself? Do you regularly reach your goals? Please explain.
- Do you think writing exercises prove beneficial? Why/not?
- After reading the article, would you apply any of the ideas to your studies and/or life? Why/not?
- What are some reasons that students fail in their studies? Why do you think so?
- What advice would you give students entering university? Please explain.
Google Search: Type "recess" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.