Rebecca Livengood Hettich

Writing apprehension: A critique of terminology

Rebecca Livengood Hettich

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1994; pp: 108
  • Advisor: Lauer, Janice M.
  • Source: DAI-A 56/02, p. 494, Aug 1995
  • Subjects: Education, Educational Psychology (0525); Language, General (0679)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN:
  • UMI Number: AAT 9523364

Abstract:

    • Writing apprehension is a problem because it has consequences for students’ learning experience, and for the decisions they make about engaging in productive, fulfilling writing projects. It is also a problem for teachers and writing center specialists who recognize apprehension in the behaviors of students, but have no practical and reliable means of intervention.
    • This lack of specific guidelines for treatment is tied to two related research issues: one, a lack of a clear and consistent vocabulary across research studies with which to describe writing apprehensive phenomena; and two, a lack of consensus on how writing apprehensive behaviors, along with other kinds of affective writing experience, are represented and prioritized.
    • Inconsistencies in terminology are revealed in an examination of three contexts of discussion within the composition field: (1) how and whether the writer is controlled by cognitive perceptions or affective states; (2) whether the writer’s apprehension and behaviors during composing or within a learning environment are determined by social conditions and discourse conventions; and (3) how various assumptions about agency, volitional attitude, and individual difference contribute to, or help to resolve, terminological inconsistencies.
    • The examination of these three discussions within this study indicates three interrelated concepts that have bearing on the understanding and treatment of writing apprehension: agency, individuality, and attitude. These three notions are especially relevant to how researchers account for individual students’ expressions of apprehension and the observed behaviors of avoidance of writing situations.