Citation
Writing apprehension and women's identity

Material Information

Title:
Writing apprehension and women's identity causes and correlations
Creator:
Gallaudet, Susan E
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
vi, 105 leaves : forms ; 29 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of English, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
English
Committee Chair:
Hamp-Lyons, Liz
Committee Members:
Addison, Joanne
VanDeWeghe, Richard

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
English language -- Rhetoric ( lcsh )
English language -- Study and teaching ( lcsh )
Identity (Psychology) in literature ( lcsh )
English language -- Psychological aspects ( lcsh )
Women -- Psychology ( lcsh )
Writing -- Psychological aspects ( lcsh )
English language -- Psychological aspects ( fast )
English language -- Rhetoric ( fast )
English language -- Study and teaching ( fast )
Identity (Psychology) in literature ( fast )
Women -- Psychology ( fast )
Writing -- Psychological aspects ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 101-105).
Thesis:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, English
General Note:
Department of English
Statement of Responsibility:
by Susan E. Gallaudet.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
36949148 ( OCLC )
ocm36949148
Classification:
LD1190.L54 1996m .G35 ( lcc )

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Full Text
WRITING APPREHENSION AND WOMEN'S
IDENTITY:
CAUSES AND CORRELATIONS
ty
Susan E. GaUaudet
B.S., University of Colorado at Boulder, 1990
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
English
1996


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Susan E. Gallaudet
has been approved
by


Gallaudet, Susan E. (M.A., English)
Writing Apprehension and Women's Identity: Causes and
Correlations
Thesis directed by Professor Liz Hamp-Lyons
ABSTRACT
The primary purpose of this thesis is to develop a full
understanding of writing apprehension as a construct and as it
particularly pertains to female writing students. Special interest
is given to the ways in which women's identity formation affects
and influences writing apprehension among some women
students. The possible significance of this relationship is
considered. This work includes an overview of existing research
on writing apprehension and on women's identity formation. A
student survey has also been conducted; its results are discussed
in-depth. Conclusions illustrate the complexities of the
relationship between women's identity and writing
apprehension. Suggestions for further research and teaching
implications are included.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's
thesis. I recommend its publication.
Signed_
az HairiptCyons


CONTENTS
PAGE
TABLES
4.1 Survey Results.............................49
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION...............................1
Background...........................3
Reflection...........................4
Purpose..............................8
2. RESEARCH REVIEW
Writing Apprehension.............. 10
Research on Writing Apprehension....12
Causes of Writing Apprehension......14
Self-Confidence................14
Perceived Skill................17
Attitudes and Beliefs..........21
Value of the Writing Task......23
Summary.............................24
3. WRITING APPREHENSION & WOMEN'S IDENTITY
Identity Formation........................26
Women's Identity..........................28
The Role of the Writer..............31
Relationship to Writing Apprehension......33
IV


Summary...................................35
4. STUDENT SURVEY; RESULTS & DISCUSSION
Educational Context................... 37
Survey Instrment......................... 39
Instrument Design................. 41
Discussion of Results.................... 47
Self-Confidence.....................50
Perceived Skill................... 51
Message Value...................... 53
Writing Apprehension............ 55
Attitudes About Writing........... 57
Survey Conclusions...........i...........58
Student Interview, Writing Sample and
Discussion............................... 59
5. CONCLUSIONS
Implications............................. 70
Workshops...........................72
Student and Teacher Comments....... 74
Pedagogy and Research.............. 79
Conclusions........................ 82
APPENDIX
A. SELF-REFLECTIVE ESSAY INSTRUCTIONS..........84
B. SURVEY INSTRUMENT...........................85
C. WRITING SAMPLE............................. 88
v


D. LINH GIANG TRANSCRIPT..............90
WORKS CONSULTED............................101
vi


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
As a graduate student, I have been teaching composition for five
semesters and have seen plenty of apprehensive writers. Since I have
experienced writing apprehension myself each time I was faced with a
writing task, it was easy to observe apprehension among my students.
Like me, many of my students were resistant to having their work read
by others and fearful of comments that might be made about their
writing by a teacher or by their peers. I listened to some of my
students' voices quiver while they read, much as I had listened to my
own voice shake many times before. I watched anxious faces look at
me when I joined their workshop groups and when I passed back
graded essays. Those faces could certainly have been my own.
In many of the classes that I have taken, because I often speak
out loud and share my ideas with others, people think I am a confident
person. That really isn't the case though. I have always worried that
what I say, and particularly what I write, will sound stupid. On many
occasions I have thought I wasn't smart enough to be in graduate
1


school; certainly, I thought, I was not as smart as the other students in
my class. When it came to writing, I felt the same way. Even though I
liked to write and had a pretty good attitude towards it, I always
thought that my papers would be the worst ones in the class. I just
didn't seem to have enough confidence in myself or in my writing to
allay my fears. I dreaded the days when, as students, we would
workshop each others essays. I wanted suggestions and believed that I
needed them. I knew that workshops could provide me with valuable
input, but I still felt very apprehensive about participating in them.
In many ways, I had simply come to accept writing
apprehension as a natural occurrence for me and for some of the
students in my classes. I never really understood the source of my
writing apprehension, or even tried to. However, recently, I have
become much more aware of the role that writing apprehension can
play in a composition classroom and among student writers.
My heightened awareness of this anxiety and its effects occurred
when I enrolled in a graduate-level writing class. In that class, I
experienced a level of writing apprehension that was completely new
to me. No longer was I just a graduate student who had to write one or
two papers a semester, I was a writing student. I would have to think
about writing, talk about writing, and share my own writing on a
frequent and regular basis. In other words, I would be doing all of the
things that I asked the students in my classes to do.
2


This would prove to be an enlightening experience for me. The
discomfort and apprehensiveness I felt as a writing student forced me
to reconsider the significance of writing apprehension among student
writers and made me want to understand this phenomenon, for my
own sake as well as that of my students.
Background
My interest in the topic of writing apprehension started last
summer. I had enrolled in a writing workshop class created especially
for teachers. I was excited about the class because I hadn't been a
student in a writing-centered class in a long time. I was also excited
about occupying the role of a student writer and hoped I would be able
to better understand my own students because of it.
The class was designed in such a way that each student could
determine the type of writing she or he wanted to do. I remember
thinking that that would make things pretty easy. I liked to write
poetry and did it frequently on my own. Since I had never really
shared much of my work, I figured this would be a chance to
experiment and to get some feedback from other writers. I assumed
that since, despite my apprehensiveness, I had survived writing at a
graduate level for over two years, and that I was teaching a
3


composition class, that I was a decent writer and that this would be no
worse than any other writing project I had tried. I was in for a shock.
Suddenly, I was a writing student again. A writing student who
was trying out a new kind of writing. I was in the same position my
students were in when they entered their first college composition class
and were expected to try their hand at college level writing. It didn't
matter that I believed that I had good writing skills. Those skills might
have helped me write important-sounding academic essays, but they
were not helping me write poetry. I was more apprehensive than I had
been in years. Every time I sat down to write, I worried about when I
would have to share my writing with my workshop group, or, worse
than that, the whole class. I crumpled up sheet after sheet of paper
with astounding speed. I imagined all those faces crinkling up in
disgust when I read my dumb little poems (which, I was convinced,
was precisely what they would be). I didn't even know those people,
how could I be expected to share my writing, my self, with them? Why
did I feel this way?
It was when I realized that I really didn't have an answer to that
question, that I didn't understand the source of my own writing
apprehension, that I decided to pursue this topic in greater depth. I
wanted to know not only why I had felt this way, but what might cause
similar feelings of apprehension and anxiety among my own students.
4


Reflection
After a good deal of thinking and writing about that experience, I
had some ideas about the causes of my own writing apprehension. The
first thing that I realized was that even though I had been
apprehensive, I had developed some confidence in other kinds of
writing. I could not seem to feel this way about poetry. I had never
had any instruction on writing poetry and, though I enjoyed doing it
for myself, I felt I lacked any real skill that poetry might require. This
lack of confidence made the prospect of sharing my work even more
terrifying. I was afraid that the poems I wrote would be inadequate,
that they wouldn't be as good as the poetry that other members of the
class had read somewhere else; that made me very apprehensive.
I also felt very vulnerable in that class because I was trying on a
new identitypoetand having a hard time with it. Though I would
normally consider myself a woman with high self-esteem and high
confidence in myself, I felt insecure as a writer. This was the first time
other people knew of my desire to write poetry and the first time
anyone had invited me to redefine my writing identity to include that
of a poet. Though my teacher and my friends encouraged me and
called me a poet, it was very hard for me to see myself as such. It was
my own discomfort with trying out this new role and realizing the
apprehension that it caused me that made me think that this was more
5


than just writing apprehension, that something about my own self-
perception was somehow involved.
In hindsight, there are two reasons that have allowed me to
consider that class an overall positive experience. The first reason is
that writing poetry was important to me; it had value. Somewhere
deep inside I had a genuine desire to write poetry; I was able to foster an
attitude positive enough to help me overcome some of my anxiety.
Without that sense of purpose I don't think I could have overcome my
apprehension and actually written and shared poetryand felt good
about it. The second reason I consider that class a valuable experience
is that I began to understand the real value of workshops. I came to see
them not only as a place to get writing help, but also as a place for
valuable emotional support and encouragement, things I began to
believe were central to overcoming writing apprehension.
As I continued to reflect on that experience and to try to make
sense of it, I began to think about the students in my classes and what I
knew about them and their feelings about writing. I knew that my
students frequently experienced the same apprehension about writing
that I had. And, while I couldn't be sure, I hoped that the new
perspective I had developed on writing apprehension would allow me
to view their experiences in a more insightful manner. I recalled how
often my students said they hated reading their stuff out loud and how
they would avoid that whenever possible. I remembered that even as
6


semesters progressed and people began to get more comfortable with
each other, many students, especially many female students, remained
apprehensive about their writing and about sharing it with others.
I entered the fall semester with hopes of gaining a better
understanding of what caused writing apprehension among women
and how that was a unique situation, different than what male
students experienced. I noticed by the way they looked at the floor and
grumbled when I asked for volunteers, that all of my students, both
male and female, were nervous about having to read out loud.
However, I began to notice a difference between the apprehension and
anxiety of male and female students. I began to notice that the women
students in my class seemed concerned that nobody would think what
they wrote was worth anything. I frequently heard the females
discredit their work before they even read it. As I listened to my female
students say, "I know this sounds stupid," or "This probably isn't
right," I started to wonder if the difference was in the way female
students perceived the value of their writing. I had seen this pattern
from other female students I had taught, and had definitely felt that
way myself when writing poetry. It seemed logical that the cause of
women's writing apprehension had something to do with the writer's
sense of self, with their identity.
I remember wondering why, when I tended to think the women
students would be the better writers, was it the guys in the class who
were least resistant to sharing their work? And why did my female
7


students who were good writers and got good grades so often devalue
their work before even reading it by saying something like, "I don't
really like it" or "This isn't very good"? My male students did not
behave this way; in fact, although eager volunteers to read their work
they were not, they rarely said anything that indicated concern about
what they were reading or about what anyone would think of it. For
women, it seemed that acquired skill was not the cause of their, or my
own, writing apprehension, but that writing apprehension among
women had deeper and more complex origins than that. Because the
behavior of my women students so closely echoed my own behavior
and differed from the behavior of my male students, possible
differences between genders seemed worth exploring.
Purpose
I was coming to believe that women's identity was in fact a
central issue to understanding women's writing apprehension. My
female students, like me, seemed to lack confidence in themselves and
in their writing. Many of the women students in my classes didn't
think people would be interested in what they wrote and were
reluctant to expose themselves in writing. This, more than any lack of
skill, seemed to cause them to be apprehensive about their writing.
Because their own individual self-esteem and sense of self seemed to
8


be underlying each of these anxieties, I knew that women's identity was
somehow related to women's writing apprehension; that somehow,
how women have developed and the sense of self that they bring to
each writing experience affects their writing apprehension.
My primary goal, then, is to explore the possible relationship
between women's identity and the causes of writing apprehension. My
initial focus is on developing an understanding of the causes of writing
apprehension (Chapter Two) and an understanding of women's
identity formation (Chapter Three). This will build a foundation for
considering this relationship as it might pertain to women in general.
From that general perspective, my focus will narrow. In Chapter Four,
I will discuss these issues in light of results of the empirical research
which I conducted in freshman composition classes at an urban
campus. In the final chapter, I will broaden my focus slightly and
present conclusions and possible implications of this work.
9


CHAPTER 2
RESEARCH REVIEW
The fact that some people are nervous or apprehensive when
faced with a writing task is well known. Writing teachers and writing
students have probably been cognizant of that for quite some time.
However, according to Daly and Wilson, "only recently have
systematic investigations probed the nature, correlates, and
consequences of this tendency" (327). Much of the research on writing
apprehension gained momentum in 1975 when John Daly initiated the
first empirical study designed to assess writing apprehension among
college students. Partly the result of Daly's initial work, writing
apprehension is now generally accepted as a construct that exists and
one that affects writers in a variety of ways (Empirical Development
255-256).
Writing Apprehension
Anxiety about writing, writing apprehension, "is generally
understood to mean negative, anxious feelings (about oneself as a
10


writer, one's writing situation, or one's writing task) that disrupt some
part of the writing process" (McLeod 427). Apprehension is the feeling
of anxiety that overcomes many people when they are instructed to
compose; even those who say they love to write are likely to have
some anxiety about it (McLeod 427). The term "writing apprehension,"
coined by Daly, is defined by him as "the individual difference
characterized by a general avoidance of writing and situations
perceived by the individual to require some amount of writing with -
the potential for evaluation of that writing" (Writing Apprehension in
the Classroom 37). Daly and Miller note that apprehension is a
"pervasive anxiety trait that seriously affects a large proportion of the
population" (243). Apprehension includes issues of fear, anxiety and
enjoyment towards writing. And, because responses to survey
questions about fear of writing, anxiety towards writing, and
enjoyment of writing yielded identical responses (Daly, Writing
Apprehension 69) the term apprehension can be used as an all
inclusive one.
While even the best writers are likely to experience some degree
of writing apprehension, their apprehension might be relatively low.
In contrast, according to Daly and Shamo's 1976 research, highly
apprehensive writers are likely to avoid writing situations whenever
possible, and perhaps even make career choices which require little
writing (56). Likewise, individuals who experience high levels of
writing apprehension also "tend to be lower in their self-concept than


others" (Daly and Miller 243). Low-apprehensives on the other hand
are not likely to avoid writing; they may actually enjoy writing while
still having some apprehension about it. Low-apprehensives might
experience apprehension in some areas but not in others, while high-
apprehensives are likely to become anxious about any writing
situation. Overall, Daly's research concludes that apprehension seems
to generally increase for all writers when the likelihood for evaluation
is high (see Daly, 1975,1979,1981 & 1985).
While most writing apprehension research to date has focused
on recognizing apprehension, assessing apprehension and developing
ways to reduce apprehension, some important work has also been done
on understanding the origins of the construct and exploring
relationships between these causes and the writer's individual
personality.
Research on Writing Apprehension
Much of the existing research on writing apprehension has
focused on quantitative, concrete, and measurable factors. A
considerably smaller amount of research has focused on the feelings
and emotions associated with writing apprehension and their
relationship to the individual writer. And, while one or two studies
have begun to consider gender's relationship to writing apprehension,
12


no research that I am aware of has fully explored gender differences
between apprehensive writers. In John Daly's contribution to Mike
Rose's Book, When A Writer Can't Write, he notes that there has been
"surprisingly little research" on developing an understanding of how
and why apprehension develops and encourages work on the causes of
writing apprehension to continue (61). Although existing research on
causes of writing apprehension can easily be divided into two
categories, cognitive or emotional, these two categories interact in a
holistic manner (McLeod 430). This interaction between cognitive and
emotional factors is also reflected in much of Daly's writing
apprehension research; however, both McLeod and Daly clearly
recognize the strength of the writer's affective domain and its ability to
influence the writer's feelings about writing.
Generally speaking, writing apprehension research that has
focused on issues related to the writer's affective domain has identified
several significant causes of writing apprehension. One underlying
cause is the writer's fear of evaluation. Another common cause of
writing apprehension is lack of confidence, both in one's self as a writer
and in one's perceived skill. Other issues that influence a writer's
feelings about writing are his or her past experiences, beliefs and
attitudes about writing, and the perceived value of the writing task.
While it is difficult to say exactly how or why these issues vary among
individuals, it is my belief that the identity of the writer, as will be
13


defined and discussed in Chapter Three, informs these feelings about
writing and in turn affects their level of writing apprehension.
Causes of Writing Apprehension
In the following sections I will provide an overview of existing
research on the specific causes of general writing apprehension among
both male and female writers. Presently, I am unaware of any writing
apprehension research that has focused specifically on women but, as
will be discussed in the next chapter, I believe that many of the causes
of writing apprehension among women are closely related to the
identity of the writer.
Self-Confidence
Nearly all of the authors included in Rose's book agree that the
affective domain is as important to understanding writing
apprehension as the cognitive issues and that understanding the role
of a writer's emotions is tantamount to understanding her writing
apprehension. One factor that greatly influences the writer's feelings is
her general level of self-confidence or self-esteem. Self-esteem,
according to Wigfield and Karpathian, is how an individual feels about
specific attributes (235).
14


As Daly stated in his definition of writing apprehension, fear of
evaluation is common among apprehensive writers. Fear of
evaluation seems to suggest a lack of confidence in the writing
produced. This insecurity further suggests that more confidence and
higher self-esteem would reduce fear of evaluation, and subsequently,
writing apprehension. This connection between self-confidence and
writing apprehension is also supported by Daly and Wilson's 1983
article, "Writing Apprehension, Self-Esteem and Personality." Here,
the authors conclude that the way a person feels about herself is related
to the way she writes (333). Daly and Wilson agree that if the writer has
high self-esteem she is likely to feel good about her writing and
probably be less apprehensive about her writing than someone with
low self-esteem. They note that, "teachers indicate, for instance, that
students who are apprehensive about writing also tend to feel
comparatively less positive about themselves than others" (329). Daly
and Wilson's research lends further credence to the important
relationship between self-concept and writing apprehension: "There is
a statistically meaningful and inverse association between writing
apprehension and the way people feel about themselves" (333).
In chapter Three of When A Writer Can't Write, Daly again
notes the connection between self-esteem and writing apprehension.
He reports that in his 1983 study he did find a correlation between
general self-esteem and writing apprehension, and a particularly strong
correlation among writing-specific self-esteem and apprehension (49).
15


Frank Pajares and Margaret Johnson also further acknowledge the
importance of the relationship between self-esteem and writing
apprehension in their 1994 article "Confidence & Competence in
Writing." Here, the authors point out that there is a connection
between self-esteem and writing apprehension. This study found that
a student with high self-esteem is likely to be less apprehensive about
writing than a student with low self-esteem (322). The study also
reveals that a student with high self-confidence is likely to expect
success, while the student with low self-confidence expects failure. The
expected failure of a highly apprehensive writer may actually become
self-fulfilling for the student and result in the failure they originally
feared (Pajares and Johnson 313). Though the precise relationship
between a writer's self-confidence and her writing apprehension is not
clear, the Pajares and Johnson study offers strong support that a
relationship does exist. Several other studies support their primary
contention that self-confidence and writing apprehension are related
(Daly; McCarthy; Selfe), thereby suggesting that the writer's identity is
always relevant.
In terms of its relationship to identity, I believe that self-esteem
and confidence are particularly important in the case of women
writers. According to Belenky et al., women in general are strongly
influenced and shaped through their connections with others;
therefore, it is important for teachers to help maintain and increase
self-esteem among female writers in order to reduce writing
16


apprehension. The need for a focus on developing women's self-
esteem in particular is supported by Wigfield and Karpathian's study
of adolescents. The study found that boys consistently ranked
themselves higher on self-esteem than did girls (245). Similar results
will be discussed in-depth in Chapter Four.
The belief that self-esteem is an important factor to consider
when studying apprehension is, in many ways, an underlying issue in
most studies of the affective domain and writing apprehension
(McLeod 432; Daly 44-48; Daly and Wilson 327; Schunk 212; Pajares and
Johnson 318). Whether the researchers are focusing on the writer's
skills, her previous experiences or her general attitude, how she feels
about herself is always involved. Studies that stress the significance of
the relationship between the affective domain and writing
apprehension (McLeod; Selfe; Daly) recognize that the writer's identity
is always relevant.
Perceived Skill
While it may have once been believed that simply practicing
writing and acquiring good skills would eliminate writing
apprehension, the solution to reducing writing apprehension is no
longer considered in such simplistic terms: Daly himself notes, "The
procedure commonly used of forcing students to write is very likely the
17


wrong choice of treatments" (Empirical Development 248). In fact,
writing apprehension cannot be avoided simply by having a wealth of
writing skill and knowledge. There is much more to it than that.
While the degree to which writing apprehension may incapacitate a
writer might be related to the writer's actual skill level, the fact that
both experienced and inexperienced writers suffer from writing
apprehension indicates it is not solely dependent on the skills a writer
possesses or believes she possesses (Smith 3).
In addition to the writer's general self-esteem, the student's
perception of her ability is also an important affective issue to consider
when trying to understand writing apprehension. In When A Writer
Can't Write, Daly states his firm belief in the importance of perceived
skill and its connection to the personality traits of the writer:
Too often we think of cognition as separate from emotion, as
if cognitive processes could be understood independently of
affective ones, and vice versa. But this is clearly not the case.
What people think is affected by what they feel, and what they
feel is affected by what they think. (33)
Daly's belief that apprehension finds roots in the individual's self-
perception and emotional disposition towards the writing task is not
an uncommon one. What Daly suggests is that a writer cannot feel
good about their writing, cannot avoid apprehension, if they do not
think they are good at it. In Dale Schunk's article, "Self-Efficacy and
Academic Motivation," the author suggests that if a student believes he
or she has the skills necessary to accomplish a task, his or her chances
18


and rate of success are higher than a student who believes she or he
lacks the necessary skills (220). This type of skill-dependent motivation
is called self-efficacy. According to Schunk, self-efficacy means that our
success at a given task is predicated by our belief in our ability to
succeed at that task. An increased number of experiences where a belief
in success is followed by an actual success will result in increased self-
efficacy, which will in turn increase the likelihood for future successes.
This pattern of predicted success is, by increasing self-confidence, likely
to minimize a writer's apprehension.
The central tenet to Schunk's research on self-efficacy suggests
that what a writer believes herself or himself to be capable of is of more
importance to that writer's confidence and subsequent ability to reduce
apprehension than the actual skills she or he possesses. This does not
imply that skills are not important, simply that the mental disposition
of the writer plays a larger role in determining and controlling writing
apprehension than do the actual skills possessed. Schunk's beliefs
indicate that the writer's self-confidence would directly affect his or her
attitude about writing and that the resulting disposition will affect the
writer's level of apprehension: "Self-concept is a global construct
comprising self-efficacy and other aspects of the self. Of self-concept's
various dimensions, self-confidence seems most akin to self-efficacy"
(212). His research suggests that increased levels of apprehension will
negatively affect the writing effort and possibly the final product.
19


McCarthy, Meier, and Rinderer use the basic concept of self-
efficacy to explore how it specifically pertains to writing apprehension.
These authors note that one primary causal factor for a writer's self-
efficacy is her or his previous experiences with success and feedback on
her writing. The student whose past writing experiences are perceived
as successes is able to maintain high self-efficacy and lower
apprehension, while the student who perceives her writing
experiences to be failures will experience lower self-efficacy.
It is important to note that both Schunk and McCarthy et al.'s
primary concern is with the writer's perceived skill as opposed to actual
skill. Other research (Daly; McLeod; Kellogg) also supports the idea that
belief and attitude towards writing is as significant, if not more
significant, than the actual learned skills that a writer possesses. Both
studies, Schunk and McCarthy et al., draw our attention to the
importance of past experiences and their likely impact on a writer's
self-perception. Other studies (Smith; Rose; Selfe; Bloom; Daly;
Hollandsworth) also support the idea that a student's writing history
determines self-efficacy and is directly related to the writer's level of
writing apprehension. For example, in her chapter in Rose's book,
Bloom specifically deals with women's self-efficacy and perceptions of
themselves as they affect their writing. Bloom presents two case
studies on women graduate students and their struggle to complete
their theses. In both cases, it is the woman's perception of her writing
ability and her perception of herself as a writer that enables or prohibits
20


completion of the project. Bloom discusses the many influences on the
women's perception of their skill and urges the roots of self-perception
and its effect on writing apprehension to always be taken into account
when researching or studying the apprehensive writer (131-132).
Attitudes and Beliefs
The writer's general attitude and her beliefs, a part of the writer's
identity, are also connected to writing apprehension. The attitude of
the apprehensive writer has been given a lot of attention (McLeod;
Daly; Pajares). According to Daly, a significant correlation between
attitude and writing apprehension does exist (48). Daly believes that
having a bad attitude towards writing will negatively predispose him
or her to the task, thereby adding to existing apprehension. In When A
Writer Can't Write, Daly's report of his numerous surveys and studies
reveals The more positive the students' attitude about writing, the
more they reported satisfaction, perceived improvement, and interest"
(51).
A writer's attitude or disposition towards the task at hand is
shaped in several ways. As already discussed, the writer's general self-
concept or confidence contributes significantly to her attitude. Past
experience with positive or negative feedback also affects the writer's
21


attitude towards writing. Attitudes are based on beliefs, expectations,
and feelings based on past experiences (Cothem and Collins 88).
Both Daly and McLeod believe the writer's attitude and
predisposition are important affective issues for the apprehensive
writer. Daly reports an inverse correlation between the writer's
apprehension level and his or her disposition or attitude. Obviously, if
a student is apprehensive about writing she will not have a good
attitude, so until the writer's attitude changes, the negative
predisposition will continue to problematize her own anxieties.
Though efforts to foster a positive attitude will not automatically
reduce writing apprehension, these efforts are an important step in the
process (Daly, Writing Apprehension 70-74).
As mentioned above, attitudes are closely tied to and
interdependent on the writer's beliefs. In McLeod's article, "Some
Thoughts About Feelings: The Affective Domain and the Writing
Process," the author points out that every student who enters the
classroom already has an established set of beliefs that affects her view
of herself as a writer: "Our students come to us with a great many
beliefs about writing which diminish their perception of their own
skills as writer" (429). Cultural beliefs like: "good writers do not
struggle but wait until inspiration visits; writing skills equal editing
skills; and, the study of grammar will make you a better writer" (429)
can certainly foster writing apprehension in any writer who believes
that he or she lacks any of these traits. McLeod's point about students'
22


beliefs is highly relevant to the possible relationship between identity
and writing apprehension because an individual's belief system is a big
part of who they are both as individuals and as writers.
Teacher Expectations. Teacher expectations are an influential
part of students' attitudes and beliefs which affect their writing
apprehension. Teacher expectations have been shown to have
significant impact on the apprehensive writer. Awareness of teacher
expectations are linked to both a student's motivation and her attitude
(McLeod 431; Daly, Writing Apprehension 52). Daly's research has
found that women students have likely had more success as writers
and have been responded to more favorably by teachers than male
students have (Writing Apprehension 52). The result of this is that
teachers may in fact have higher expectations of women writers,
thereby increasing those writers' apprehension. The student, fearful
that she cannot meet the increasingly high expectations, becomes
increasingly apprehensive as her student writing career continues.
Value of the Writing Task
A student's writing apprehension is also affected by his or her
perceived value of the writing task. The purpose of the writing task
and its perceived value are also related to feelings of apprehension.
23


Though the importance of the writing is difficult to quantify, some
theories (McLeod; McCarthy; Schunk) suggest that the student's
perceived value of the writing task and writing apprehension are
closely tied. McLeod's essay makes a strong case for the importance of
recognizing what occurs at the emotional level when a writer writes
and how this defines the value of the task for the writer. McLeod
suggests that writing apprehension may be more easily overcome if the
writer sees value in the writing he or she is performing. The author
suggests that if the writing task is meaningful and the writer
recognizes it as personally valuable, her desire to accomplish the task
may be strong enough to motivate her to try to overcome her writing
apprehension. However, like many of the other causes of writing
apprehension already mentioned, increasing the task value in order to
reduce apprehension ultimately hinges on the self-confidence and self-
esteem of the writer.
Summary
As this overview of writing apprehension research
demonstrates, writing apprehension is highly influenced by the
affective domain and the individual emotions of a writer. Self-
confidence, perceived skill, attitude & beliefs, the value of the writing,
and their relationship to writing apprehension are significant causes of
24


writing apprehension. Exposing the affective domain as central to a
writer's level of apprehensive is crucial not only in order to deal with
writing apprehension effectively, but also to clarify the possible
relationship between a writer's identity and her writing apprehension.
Both Pajares & Johnson and McLeod recognize a need for
developing a "theory of affect" (313; 431), a theory that would, according
to Pajares & Johnson, "help students understand how their affective
processes may inform their writing" (316). (Presumably teachers would
also benefit from such a theory.) The call for broadening the
perspective from which writing apprehension is viewed and
developing new theories is encouraging. As the research and studies
discussed in this chapter illustrate, because the relationship between
the affective domain and writing apprehension is complex much work
remains to be done.
This research provides general knowledge of what writing
apprehension is and what some of its causes are; the specific
relationship between these causes and women's identity is explored in
the following chapters.
25


CHAPTER 3
WRITING APPREHENSION & WOMEN'S IDENTITY
Research presented in Chapter Two has suggested that a writer's
affective domain plays a fundamental role in his or her writing
apprehension. The previous chapter has also demonstrated a strong
association between the causes of writing apprehension and the
emotions, feelings and personality of the writer. This association, as
will be shown in this chapter, implicates a relationship between the
identity of the writer and writing apprehension. The ultimate goal of
this chapter is to establish how women's identity formation relates to
writing apprehension.
Identity Formation
The term 'identity,' according to Robert Brooke in Writing and
Sense of Self, refers to the characterization of the self as an individual
and as a social construct (12). In his introductory section, Brooke states
that identity and sense of self, are "formed through interaction with
26


society" (12). This means that the development and evolution of
identity are not completely controlled by the individual, but are
influenced by forces outside of the individual like family, society, and
culture. The process of internalizing the beliefs associated with these
external forces is the basis of identity formation.
Brooke's "identity negotiation" theory focuses on the
complexities involved in identity formation within the social world.
He believes that the dynamic nature of identity as a construct forces
individuals to constantly negotiate their sense of self. Developing a
sense of self becomes a series .of "attempts to mitigate the clash
between opposing forces, to compromise between conflicting camps, to
satisfy groups with different demands" (12). In his discussion of how
this plays out within a writing classroom or writing workshop, he
expresses the difficulties this can generate for young and relatively
immature college composition students (11). Although Brooke does
not deal specifically with gender issues or differences, I believe that the
"mitigation," and "compromise" he refers to, and the conflicts implicit
in them are, in fact, the fundamental connections between women's
identity and writing apprehension.
The following section explores women's identity as it is formed
and influenced by forces outside the individual.
27


Women's Identity
Women's identity, when used as a collective term, represents
the ways in which women's interactions with the world around them
have informed and influenced their own perceptions of who they are.
Recognizing the influential role that society and a woman's
interaction with it has on identity formation is crucial to
comprehending the nature of women's identity and its relationship to
writing apprehension. While differences certainly exist among the
identities of individual women, some commonalties have shaped the
identities of women in general.
In Women's Ways of Knowing, Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger,
and Tarule are particularly concerned with revealing the significance
not only of how the outside world affects women's identity formation,
but why that influence takes on special significance for women. The
authors believe that social influences on women's identity evolve
from within the dominant ideologypatriarchy. Additionally, because
patriarchy has historically subjugated women's knowledge, developing
a strong sense of individual self within a male-dominated world has
been a difficult task for many women (Belenky et al. 5). Both Belenky
et al. and Brooke situate individual knowledge as subject to social
forces. The fact that all "conceptions of knowledge and truth that are
articulated today have been shaped throughout history by the male-
dominated majority culture" (Belenky et al. 5) explicates the ways in
28


which the social environment has occluded women's power for self-
definition.
The conflicts that this male-dominated social environment
creates for women's identity formation are exposed by Belenky et al.'s
important text. The authors establish five categories of knowing,
discuss the different kinds of knowledge identities that women
develop, and profile some women within each group. The different
categories reflect the balance between a sense of self that has been
formed with knowledge and awareness of society's influence on
identity, and a sense of self that is predominately an identity
constructed outside the self. The optimal position to occupy is that of a
"constructed knower," a woman who has established a healthy balance
between knowledge that the world around her has presented and
knowledge that she has constructed for herself (Belenky et al. 131-152).
The key to controlling this balance, according to the authors, lies in the
location of knowledge. If a woman can see herself as a source of
knowledge, she has the power to call into question what might
otherwise appear to be a truth. In one situation, when the participant
was asked to describe herself, she replied, "I don't know...no one has
told me yet what they have thought of me" (31). Although this was
presented as a rare situation, it demonstrates how the location of
knowledge influences self-identity. In this case, the woman did not see
herself as a source for any knowledge; she had allowed herself to be
completely defined by others. Her understanding was that knowledge,
29


even of who she was as an individual, was something that existed
outside of herself. This woman had accepted a "truth" that the male-
dominated society had articulateda "truth" that said knowledge
about her own identity was not located within her. In her case,
dominant ideology subordinated her identity.
While not all women's identity and location of knowledge are
this far out of balance, the role of external forces on many women's
sense of self and identity development, cannot be underestimated. The
authors' concern for women's identity formation is clear:
our basic assumptions about the nature of truth and reality and
the origins of knowledge shape the way we see the world and
ourselves as participants in it. They affect our definitions of
ourselves, the way we interact with others, our public and
private personae, our sense of control over life events, .... (1)
This is precisely the reality from which Belenky et al. establish their
perspective on women's identity.
The authors demand an exploration of the "origins of
knowledge" and in so doing clarify how women's knowledge is unique
in its relationship to their identity. It seems that, unlike men, many
women typically see knowledge as something which exists outside of
themselves and therefore have little faith in themselves as knowledge
producers. Doubting their own sense of knowledge makes resistance to
other knowledge more difficult for some women and serves to
reinforce the socially constructed identity of 'other' that has typically
been assigned to women.
30


In the context of identity formation, knowledge can simply be
defined as authority over the dispensation, construction, and reception
of "truth." The absence of women in positions of authority, in
positions to say what is "true" and what isn't, further complicates
women's ability to resist the negative beliefs that hinder their identity
formation. As a woman's identity evolves through socialization, she
either accepts roles and identities that are assigned to her, or she
realizes that knowledge and truth are also constructed and that they
can therefore be deconstructed. Location of knowledge and possession
of it ultimately regulate external forces on identity formation.
Belenky et al.'s knowledge of women's identity formation and
the lack of confidence that can result begins to illustrate how connected
women's identity and writing apprehension can be.
The Role of Writer
As a writing teacher, I hope that the identity of "writer" will be
among the many identities that my students will accept for themselves.
However, as the previous discussion has shown, centuries of
educational practice have limited the availability of the 'writer' role to
women students. According to Joanna Russ, author of How to
Suppress Women's Writing, while women have been writing for just
as long as men, the value of women's writing and of women as writers
has been obfuscated in a variety of ways (5). This brief but pointed
31


observation draws attention to the first connection between women's
identity and writing apprehension; the "truth" that history provides is
that women are not writers. In fact, feminist theory largely agrees that
writing has provided women with a voice and a sense of power that
was otherwise inaccessible to them. However, what is also widely
agreed is that the value of what women have to say or to write about is
not validated by society's dominant ideology. Only in the latter half of
the twentieth century have women writers been integrated into
classrooms and rewritten into history, and this has not been a simple
undertaking.
While women writers from earlier eras slowly become
recognized as intellectual contributors, women's identities continue to
be formed within a culture which has historically devalued women's
intellectual capacity, and their writing in particular. Bloom's
discussion of the two women graduate student who had troubles
completing their theses illustrates this point well. Conflicts that arose
from trying to write from the context of their lives as women, wives,
and mothers and against their socialization into these roles, made full
participation in the role of academic writer very hard for both of them.
These women had to mitigate the clash between asserting themselves
as knowledge producers and remaining in their knowledge receiving
roles. One woman was successful in overcoming her anxieties and
apprehensions about writing; the other woman, according to Bloom, is
"never likely to finish" (130). Many women writers in college
32


classrooms probably bring a very similar history of socialization with
them (McLeod 430), consciously or unconsciously, that needs to be
challenged.
Relationship to Writing Apprehension
Most research and discussion of writing apprehension has only
focused on the causes of writing apprehension as they apply to both
male and female students in general. The broad scope of this kind of
practice has neglected to consider how issues of difference between
male and female students factor into individual students' feelings
about writing and writing apprehension. The justification for
expanding the boundaries of research on writing apprehension is
simple: Recognizing characteristics unique to women and studying
writing apprehension within the context of women's identity becomes,
for women, an emancipatory study based on difference, and one that
can focus on individual's needs.
Many of the causes of writing apprehension take on new
meaning when considered from a perspective that includes women's
identity. For example, Belenky et al. believe that women's confidence
in themselves as knowers is jeopardized by the influence that male-
dominated society has had on women's identity (228), yet confidence
and high self-esteem are needed to reduce writing apprehension (see
33


Chapter Two). During their research, Belenky et al. found that women
without a strong sense of selfmany of those they interviewedare
vulnerable to impacts by people in positions of authority (49). In a
college-level classroom where women are still discovering themselves,
how can a teacher's evaluation not affect a female student's self-
esteem?
Confidence and perceived skill are closely tied within both
women's identity and writing apprehension. McLeod discusses the
significance of both male and female students' perceived control of
their successes or failures in relationship to writing apprehension:
"Some students perceive their successes and failures in writing as
controlled by outside forces such as luck or the teacher, while others
tend to see the same results as stemming from their own capabilities"
(429). Belenky et al. also address this issue; however, their focus is
exclusively on women. While both authors agree that believing
oneself to be in control is crucial to enhancing confidence in oneself
and in one's abilities, it is Belenky et al.'s work that illustrates the
significance of controlled knowledge in relation to women's identity.
They note the frequency with which women "underestimate their
abilities" and how they tend to believe that acceptance of their
knowledge is "a fluke" (196). In other words, women's identity
formation has impaired women's ability to see themselves as
knowledge producers and has fostered a low level of self-efficacy
among women. This suggests that women's lack of perceived skill and
34


their beliefs about themselves as knowledge sources might be
detrimental to their general attitude and disposition towards a writing
task, particularly if their writing is going to be evaluated.
Summary
The results and effects of women's identity formation, as have
been discussed, and their similarity to the causes of writing
apprehension, as discussed in Chapter Two, implies that an integral
connection between the female writer and writing apprehension exists.
This knowledge is important because of its ability to inform theories
about and regarding writing apprehension. By broadening the horizon
of study to include not just the student and her individual feelings of
apprehension towards writing, but also how forces outside the student
affect those feelings, a better perspective from which to view writing
apprehension among female students is created.
Given this background and the relationship between writing
apprehension and the affective domain that was presented in Chapter
Two, the importance of understanding issues like self-confidence, self-
esteem, perceived skill, attitudes, beliefs, and, beyond all these, identity,
becomes clear. The following chapter offers evidence of the
connections between women's identity and writing apprehension.
35


CHAPTER 4
STUDENT SURVEY: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The motivation behind my research and this thesis is to gain a
better understanding of how a woman's identity is related to writing
apprehension. I came to this site of inquiry via my own experience
with writing apprehension and through close reflection on that
experience. In the course of my research, while I found valuable work
on writing apprehension and its fundamental roots within the
affective domain, I found little work that dealt with my particular
focus; namely, the relationship between a woman's identity and her
writing apprehension. I decided to take advantage of my involvement
in a composition community and conduct some research of my own.
My original plan was to conduct only a student survey, but as my own
awareness of these issues heightened, I became particularly interested
in Linh Giang, one of my female students, and her apparent writing
apprehension. Having had several conversations with Linh, and
having read a piece of writing by her that suggested a possible
connection between her own identity and her writing apprehension, I
36


also conducted an interview with her. Both the survey, Linh's essay
and the interview are discussed in following sections.
Educational Context
At the close of the fall semester, I conducted a student survey
among all the core composition classes offered at the University of
Colorado at Denver (UCD). UCD is a state-supported, urban, non-
residential university with a high percentage of non-traditional
students. The school is located in the center of Denver. UCD is not an
open admissions university, but students are allowed to take classes
through extended studies programs and without being enrolled as a
degree seeking student.
I distributed my survey in all English 1020 classes that were being
offered the fall semester of 1995. English 1020 is a required class for all
university students and the first class within a three-course series of
composition requirements. Most students take this class as freshmen
in the first year that they are enrolled; however, the classes may have
some sophomore, junior, and senior-level undergraduates as well.
The core composition classes, mainly taught by graduate students, have
many goals. Some of these include developing basic writing skills,
organization, focus, increasing audience awareness, developing voice,
and generally helping to prepare students for future academic writing
tasks, and developing. The University of Colorado at Denver uses a
37


portfolio assessment system which requires students to submit a
portfolio of the best work that they have produced during the semester:
the show portfolio is the culmination of the student's semester of
work.
After the students have prepared their portfolio to the best of
their ability, they are required to write an in-class self-reflective essay.
This essay asks the student to discuss how she or he feels about her or
his writing, herself/himself as a writer, and her or his experience in the
writing class (see Appendix A for essay instructions). Because this type
of self-reflective writing requires a high level of introspection and
metacognition, I chose to distribute my survey immediately following
the completion of the self-reflective essay. I believe that the students
were particularly self-aware from having just written about themselves
as writers, and in a good frame of mind to answer questions regarding
their general feelings about writing. While the overall purpose of the
survey was to gain a general understanding of how students felt about
writing and about themselves as writers, my particular interest was in
comparing the responses of female students to those of male students
on questions which specifically dealt with issues of apprehension, self-
confidence, and identity.
The survey was given to students in each of the seventeen
composition courses offered that semester. Though students were not
required to participate, all the students who were in attendance on the
day that the survey was handed out did willingly comply. Students
38


were informed that they would remain anonymous and that their
responses would not be seen by their instructor and would in no way
affect their grade. Additionally, students were informed that the
purpose of the survey was to gather data from students and that results
of the data would likely be included in my thesis.
The total sample size was 306 students; 177 females and 129
males. The majority of respondents, both male and female, were
between sixteen and twenty years old. The second largest age bracket of
respondents was 21-25 with a small percentage of respondents twenty
six and older.
Survey Instrument
Reading about the Daly/Miller Writing Apprehension scale was
the catalyst to my decision to conduct my own student survey. The
Daly/Miller WAS consists of 26 questions that deal specifically with
writing apprehension. The Daly/Miller WAS is widely recognized as a
reliable and effective tool for measuring levels of writing apprehension
among students; responses to it allow researchers to determine if a
student is a "high" or "low" apprehensive. Use of the Daly/Miller
instrument has been instrumental to furthering writing apprehension
research. However, because my goal was not only to measure levels of
39


apprehension among UCD students, the survey I implemented was
designed with different goals in mind.
The survey instrument that I utilized, like the Daly/Miller
WAS, was self-evaluative and asked students to gauge their level of
agreement or disagreement with 15 statements; in addition, this survey
instrument was designed to gather information on writing
apprehension, self-confidence, feelings about oneself as a writer,
student identity and the students' perceived writing skill; its focus was
not limited to measuring degrees of apprehension. The survey
provided a Likert scale for response with each individual statement.
The continuum ranged from 1 10, where 1 equaled "strongly
disagree," and 10 equaled "strongly agree." Appendix B contains a copy
of the survey instrument.
Survey questions were arranged so that a student could not
develop a pattern of response for a group of questions, but that she or
he would have to look at each statement individually. For example, an
apprehensive student would be likely to strongly agree with several of
the statements ("I avoid writing") and strongly disagree with others ("I
feel good about the writing I produce"). Statements where the expected
response would be positivestrongly agreewere intermixed with
statements which were expected to generate a negative response. The
intent was to avoid allowing a participant to respond in the same way
to a group of statements and to force students to respond to and to
consider specific questions.
40


The statements included in the survey were designed to get
information on several specific issues: self-confidence; perceived skill;
beliefs about message value; general writing apprehension; and
feelings about writing in general. The following section details the
rationale behind each item as well as the information each item was
expected to gamer.
Instrument Design
Item 1: "I feel good about the writing I produce."
I wanted to determine if students were confident in their writing
products. I also wanted to find out if there was a difference in the level
of confidence in the final product between male and female students. I
thought that a strong agreement with this statement would reflect the
students' confidence level in their own writing. I also thought that if
women students responded with less confidence, it would support the
connection between their identity and causes of writing apprehension.
Item 2: "Writing for an audience makes me nervous."
Responses to this question might reflect a number of things
about the student writer. However, because writing for an audience
implies that some form of evaluation will take place, and because
apprehensive writers, according to Daly, are fearful of having their
41


writing evaluated, I thought responses to this statement would offer
insight to students' general level of apprehension. Strong agreement
with this statement would reflect behavior typical of an apprehensive
writer.
Item 3: "What I write is interesting for others to read."
This question was intended to discover any differences which
might exist between male and female writers about the perceived value
of their writing. If women students tended to disagree with this
statement it might indicate a lack of confidence in their own
knowledge and would support a connection between women's identity
and writing apprehension.
Item 4: "I learn something about myself when I write."
I wondered if individual students considered writing to be a
learning experience on a personal level. I wanted to see if there was a
general perception about writing as a means of self-discovery and if any
difference existed between male and female responses. If there were
strong levels of agreement or strong levels of disagreement, I thought
they might affect teaching practices. I also thought a difference between
genders would suggest a need for different pedagogical approaches.
42


Item 5: "Writing reveals too much about me. as a person."
I wanted to discover if students felt any discomfort about putting
themselves forth on paper. I wondered if fear of exposing one's ideas
or beliefs would make students uncomfortable. Though I wasn't sure
how, I imagined that if students tended to agree with this statement
that fear of exposure might in some way add to their writing
apprehension.
Item 6: "I have confidence in myself in general."
This question was also designed with the hope of revealing any
fundamental differences that might exist between males' and females'
general self-confidence. I also planned to consider responses to this
question in conjunction with responses to Item 1 to determine what
relationship could be found between self-confidence and confidence in
oneself as a writer. Such a relationship would support existing
research (Daly & Wilson; Daly 1985; McLeod).
Item 7: I am anxious about writing even if I am the only one who will
read it."
Because fear of evaluation is common among apprehensive
writers, I thought it would be interesting to see how students might
feel about writing if they knew that no one else would read it. It
seemed that a strong agreement to this statement would be indicative
of an especially high level of writing apprehension; I wanted to know if
43


that was typical among the students surveyed or a rarity. I thought that
if a marked difference existed between male and females, an inference
about general writing apprehension could also be made.
Item 8: "I have the skills necessary to produce good writing."
Design of this statement was directly related to ideas about self-
efficacy and perceived skill level. Because I believed low self-efficacy
was a by-product of women's identity formation, I was looking for
differences in males' and females' levels of confidence in their ability.
I predicted that there would in fact be a difference between genders and
that such a difference would support the connection between identity
and apprehension.
Item 9: "I don't like other people to read my writing."
The purpose here was to determine any general
apprehensiveness about sharing writing with others. This also related
to Item 5. I imagined that fear of revealing oneself in writing would
correspond with a general fear of sharing writing. If there was a strong
pattern among the responses to this statement, I thought pedagogies,
particularly pertaining to workshops, might be affected.
Item 10: "I avoid writing."
This question is also asked on the Daly/Miller WAS and has
been found to be a good indicator of a student's general level of writing
44


apprehension. Again, I was curious if either males or females had a
higher tendency to avoid writing altogether.
Item 11: "I like seeing my thoughts on my paper."
The purpose here was simply to find out about students' general
attitude towards writing. Since a positive attitude is related to a
student's level of writing apprehension, I thought it would be
important to know if there was a difference between male and female
responses. I assumed that even students who liked to write would still
be apprehensive about it; this question would investigate that
assumption further.
Item 12: "I rarely have ideas worth writing about."
This is another statement that was designed with women's
identity in mind. I wanted to look at responses to this statement with
responses to Item 3. The two are in opposition because I wanted to see
if women thought their ideas were good and, if so, whether they
believed that others would also think they were good. Responses to
this question would reveal what students believe about their own
knowledge.
45


Item 13: "I would prefer to have my writing evaluated by a person of
the same sex."
This statement was designed specifically with women students
in mind. I wanted to know if, as Belenky et al. suggest, male-
dominated culture has somehow made women feel more comfortable
with a woman evaluator than a man. I knew that I would strongly
agree with that statement and wondered if other female writers would
too.
Item 14: "I need other people's suggestions in order to improve my
writing."
I wanted to know which students believed they could succeed
without the help of others and which ones believed success was not
within their control. Because the concept of self-efficacy is bound by
identity and its relationship to writing apprehension, a difference
between genders would be an important finding.
Item 15: "Writing allows me to truly express myself."
I was primarily interested in finding out if students felt free to
express themselves in writing. Because writing is often recognized as
providing a "voice" for women, and therefore a means of
empowerment, I wanted to know if female freshman composition
students thought writing offered that to them.
46


The above section clarifies what kind of information I was trying
to obtain from each statement and what the rationale behind each was.
In the following section I will discuss the results of survey.
Discussion of Results
For the purpose of discussion and interpretation, I have broken
down the responses into three categories according to the respondents'
level of agreement or disagreement with each statement. The
following Table presents the total responses from all completed survey
forms. I will discuss some of these questions in depth and highlight
some information that is not readily apparent by referencing the Table.
Additionally, throughout the discussion of results, it is
important to bear in mind that these are the results of a specific group
of women students, as outlined by the description of the educational
context. It is likely that the sentiments shown by these women
students' responses are shared by other women students in
introductory level composition classes at other universities, but
implications of these results may be limited in that regard.
It should also be noted that Kroll's 1979 study and Basile's 1982
study "found, that, overall, students had significantly more positive
attitudes toward writing at the end of the semester than at the
beginning," and that, "over a semester of composition instruction,
47


writing apprehension decreased significantly" (qtd. in Daly, Writing
Apprehension 64). This suggests that had the survey been distributed
at the beginning of the semester, apprehension levels among students
would have been higher than what was actually reported during this
end of the semester survey. Despite this tendency, students did reveal
varying degrees of apprehension in their responses. To what extent
these responses might have been higher if asked at the beginning of the
semester is not known, but it is likely that a difference would exist.
48


TABLE 4.1
response was: strongly disagree 1, 2, 3 neutral 4,5,6 strongly agree 7,8,9,10
female male female male female male
* Item 1 2% 0 23% 16% 75% 84%
* Item 2 26% 41% 31% 26% 43% 33%
* Item 3 8% 0 36% 32% 55% 68%
Item 4 3% 5% 20% 28% 76% 67%
ItemS 34% 45% 35% 28% 30% 26%
** Item 6 7% 0 20% 10% 73% 90%
Item 7 37% 49% 30% 23% 33% 29%
** Item 8 7% 0 23% 20% 69% 80%
* Item 9 45% 59% 28% 26% 26% 15%
Item 10 55% 47% 29% 30% 15% 22%
Item 11 10% 6% 31% 28% 59% 66%
Item 12 65% 60% 25% 27% 10% 12%
**Item 13 51% 78% 32% 22% 16% 0
* Item 14 7% 15% 19% 25% 73% 60%
Item 15 6% 11% 26% 30% 68% 59%
* Significant at 5% based on Chi Squared Goodness of Fit Test
** Significant at 1% based on Chi Squared Goodness of Fit Test
49


Self-Confidence
The results of this survey suggest a relationship between general
self-confidence and confidence in oneself as a writer. In this survey,
both males and females who strongly agree that they are confident in
general (#6), also agree strongly that they feel good about their writing
(#1); however, a significant difference between genders does exist.
Item #1 on the survey was, "I feel good about the writing I
produce"; 84% of the male respondents strongly agree with that
statement compared to 75% of the female respondents. Not only does
this reflect a .05 level of significance between these male and female
responses, it strongly supports the theory that women's identity
formation results in a woman's lack of confidence in her own
knowledge and ability (see Chapter Three). Similarly, in response to
item #6, "I have confidence in myself in general," 90% of the male
respondents rank themselves as high in general self-confidence, while
only 73% of the female students feel strongly about their self-
confidence; the difference between male and female responses to this
statement was significant at the .01 level. In other words, 27% of these
female respondents lack general confidence in themselves and in their
writing, two affective issues vital to reduced apprehension (see Chapter
Two). The contrast between this group of males and females becomes
even starker on a closer look at the survey resultsout of 129 male
students interviewed, not a single male respondent disagrees with the
statement, "I have confidence in myself in general," whereas 7% of the
50


women surveyed say they lack self-confidence. Additionally, only one
respondent, less than one percent of the males surveyed, indicates any
lack of confidence in the writing he produced. Another item related to
general confidence is #2, "I don't like other people to read my writing."
More of the women in this study strongly agree with this statement
than do the men. The .05 level of statistical significance here also
supports the idea that women are less confident about their writing.
The fact that no male students believe that they lack self-
confidence, the virtual absence of anxiety about the writing that males
report, and the overwhelming majority of male students who rank
themselves high on these statements, combine to clearly suggest that
women's self-confidence, s reflected in this survey, is not only lower
than their male peers, but that the degree of difference in confidence
levels is significant.
These results, similar to findings from Belenky et al.'s work as
discussed in Chapter Three, strongly support the connection between
the identity of the woman writer and the causes of her writing
apprehension.
Perceived Skill
The male/female pattern of response to statement #8, "I have
the skills necessary to produce good writing," was also highly
51


significant. Response to this statement provides a clear indication of
the student's level of self-efficacy and reflects his/her belief in the
likelihood of success based on their perceived skill level. The
difference in perceived skill among this group of male and female
students was significant at the .01 level with the majority of male
students, 80%, believing that they possess the necessary skills, while
only 69% of the females believe that they have the writing skills that
they need. The difference is notable for the obvious statistical
significance, but also because while 7% of the female students believe
they lack the needed skills, only one male (again, less than one percent
but not the same student) respondent reports that he does not have the
skills he needs.
Item #14 asked students if they think that they need other
people's suggestions in order to improve their writing. The responses
to this question were also interesting. Despite the fact that both groups
indicate generally high confidence about their own writing, both male
and female participants indicate a need for outside help on their
writing. However, as seen in Table 4.1, women report a significantly
stronger need for outside support than men do. Moreover, only 7% of
these female respondents indicate that they have no need for outside
help, while twice the number of the male respondents believe that they
can do it all on their own. This suggests that male students are more
likely to have the confidence in themselves and in the writing skills
needed to produce writing without the help of others than female
52


students are. This further indicates that the need for outside help may
be closely related to the writer's self-esteem and own personal
confidence.
Another interesting observation is that the difference in the
male and female majority's response to a need for outside help, Item
#14, (see Table 4.1) reflects a similar degree of difference as the
responses to Item #1, which reflects students' confidence in the writing
they produce (see Table 3.1). This suggests a close relationship between
self-efficacy and confidence or anxiety about the writing produced and
reinforces the argument that the difficulty many women have in
recognizing themselves as knowledge producers (Belenky et al.) is
closely related to lack of perceived skill as a cause of writing
apprehension.
These results further support writing apprehension research (see
Chapter Two) that states the writer's affective domain, self-concept, and
level of self-efficacy are closely related to the writer's feelings of anxiety
or apprehensiveness towards writing.
Message Value
The next group of responses relates to the writer's identity and
self-concept. Responses reflect the writer's perception of what the
value of her writing is to others, and how she thinks it will be received
53


by them. Responses to question #3, "What I write is interesting for
others to read/' show another significant difference between males and
females (at the .05 level). 68% of the male students strongly agree with
statement #3 and only one male respondent (not the same respondent
mentioned earlier) disagrees with statement #3. This indicates no lack
of faith among these male students that others will find what their
writing interesting. The responses by this group of female students
indicates considerably less self-assurance that what they have to say is
of interest to others; only 55% of the women participants strongly agree
with that statement; 36% fell in the neutral range, and 8% have little
confidence that what they are writing about will be interesting for
others to read. In terms of identity, these female students appear to
have developed less confidence in their own texts and in themselves as
viable sources of knowledge. Moreover, this disparity parallels both
Belenky et al.'s findings as well as Russ's work in feminist theory.
These results suggest to me that women's doubt in the perceived
value of their writing might be based on how the woman writer
expects her writing to be received by others. Responses to Item
#9, "I don't like other people to read my writing," were also statistically
significant at the .05 level. These women students appear to be much
more fearful of having their writing read by others than the male
students do. I predicted that responses to Item # 12, "I rarely have
ideas worth writing about," would also lend support to this, but the
results, while suggestive, were not quite statistically significant. While
54


it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions, it is still interesting to note
that while 90% of the female students thought they had good ideas,
their responses to Item #3 and Item #9 (see Table 4.1) suggest that
women remain less confident than the males that other people will
find their writing interesting. This might suggest that regardless of
what the female writer personally considers the worth of her writing to
be, she has come to believe that it will not be deemed valuable, or
interesting by others. This does not seem to be a problem for these
male students who not only thought they had good ideas, but also
assumed that people would find their writing interesting.
Writing Apprehension
Concern for what other people will say about their writing and
the accompanying fear of sharing one's work is a fundamental issue for
the extremely apprehensive writer (Daly, Writing Apprehension 43-
47). Two statements within the survey that particularly address this
issue are statement #7, "I am anxious about writing even when I am
the only one who will read it," and statement #10, "I avoid writing."
Nearly 50% of the male respondents strongly disagree with both
statements. In contrast, the female students' responses to statement #7
are distributed almost equally among the three categories.
55


Item #2, already mentioned, "Writing for an audience makes
me nervous," also addresses general feelings of apprehension.
Responses to this statement show a .05 level of significance between
males and females. Taken together, responses to these three items
seem to suggest that this group of women is in fact slightly more
apprehensive about writing than the men who were surveyed, and
that the writing apprehension experienced by these women is more
extreme than the writing apprehension among this group of male
students. These results offer strong support to Daly's theory that as
teacher expectations of women students increase, writing apprehension
also increases.
The last item related to writing apprehension and the fear
associated with evaluation is item #13, "I would prefer to have my
writing evaluated by a person of the same sex." The responses to this
question showed the largest difference between genders of all the items
included on the survey and were significant well beyond the .01 level.
The fact that of the female students surveyed, 16% of them strongly
agree that they would prefer to have a woman evaluate their writing,
and that none of the male students indicate a preference for a person of
the same sex, is striking. I think this alone illustrates how much some
of these women's identity has been influenced by social forces and
suggests that many women's fear and apprehension about their writing
is in fact greater if it is going to be read by a man. The general
indifference that men's responses to this question show again
56


illustrates their overall confidence in what they have to say, regardless
of who will be reading it.
Attitudes About Writing
Response to Item #11, "I like seeing my thoughts on paper,"
showed little difference between males and females. It seems to suggest
that regardless of their feelings of apprehension, both men and women
share a relatively high level of enthusiasm towards seeing their own
ideas in writing.
Likewise, although there was no significant difference in male
and female responses to Item #4, "I learn something about myself
when I write," both males and females agree that writing is a tool for
self-discovery and both groups seemed cognizant of writing's role as
such.
I predicted that responses to item # 5, "Writing reveals too much
about me as a person," would be quite different for males and females
and had guessed this would be related to women's writing
apprehension. However, results were similar between the two groups
and responses covered the entire continuum relatively equally (see
Table 4.1) suggesting that neither the males nor the females in this
survey have particularly strong feelings about this.
57


Item #15, "Writing allows me.to truly express myself," did not
show a significant difference between male and females either. I was
interested to see if these women students felt writing provided them
the "voice" so often mentioned in discussions of women's writing and
its role in history (see Russ for more information). However, 68% of
the females compared to 59% of the males strongly agreed that writing
afforded them an opportunity for expression, a noticeable though not
statistically significant difference.
These responses, though less significant in illuminating the
intricate relationship between women's identity and writing
apprehension than response to other items on the survey, still offer
valuable information on Writing apprehension in general. Specifically,
responses to these four items reveal that both male and female
students find writing to be a valuable tool for self-discovery.
Responses to these statements might also indicate that part of the value
of the task may lie in the opportunity for expression that both men and
women believe writing offers them.
Survey Conclusions
At this point, some general conclusions can be drawn from the
data presented in Table 4.1 and from the analysis I have provided.
First, women students generally have lower confidence in the writing
58


that they produce, and more importantly, lower self-esteem in general
than male students; second, despite thinking that they have ideas
worth writing about, women students are less likely to believe that
others will be interested by what they have to say; and third, women
writing students are more likely to experience high-apprehension, as
well as writing apprehension in general. Each of these issues, self-
esteem, confidence, a woman's value in her own knowledge, concern
for other people's opinion, and anxiety are, according to Belenky et al,
issues within a woman's identity and, I believe, closely related to the
causes of their writing apprehension.
Both this chapter and preceding chapters have discussed the
significance of the female student's identity formation and its
relationship to writing apprehension in terms of survey results and
formal research. While this is clearly important to the strength of this
work, by shifting the focus from many women to just one individual
female student I can instantiate this theory and these results. Most
importantly, this particular student exemplifies many of the traits that
illustrate a link between women's identity and writing apprehension.
Student Interview. Writing Sample and Discussion
I first became aware of Linh's apprehension and anxiety about
writing during the fall semester of 1995 when Linh was a student in my
59


English 1010 class. Unlike the 1020 class, English 1010 does not fulfill a
composition requirement; 1010 is reserved for students who need
additional help in basic writing skills before they will be able to succeed
in English 1020. Students arrive in 1010 one of two ways: either by self-
placement when they enroll for classes, or because the evaluation of
their placement essay (given to each student at the beginning of the
semester) indicates 1010 is better suited to their writing ability. Some
students place themselves in that class when they enroll because they
know that they have a hard time writing or because they are unsure as
to whether they can handle the requirements of 1020. This was the case
with Linh; even though she had just completed three years of AP
English in high-school and had received good grades, she chose to
enroll in 1010.
A few weeks into that fall semester, I asked my students to write
a short (1-2 pages) response on how they felt about themselves as
writers. Linh's piece immediately caught my attention. In the first
sentence, Linh says she is going to write about how she considers
herself as a writer. In her second sentence she writes, "Mostly, I will
focus on my fears and anxiety of writing" (see Appendix C for original
text). Evidently, the first thing that comes to mind when Linh thinks
about writing is how much she fears it and the anxiety it causes her. As
Linh's essay proceeds, she reflects on her feelings about writing and
offers insight as to why she feels this way. She reveals that one part of
her anxiety is related to her fear of exposing herself on her paper:
60


...is my fear of writing down what I feel. When I am writing, I
constantly think about what others might think or does it sound
weird or will they laugh at me. I try and try to block those
voices, but am not able to do it. (Appendix C)
Linh is not only concerned with what others will think, she worries
that they will laugh at her ideas. This particular aspect of Linh's
writing apprehension parallels the survey results in that she too does
not think other people will like what she has written. Linh evidently
lacks the confidence in her own self-knowledge that would enable her
to write without being crippled by her fears of what others will think
and say about her.
Further into the essay, Linh reveals where this anxiety towards
what other people will think originated:
You see, I come from a large family, the word privacy does not
exist in our book. I tried keeping a diary once, my sisters found it
and laughed. That is the reason I keep things inside.
(Appendix C)
It seems that from an early age Linh has come to believe that what she
feels and thinks about are not respected by others, that her thoughts
and feelings are likely to be laughed at. At the close of her essay, Linh
indicates that she hopes this will change and that her perception of
herself as a writer will also change:
My goal is to not be ashamed or shy about my inner feelings.
Once that wall is torn apart, my writing will take off in a new
direction. It will explore new horizons never dare touched
before by me. I am excited about being able to take that wall
down one day. (Appendix C)
61


Obviously Linh does not enjoy being apprehensive and is hopeful that
someday she will be able to say what she really feels. Linh is aware of
the growth and struggle that her own identity will face, but is not ready
to embrace that just yet: Though her final thoughts are very hopeful,
she seems to feel this kind of transformation is a long time in coming.
The fact that she has created an analogy with taking apart a wall, a
physically challenging task, also reflects the magnitude of change she
sees is involved in redefining her perception of herself as writer.
Despite the high compliments I gave Linh on her honesty and
genuine voice in that piece, she never wrote about herself as a writer
again. I remained interested in Linh's feelings and was pleased when
she enrolled in my 1020 class this semester and agreed to an interview
with me to discuss her feelings further. Though the interview was not
long (see Appendix D for full transcript), it provided much insight into
Linh's identity and its relationship to her writing apprehension.
I began the interview after a few minutes of informal
conversation. I first wanted to get an idea of how confident Linh was
about herself and her writing. She indicated that she was confident in
almost all "school stuff," but that writing was harder for her than other
areas of school. She said that no one in her family ever writes and that
aside from having to write for class, she never does either. Linh said
that although she would not choose to write simply for the sake of
writing, that there was something about it that she liked: "It's kinda
fun I guess. But when I write my thoughts it's hard" (Giang 39).
62


When I asked her about writing apprehension Linh said that she
considers herself an apprehensive writer and would define
apprehension as the inability to say what she really wants (Giang 54-59).
She elaborates on this fear of writing her own ideas when she says, "I
can't write what I REALLY would. I can write what someone tells me,
like school, but that's not my own stuff" (Giang 62-63). Linh seems to
have a difficult time perceiving herself as a writer whose ideas are
valuable. Her concern for being exposed if she is to put her real self in
writing suggests that her own sense of self is still highly influenced by
external factors. A fundamental issue in Linh's apprehension, as
research suggests (Daly, Writing Apprehension 42; McLeod 427), is her
own self-esteem and the perceived value of her self-knowledge. Linh
has not yet constructed an identity that allows her to express herself in
writing without being fearful of how her work, her knowledge and her
self, as presented by her text, will be received.
The depth of this apprehension is illuminated when she says
that she would write "if [she] could hide it" (Giang 74), which she later
states she knows is an impossibility; "Someone would always find it
(Giang 85-92). For Linh, it is a reality that no matter what, whenever
she writes it will be read and criticized by others. Not only does this
speak to this issue of low self-concept and its connection to writing
apprehension, it also addresses the issue of perceived message value as
discussed in Chapter Two. Since she doesn't want anyone to read
writing that contains her own thoughts, and she believes that anything
63


she writes will in fact be read, writing has little value to Linh other
than to fulfill an assignment and get a good gradesomething that she
has to do and cannot avoid.
As the interview progressed, the focus shifted towards Linh's
feelings about women and writing and then back towards her own
identity and writing. Linh said that she thought women were probably
more apprehensive about writing because they tended to be more
expressive in their writing and that this would make writing more
difficult for them than for men. She referred to women as "...more
honest writers" (Giang 175). While her thoughts on this are not
completely clear, Linh indicated that the expressive writing she
believed women did was not as well received as writing done by men.
She stated that she thought women were better writers than men, but
then became unsure as she noted, "But I don't know, there are a lot
more male writers than female writers" (Giang 186). She seemed to be
suggesting that while she thought women's writing style was good, she
did not think it was as recognized as men's writing. An interesting
twist to her thoughts on how women's writing was regarded came out
when I asked Linh, hypothetically, if she and a male student were
writing an essay on the same topic and it was being evaluated by me,
who did she think would do better? She said she thought that she
would do better (Giang 314-318). Then I changed the question:
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SG: What if it were being read by a male professor? Who
would do better?
LG: Probably the guy.
SG: Why?
LG: Cuz, the guy would like the guy's way of writing but
mine would be too expressive. (Giang 319-323)
This belief that women's writing in general is not regarded as highly as
men's is no doubt a part of Linh's apprehension about her own writing:
she is a woman, and women's writing is not viewed as highly as men's;
apprehension, especially when the evaluator is male, is a natural
result. Clearly Linh was much more confident in her writing when
she thought I would be evaluating. While some of that may simply be
because she and I have developed a relationship over the last six
months, some of it is obviously due to the fact that I am a woman. It
seems that Linh's writing apprehension is closely tied to her own
perception of who she is both as a writer and as a woman in our
society.
As a means of trying to synthesize the interview and to better
understand Linh's identity, I wanted find out how Linh viewed herself.
I had asked her at the beginning of the interview to describe herself, but
she was too nervous to immediately talk about herself at that time.
Towards the close of the interview, I again asked Linh about her own
self-concept. She said that she felt she had a high self-image in certain
areas both in and outside of school when she was "confident in her
abilities" (Giang 248-254). Though I did not ask her to relate that
65


specifically to writing, her opinion of herself as apprehensive and not a
very good writer may suggest that her writing self-efficacy is low, that
she is not confident in her abilities when it comes to writing
I continued to inquire about her identity and to try and find out
how Linh believed her own self-concept had evolved. When I asked
her how much of her own identity came from herself and how much
of it she thought was constructed by external forces like school, family,
community etc., she said that more of her self-perception came from
other people than it did from herself (Giang 255-259). Linh said she felt
particularly influenced by her family. She shared with me that her
family always told her she was the strong one, but that she didn't feel
that way herself. She seemed to think that changing or even altering
her family's opinion of her was not within her power, that that was
just the way it was (Giang 261-268). Her acceptance of other people's
definition of who she is suggests that she has not yet developed a sense
of self that is free from the constraints of other people's ideas and
perceptions. Linh's identity formation, has not yet allowed her to see
herself as a capable writer and thinker, to see herself differently than
what she has been acculturated into believing.
Looking back at the last paragraph of Linh's essay where she
writes with hope about tearing down the wall and letting writing take
her in new directions suggests that, while she has not yet become
comfortable with herself as a writer and considers herself apprehensive
about it, she does have the potential for change within her. This
66


potential for change seems to be a truth for many of the causes of
apprehension among women. In order to reduce apprehension among
women we need to look less at what kind of writing skills a woman
has developed and more at the identity that the female writer has
constructed for herself: What a woman has come to believe about
herself both as an individual and as a writer is central to understanding
her writing apprehension.
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CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSIONS
The unifying theme of this work has been the search for a better
understanding of how women's identity formation within the social
world may have shaped their feelings of writing apprehension. The
purpose has also been to illustrate the significance of the relationship
between women's identity and writing apprehension and its need for
further consideration.
Research on the causes of writing apprehension, as discussed in
Chapter Two, shows that lack of self-confidence, lack of perceived skill,
attitudes and beliefs about writing, and the perceived value of the
writing task are causes of writing apprehension that are each deeply
rooted in the writer's affective domain. Additionally, knowledge of
women's identity formation, as discussed in Chapter Three, reveals the
predisposition that many women have towards these affective causes:
Women are likely to have low self-confidence, a lack of perceived skill
and a lack of faith in the value of their writingthe very attitudes that
cause writing apprehension. While those two points alone make it
difficult to ignore the close relationship between women's identity and
68


writing apprehension, when they are combined with the results of the
survey and the student interview that I conducted (see Chapter Four),
the support for the significance of that relationship becomes even
stronger.
For many women, the ways in which they interact with the
world around them, and the ways in which they come to perceive their
own knowledge and skills are fundamental parts of their identities that
can directly inform -their feelings of writing apprehension. This work
has clarified how, as women's identities evolve in a patriarchal world,
some women's self-confidence and their ability to see themselves as
knowledge producers have been adversely affected. One consequence
of women's identity development in such an environment is that the
confidence needed to reduce apprehension about their writing and
about their role as writers can be particularly difficult for some women
to cultivate.
This research identifies the importance of the relationship
between women's identity and writing apprehension and its many
complexities. This new understanding of writing apprehension, while
admittedly only a beginning, can inform teaching practices and
methods of dealing more effectively with writing apprehension among
women.
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Implications
The issues and conflicts that women's identity formation creates
for both high- and low-apprehensive female writers have several
implications for composition classrooms. These conflicts suggest a
need for a more holistic approach to writing instruction, one that better
accounts for the special needs of women as individuals with
developing, dynamic identities, as well as their needs as developing
t
writers. In order to negotiate beyond the available writer role that has
been presented to women throughout history, and to be able to
deconstruct existing truths, beliefs, and practices, women students must
first believe that they are legitimate sources of knowledge. They need
to believe that what they have to say is valuable, not only to
themselves but to others as well. By helping women students to
believe in themselves, teachers can allow them to re-gain some control
over their identities.
The results of the empirical research discussed in Chapter Four
represent the beliefs of introductory level male and female
composition students on an urban campus. While there are certainly
differences between the students who participated in that survey and
students at other universities and colleges, there are implications for
composition classes in general.
70


Workshops
Creating alternative spaces within composition classes is the
most important change that needs to occur in order to address the
needs of women students. In order to help women redefine
themselves as knowledge producers and to build their own self-
confidence, it is important to create an environment that does not
replicate the hegemonic structures that have already adversely affected
women's identities. Writing workshops in a composition class can
provide that space.
When I reflect on my own experience in a writing class and as I
noted in the introduction, I feel very strongly that my workshop
partners were vital to my overcoming some of my poetry-writing
anxiety. They all respected the knowledge that I brought to the group
(regardless of how insufficient I thought that was); they were
encouraging and, over time, I became less fearful of them reading my
writing; and, most importantly, they were all women.
This leads me to believe that other women students in writing
classes could also benefit from a collaborative, same sex, writing
workshop environment similar to the one that benefited me. Trying
to implement same sex workshops in composition classes could
provide an important space for women and might help reduce some of
the conflicts between women's identity formation and writing
71


apprehension. Justification for this is based on my own experience, as
well as the survey results reported in Chapter Four.
According to the survey responses, a majority of women
students were very apprehensive about writing for an audience and felt
strongly that they do not like to have other people read their writing
(see Table 4.1; items 2 & 9). However, the survey responses also
indicated that the majority of women believed they need other people's
suggestions (Table 4.1, item 14). This indicates that these types of
women can be especially helped by implementation of writing
workshops. In other words, some women find value in writing
workshops despite the apprehensions that these workshops can
generate.
Moreover, it seems that same sex workshops could continue to
serve women students' needs, while at the same time reducing the
anxiety some women indicate they would feel if a male were
evaluating their writing; in fact, many of the women students that
were surveyed expressed a strong preference for evaluation of their
writing by a woman. Same sex workshops would create an
environment where women are the only ones constructing and
evaluating knowledge; thereby resisting conforming to the dominant
ideology of patriarchy that has had negative impacts on women's
development of confidence in themselves, in their knowledge, and in
themselves as knowledge producers.
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Another benefit provided by same sex workshops is that women
could address their need to redefine themselves as knowledge
producers and build confidence in their writing through community
support and encouragement. A woman, according to Belenky et al.,
"needs to know that she is capable of intelligent thought and she needs
to know it right away" (193). Establishing same sex workshops early on
communicates to women students that a person in a position of
authority, the teacher, recognizes their knowledge as valid. This
validation is created by creating a knowledge community where
women are the only ones in positions of power; the only ones
producing knowledge.
Because success is never guaranteed, and because there is a
chance that some women will not like this type of a workshop, teachers
should try out the workshops, ask for students' input and thoughts on
these changes and be prepared to be responsive to them. Ongoing
teacher-research and assessment of women's participation in same sex
workshop groups may reveal that some women students will benefit
from this more than others.
Clearly, further research on this kind of change should be done.
Other related areas that warrant further investigation are the effects of
a teacher's gender on apprehensive women writers and assessing
whether male students could possibly benefit from same sex
workshops. Future research may implicate a need for female-only or
male-only composition classes. Whatever the outcome, additional
73


research that focuses on women students and on ways to effectively
reduce their writing apprehension will add valuable knowledge to the
limited understanding we currently have on writing apprehension
among women students.
Student and Teacher Comments
The very nature of writing workshop classes and the
communication that must occur about a student's writing places a high
value on comments from both the teacher and other students.
Although students' comments do not usually come with a grade, they
still reflect a judgment about the writing and are likely to affect the
author's feelings about his or her writing. The discomfort that some
women feel when having their work read by others substantiates this
and indicates it is an important issue to consider.
I think again about the experience I had with writing
apprehension and recall vividly the weight that my peers' comments
seemed to carry and the high regard I gave them. I was very anxious
about getting confirmation of my work from other students before I
turned something in for a grade. If they could convince me
(sometimes they had to) that my poem was good, that they understood
what I was trying to say, that my poetry had meaning, I felt much more
confident giving it to my teacher. In fact, I had come to rely on
74


validation from my workshop group so much so that when I turned
something in without them having read it, I was very nervous.
As I consider the value that confirmation of my knowledge had for me
as a woman writer, I can't help but think it could be equally beneficial
for other women students who feel apprehensive or anxious about
what they have written.
In order to address women students' anxieties about their
writing and to help women students build confidence in themselves as
sources of knowledge, teachers should encourage students to validate
each others' knowledge. A writing workshop is a good place to
implement knowledge validating strategies that participants can use.
In a workshop setting, this may be as simple as giving students some
guidelines and worksheets on ways to read and critique other women's
writing. A question like, "What knowledge does this person have
about their subject?" is just one example of a useful tool for eliciting
knowledge validation from peers. Even if the writer whose work is
being evaluated by a peer has limited knowledge of her subject, she is
still being validated as a knowledge producer and as a source of
knowledge. If well orchestrated by the teacher, writing workshops and
students' comments in them can effectively address women students'
needs.
However, student comments are obviously not the only ones
that affect how a writer feels about her writing. The very fact that the
teacher is the ultimate evaluator means that his or her comments are
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also crucial to the writer's perception of herself and her ability. As I
think once again about my own experience as a writer, I know this is
true. Whether it is a poetry portfolio or a master's thesis, I am forever
scanning pages for reassurance of my own knowledge. A single
"good," an occasional check mark, or a few question marks in ten or
twelve pages of writing does little to reduce my writing apprehension.
Without specifics, positive or negative, I am left wondering what is
good about my writingmy knowledgeand will I ever be able to
duplicate its "good"ness? Even worse, I don't know why I got a "?" or
exactly what it refers to, but am afraid to ask. In both cases, my own
writing apprehension is increased.
While I can not speak for every woman writer, I think it is safe
to say that comments count. A writing teacher's comments can
powerfully impact women writers for several reasons: first, survey
responses show women students are less confident in their writing and
the value of what they say (see Table 4.1); second, students enter
composition classes with beliefs about themselves that can diminish
their own potential (McLeod, see Chapter Two); and third, as
mentioned in Chapter Three, women are particularly influenced by
people in positions of authority. These three points clearly illustrate
the potential impactpositive or negative that a writing teacher's
comments can have on both low- and high-level apprehensive female
writers. Teachers should attempt to use their authoritative positions as
ways to validate the knowledge of all their students and be conscious of
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the potentially diminishing effects their comments could have on a
student's confidence as a writer and a knowledge producer.
I am not proposing that teachers avoid making any negative
comments of female students' writing and only offer positive
comments; however, without a heightened awareness of how
women's lack of confidence in their own knowledge may fuel their
writing apprehension, careless comments may further inhibit women
students. For example, comments like "lacks content," if not carefully
supported and explained by direct references to the text may reinforce
women's lack of confidence in their writing and in the message value
of their writing (Belenky et al. 200), thereby adding to their writing
apprehension. In contrast, looking for, recognizing, and specifying
good content when it is presented, may validate students' knowledge,
increase students' confidence in the writing they produce, and could
begin to reduce their writing apprehension. Measuring the
effectiveness of such knowledge endorsements would be a valuable
study for future researchers to consider.
Likewise, teachers need to be cognizant of that fact that women
students are likely to have low writing self-efficacy when they enter the
classroom. As Schunk points out, it is what the student believes he or
she is capable of that affects self-efficacy. Helping women students
develop the tools and skills that they believe are necessary to produce
good writing and offering positive evaluation of those particular skills
should be one goal of the writing teacher. The solution to trying to
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increase self-efficacy lies in the flexibility of the teacher. For example,
one student may believe that it is poor grammar that prevents her
from producing good writing; another may think it is her poor
organizational skills that are her biggest obstacle. And, without
knowing this, the teacher may have developed a curriculum that
focuses on developing critical thinking. While that is certainly a good
goal for any writing class, a gap between the teacher's plan and the
students' perceived needs exists. The result is that the self-efficacy of
either of these students is not likely to improve.
Requesting students' self-assessment and self-evaluation early
on, may be part of the solution. With early self-assessment, teachers
can find out what kind of help students think they need, while
simultaneously discovering needs that students have of which they,
the students, are unaware. Self-placement essays followed by self-
correction of those essays by students seems like a possible way to
address this conflict. Making increased self-efficacy among women
students a goal is one way to meet the needs of women students and to
begin to reduce their writing apprehension.
The importance of using student and teacher comments to
increase women's self-efficacy and confidence in their writing is that
their general attitude and beliefs about writing may also improve.
Both Daly and McLeod endorse the importance of a positive attitude
when trying to reduce writing apprehension. Assessing the effect of
comments (teacher and student) as well as changes in attitude and their
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influence on women's writing apprehension is an important project
that future researchers will need to consider.
Pedagogy and Research
So far I have only addressed some specific classroom
implications and areas in which further research would greatly benefit
women writers. However, the larger implications of this work are the
need for an overall revision of teaching pedagogy and philosophy, as
well as for continuing in-depth research practices that focus specifically
on women.
Helping women students to begin to deconstruct their identities
and to understand how they have been shaped and influenced is a
necessity for students and for researchers. Embracing cultural studies
as a composition pedagogy is a possible strategy for strengthening the
opportunities for empowerment that writing classes can provide. As a
philosophy and pedagogy, cultural studies aims to help students
discover how they can more fully participate in a democratic society
and aids students in understanding how existing boundaries and
limitations affect them individually. Writing assignments,
ethnographies for example, that help students to consider how
knowledge is constructed, perpetuated, and commodified in society
reflect a cultural studies approach to composition and could benefit
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women students. Writing assignments that encourage women
students to explore gender roles in various situations can empower
women with the knowledge of the hegemonic structures currently in
place around them. Without that kind of knowledge empowerment, it
will remain difficult for women students to expand the boundaries of
the "writer role" to more fully include them.
As a means of future research and potential data collection,
implementing a cultural studies approach to composition classes could
create an environment that would allow students to generate
potentially valuable information for themselves as well as for future
research. For instance, ethnographies written by women students
would allow women to develop an understanding of their own
knowledge construction, while simultaneously creating texts that could
be saved and used for informing future research. Women students'
ethnographies could provide a much fuller understanding of their
individual socialization processes, as well reveal to researchers possibly
important influences on their identity formation. By encouraging
students to consider issues of race, class and gender, cultural studies
creates an environment that is rich in knowledge for students and for
teacher-research; its use could become empowering for everyone
concerned.
Cultural studies could allow pedagogy and research to work
together more effectively. Distributing surveys like the one discussed
in Chapter Four or the Daly/Miller WAS, despite the valuable
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information they provide, does not work in harmony with teaching
and limits the kind and depth of information that they can elicit.
These kinds of survey instruments ask for very specific information
and reflect the students' thoughts at a particular time, in a particular
environment. In contrast, cultural studies projects like ethnographies
invite limitless information and can reveal intricate knowledge of
identity formation processes. Additionally, this kind of merging allows
students to become a part of the ongoing teacher-research that is
needed to further our understanding of women's identity and its
relationship to writing apprehension. Moreover, merging pedagogy
and research, by asking women to report what they know, creates a
practical means of validating women students' knowledge.
Because the basic premise that should inform teaching
pedagogies is that, as this work has shown, the needs of male and
female students are different and that causes of writing apprehension
among women have different origins than they do among men, future
research practices need to begin to unearth and understand those
origins. We know that many women students are less sure about the
value of their writing and how well it will be received by others than
male students are. We know that some women, as a result of identity
formation, have less confidence in themselves and in the knowledge
they produce than some male students do. We know that many of
these characteristics parallel the affective causes of writing
apprehension. Unfortunately, until we have a much fuller
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understanding of that relationship, we won't know how to effectively
deal with women's writing apprehension.
Conclusions
In their chapter "Toward an Education for Women," Belenky et
al. say that "for women, confirmation and community are prerequisites
rather than consequences of development" (194). A writing classroom
undoubtedly has the potential to offer both of these things.
Conscientiously structured writing workshops and effective knowledge
validation practice from both teachers and students can establish
expectations that promote inclusive knowledge and community
instead of exclusive knowledge that is held by the teacher and that
must be fought for by the student. While those kinds of competitive
environments may work for men, but they often do not work well for
women (Belenky et al. 194).
Presently, too much of the research that is the basis for current
theories of education, research on writing apprehension included, is
research and data that was collected from male students; only recently
has the validity of that information begun to be questioned (Belenky et
al. 229). Because the needs of women students can not begin to be
addressed when so little is known about what those needs really are,
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and until the impact of women's identity formation on writing
apprehension is fully understood, much more research will be needed.
While evidencing the unique relationship between women's
identity and causes of writing is an important contribution to
composition studies made by this work, it is only a small portion of its
significance. The significance and impact of women's identity
formation is surely not limited to writing apprehension; its effects
undoubtedly affect women as learners and knowers in countless ways.
The larger significance of this work lies in the countless questions and
concerns about this relationship that remain unanswered and await
exploration.

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APPENDIX A
ENGLISH 1010/1020 In-class self-reflective essay
Instructions to students
At the end of this course you will be asked to spend 30 minutes of a class period
writing a self-reflective essay on the writing in your portfolio. You can practice this
at home during the course, but you can't bring a ready-made essay or any notes to
class with you. This sheet explains the purpose of the self-reflective essay and gives
you some ideas for thinking about your own self-reflection.
Purpose
The self-reflective goes into your "show portfolio and is the first piece of writing
your outside reader will read The outside reader is the teacher of another
composition class, and she or he has the job of evaluating-how well you have
mastered the skills of writing according to the.Portfotio Standards of the!
Composition Program, and of providing your teacher with a grade for your writing
performance. The outside reader can't judge effort, attendance, the amount of
tutoring' you had, or other factors: she or he can only look at the writing itself and
judge it- Reading your self-reflective letter helps the outside reader to understand
your writing.
Ideas.for Self-Reflection
Note: You don't need to deal with all of theses in fact you probably shouldnt
A. This .course ass
Has ymraHihiAiiliiintmiling.Aaii|mlT How?
What have youdiscovered about your own-processes of/for writing? What
writing processes do-yau use and how have -they influenced you?
What part does woricshqpping and peer response with other students play in
your own writing processes?
How important is conferencing with your teacher or a writing tutor to you?
What do you think is "good writing? How do you evaluate your own
writing and that of others?
Have you learned to apply your knowledge about writing to situations
outside the UC-D composition classroom?
B. Your own development as a writer during this course.
How has your writing changed during this period?
What do you see as your greatest strengths as a writer?
What areas of your writing are you still working on?
HELP YOUR READER see these changes, strengths and yes weaker areas in your
writing. Refer to the writing in your portfolio to show readers examples of your
progress in key areas of your writing. You might talk about some of the following:
ideas, content, insights, development, organization, focus, word choice,
paragraphing, language conventions (grammar, punctuation, spelling). Readers
might be interested to hear you talk about your voice and style.
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APPENDIX B
SURVEY INSTRUMENT
Participant Information:
Sex: Male______ Female__________
Age: 16-20___ 21-25_______ 25-35________ 35+________
Year In School: Freshman____ Sophomore____ Junior_____ Senior____ Grad.
Other____
Please take a few minutes to respond to the following questions.
1. I feel good about the writing I produce.
123456789 10
disagree agree
2. Writing for an audience makes me nervous.
123456789 10
disagree agree
3. What I write Is Interesting for others to read.
1 23456789 10
disagree agree
4. I leam something about myself when I write.
123456789 10
disagree agree
5. Writing reveals too much about me, as a person .
1 23456789 10
disagree agree
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6. I have confidence In myself In general.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
disagree agree
7. 1 am anxious about writing even If 1 am the only one who will read It.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 B 9 10
disagree agree
8. 1 1 have the skills necessary to produce good writing.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 e 9 10
disagree agree
9. 1 don't like other people to read my writing.
1 2 3 4 5 disagree 6 7 e 9 10 agree
10. 1 avoid writing.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
disagree agree
11. 1 like seeing my thoughts on paper.
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
disagree agree
12. 1 rarely have Ideas worth writing about.
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
disagree agree
13. 1 would prefer to have my writing evaluated by a person of the same sex.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
disagree agree
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14. I need other people's suggestions In order to Improve my writing.
123456769 10
disagree agree
15. Writing allows me to truly express myself
1 23456769 10
disagree agree
Other comments you would like to make:.
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Linh Giang
English 1010
APPENDIX C
Just Wait and Sec
I am going to write about how I consider myself as a
writer. Mostly, I will focus on my fears and anxiety of
writing.
I know I have interesting ideas and topics to write
about. But I never seem to write what I mean. The meaning
is somehow twisted in knots from the original thought. Part
of the reason, I believe, is that the right words never
comes to mind when I am writing. The thesaurus does not
help me much, because it is either the wrong word or I do
not know how to use it.
My second problem, I think contribute to my first one,
is my fear of writing down what I feel. When I am writing,
I constantly think about what others might think or does it
sound weird or will they laugh at me. I try and try to
block those voices, but am not able to do so. I do not want
anybody reading it. You see, I come from a large family,
the word privacy does not exist in our book. I tried
keeping a diary once, my sisters found it and laughed. That
is the reason why I keep things inside. Expressing my
thoughts about everything else is easy, but it is just my
feelings that I am having trouble with. I think it sounds
silly when I do open up to anybody. I am getting off track
88


:e. So anyway, the possibility of having people laugh in
face scares me.
The last problem I have is with organization. There is
>t too much ideas cram into that little space of mine. I
re so much I want to say, but write too slow for my
>ughts. So then, some of my good ideas fly away and I
rer get to see it again. When I was reading that
:tbook by Murray, I noticed a few good hints. The first
[gestion that he gave was to carry a daybook. It does not
re to be a notebook, just something small and handy that
ild fit in pockets. Then, write down stuff that you hear
the streets or anywhere that sparks your interest,
ond, do not write in complete sentences. Jot down words
ideas that you would remember, something you would only
erstand. If it helps, draw pictures of what you see. I
ed doing that once, except it was on a napkin. I did not
e a pad then. It is fun to see what I was thinking, what
mulate that feeling, and what I remember by those few
ds.
All in all, I think my writing skill is average. If I
tinue to write, I have a feeling that all I want to say
1 be on paper one day. My goal is to not be ashamed or
about my inner feelings. Once that wall is torn apart,
writing will take off in a new direction. It will
lore new horizon never dare touched before by me. I am
ited about being able to take that wall down one day.
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APPENDIX D
Linh Giang Interview Transcript
SG: If you had to describe yourself, just in general, what would you say?
LG: Um, I dont know. Reliable.
SG: Reliable. Okay. Anything else? You seem like a confident person?
LG: Yeah, In some stuff.
SG: In some stuff, okay. What about school stuff?
LG: Yeah. I think so.
SG: You consider yourself confident in school stuff. What about writing?
LG: No. Not writing.
SG: So not all school stuff.
10 LG: No
SG: What school stuff do you feel good about?
LG: I guess, like biology, like science or math -1 get good grades.
SG: So everything but writing?
LG: Yeah I guess so.
SG: And what about writing?
LG: No its harder for me.
SG: Okay. You feel like your a good student because you get good grades
then ...
LG: yeah, basically.
SG: Okay, if were going to focus on writing, then what kind of experience
have you had with that, other than the fact that I know youre in my class?
20 LG: What do you mean?
SG: Well, have you done a lot of writing in school, in high school, at
home, whatever?
LG: Well in high school. I took three years of English, I was in the AP
classes.
SG: And you got good grades.
LG: Yeah.
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SG: Do you ever does anyone in your family ever write? Letters or
anything ?
LG: No
30 SG: If you werent in a writing class, would you write?
LG:No.
SG: Would you avoid writing if possible?
LG:I dont know. I wouldnt choose to, I just never really do it.
SG: You wouldnt write just for the sake of writing?
LG: No.
SG: Thats all right. There arent any wrong answers or anything. So what
about when you do have to do it? When you write for class do you like it?
LG: Sure. Its kinda fun I guess. But then when I write my thoughts its
hard.
40 SG: So you like it but its hard.
LG: Yeah
SG: So you like to do it in-class but not any other time?
LG: Well, I have to, I cant avoid it.
SG: So you can do it when you have to. In other words you like it if you
can get an A, but do you actually enjoy the writing part of it itself?
LG: If I have time. I like writing I guess, but...
SG: You like to write but there is something hard about it?
LG: Yeah.
SG: Okay. Well, thats all right. I feel the same way. Do you consider
50 yourself an apprehensive writer?
LG: Yeah, I would.
SG: Well, how would you defme apprehension if you were talking about
yourself that way?
LG: Well, I guess its like its really hard to say what is really on my mind.
I can write for a class, but not what is really inside.
SG: Okay. So thats how you feel, you feel that youre apprehensive,
because you dont feel you can say whats really on your mind?
LG: I guess I can, but it never really gets out.
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SG: You feel like you have to write a ..certain way?
60 LG: Kind of.
SG: Okay.
LG: I cant write what I really (emphasized) would. I can write what someone
tells me, like school, but thats not my own stuff.
SG:So thats not you?
LG: Yeah.
SG: So what we see on the paper, that isnt really you?
LG: A little, but different.
SG: Well, if you had the time or the inkling, do you think you could write that
other stuff?
70 LG: umm
SG: It sounds like you said..(LG interrupts)
LG: Well Yeah, but someone might read it.
SG: So do you think that you would write more if people werent going to read
it?
LG: Id write it if I could hide it.
SG: Well, that reminds me of what you wrote on ..I dont know if you
remember this...last semester you wrote a paper about being apprehensive. You
said that when you were younger you kept a diary and you wrote in it all the t
ime. And then your sisters found it and read it to the family, and it (the essay)
80 said something to the effect that you would never want to write again, to hear it.
LG: Well yeah. But then, I knew my sister was going to read it. I had figured
out that they were always reading it so I wrote that way.
SG: Oh, okay. So it wasnt so much that your sisters read as it was that you
knew they would read whatever you put in there.
LG: yeah, I knew they would find it.
SG: So do you think that theres anything you could write that someone
wouldnt have to read or are you worried about someone finding what you
read?
LG: Yeah. I worry about that.
92


90
100
110
120
SG: Okay. Even if you would keep a diary know, are you afraid someone
would read it?
LG: Yeah, definitely. Someone would always find it.
SG: Thats all right. I worried about that too.
SG: Okay. So lets see. So you said you would consider yourself an
apprehensive writer. If you had to rate yourself on a scale of one to ten, with
ten being highly apprehensive and one being not very apprehensive, where
would you consider yourself?
LG: umm ..5.
SG: Smack in the middle. So thats not really apprehensive. Do you feel more
or less apprehensive depending on what type of writing youre doing?
LG: What do you mean?
SG: Well, for instance, in the class you had last semester you ran into more of
things of your own life ..things that had to do with your life and your own
experience. And at the end of the semester it was less about yourself and more
about other things, and probably in the other academic classes Youre
probably not writing about yourself. Do you feel like if youre the subject, its
about your own personal experience, that it affects how you feel about the
writing or not really?
LG: I can write, like, what I did, but I then I cant write what I feel.
SG: You dont want that to be on paper?
LG: No.
SG: Okay. So would you say that part of the reason that you dont like your
stuff to be on paper is that you dont like to look at it. Is it because whatever
your true feelings are, you dont want them to be on paper, you dont want to
look at that?
LG: I dont know.
SG: Im just asking, I have no idea.
LG: Oh, I dont know. ... if I read it then it sounds dumb.
SG: Okay. So do you think that what you have to say in writing isnt very
good?
LG: Sometimes. Or that other people wont.
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SG: Well, let me ask you this. Do you think you said you think youre a
pretty good writer;
LG: NO I didnt.
SG: Okay. Well, I thought in the beginning you said you thought you were.
LG: I dont know what I said anymore.
SG: Well, you said you took a lot of AP classes and you got pretty good
grades and that you got good grades in school.
LG: It was mostly, like, academics..
130 SG: Well, let me ask you then, do you think of yourself as a good writer?
LG: (pause)
SG: Do you want to put yourself on a scale of one to ten, if ten is a great writer
and one is a lousy writer.
LG: I dont think Im a lousy writer, but Im not a good writer either.
SG: So where would you put yourself?
LG: umm ..4.
SG: I knew that was coming, right in the middle.
LG: Well, it depends on though if I can do it.
SG: Is it a matter of time?
140 LG: Sometimes...
SG: Well, let me ask you another question. Do you think are more
apprehensive about writing than others?
LG: Yeah
SG: Do you think that male writers or female writers are likely to be more
apprehensive? just from you own experience.
LG: Male or female?
SG:Yes.
LG: Well, I think a lot of females are more expressive in their writing, so that
can make them more apprehensive.
150 SG: Theyre more what?
LG: More unsure.
SG: Could you explain that?
LG: What I just said?
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Full Text

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WRITING APPREHENSION AND WOMEN'S IDENTITY: CAUSES AND CORRELATIONS by Susan E. Gallaudet B.S., University of Colorado at Boulder, 1990 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts English 1996

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This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Susan E. Gallaudet has been approved by j'()allfle Addison OCC:::::.... Date

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Gallaudet, Susan E. (M.A., English) Writing Apprehension and Women's Identity: Causes and Correlations Thesis directed by Professor Liz Hamp-Lyons ABSTRACT The primary purpose of this thesis is to develop a full understanding of writing apprehension as a construct and as it particularly pertains to female writing students. Special interest is given to the ways in which women's identity formation affects and influences writing apprehension among some women students. The possible significance of this relationship is considered. This work includes an overview of existing research on writing apprehension and on women's identity formation. A student survey has also been conducted; its results are discussed in-depth. Conclusions illustrate the complexities of the relationship between women's identity and writing apprehension. Suggestions for further research and teaching implications are included. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. 111

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CONTENTS PAGE TABLES 4.1 Survey Results ............................................................... 49 CHAPTER 1. IN1'RODUCTION ........................................................... 1 Background .......................................................... 3 Reflection ............................................................. 4 Pu.rpose ................................................................. S 2. RESEARCH REVIEW Writing Apprehension ..................................... 10 Research on Writing Apprehension ............. 12 Causes of Writing Apprehension .................. 14 Self-Confidence ...................................... 14 Perceived Skill ........................................ 17 Attitudes and Beliefs ............................. 21 Value of the Writing Task ................... 23 Summary ............................................................. 24 3. WRITING APPREHENSION & WOMEN'S IDENTITY Identity Formation ........................................................ 26 Women's Identity .......................................................... 28 The Role of the Writer ..................................... 31 Relationship to Writing Apprehension .................. 33 IV

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Summary ......................................................................... 35 4. STUDENT SURVEY; RESULTS & DISCUSSION Educational Context ...... ...... ................ ...................... 37 Survey Instrment ........................ :; .. .......... ;................ 39 Instrument Design ............................................ 41 Discussion of Results .................................................. 47 Self-Confidence ............ .................................... 50 Perceived Skill .................... :.: ............................ 51 Message Value.................................................. 53 Writing Apprehension ...... ............................. 55 Attitudes About Writing ................. .............. 57 Survey Conclusions .......................... .......................... 58 Student Interview, Writing Sample and Discussion...................................................................... 59 5. CONCLUSIONS Implications................................................................ 70 Workshops .......................................................... 72 Student and Teacher Comments .................. 74 Pedagogy and Research................................... 79 Conclusions..................................................... 82 APPENDIX A. SELF-REFLECTIVE ESSAY INSTRUCTIONS .............. 84 B. SURVEY INSTRUMENT .................................................. 85 c. WRITING SAMPLE .......................................................... 88 v

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D. LINH GIANG TRANSCRIPT ........................................... 90 WORKS CONSill..'I'ED ....................................................................... 101 Vl

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION As a graduate student, I have been teaching composition for five semesters and have seen plenty of apprehensive writers. Since I have experienced writing apprehension myself each time I was faced with a writing task, it was easy to observe apprehension among my students. Like me, many of my students were resistant to having their work read by others and fearful of comments that might be made about their. writing by a teacher or by their peers. I listened to some of my students' voices quiver while they read, much as I had listened to my own voice shake many times before. I watched anxious faces look at me when I joined their workshop groups and when I passed back graded essays. Those faces could certainly have been my own. In many of the classes that I have taken, because I often speak out loud and share my ideas with others, people think I am a confident person. That really isn't the case though. I have always worried that what I say, and particularly what I write, will sound stupid. On many occasions I have thought I wasn't smart enough to be in graduate 1

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school; certainly, I thought; I was not as smart as the other students in my class. When it came to writing, I felt the same way. Even though I liked to write and had a pretty good attitude towards it, I always thought that my papers would be the worst ones in the class. I just didn't seem to have enough confidence in myself or in my writing to allay my fears. I dreaded the days when, as students, we would workshop each others essays. I wanted suggestions and believed that I needed them. I knew that workshops could provide me with valuable input, but I still felt very apprehensive about participating in them. In many ways, I had simply come to accept writing apprehension as a natural occurrence for me and for some of the students in my classes; I never really understood the source of my writing apprehension, or even tried to. However, recently, I have become much more aware of the role that writing apprehension can play in a composition classroom and among student writers. My heightened awareness of this anxiety and its effects occurred when I enrolled in a graduate-level writing class. In that class, I experienced a level of writing apprehension that was completely new to me. No longer was I just a graduate student who had to write one or two papers a semester, I was a writing student. I would have to think about writing, talk about writing, and share my own writing on a frequent and regular basis. In other words, I would be doing all of the things that I asked the students in my classes to do. 2

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This would prove to be an enlightening experience for me. The discomfort and apprehensiveness I felt as a writing student forced me to reconsider the significance of writing apprehension among student writers and made me want to understand this phenomenon, for my own sake as well as that of my students. Background My interest in the topic of writing apprehension started last summer. I had enrolled in a writing workshop class created especially for teachers. I was excited about the class because I hadn't been a student in a writing-centered class in a long time. I was also excited about occupying the role of a student writer and hoped I would be able to better understand my own students because of it. The class was designed in such a way that each student could determine the type of writing she or he wanted to do. I remember thinking that that would make things pretty easy. I liked to write poetry and did it frequently on my own. Since I had never really shared much of my work, I figured this would be a chance to experiment and to get some feedback from other writers. I assumed that since, despite my apprehensiveness, I had survived writing at a graduate level for over two years, and that I was teaching a 3

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composition class, that I was a decent writer and that this would be no worse than any other writing project I had tried. I was in for a shock. Suddenly, I was a writing student again. A writing student who was trying out a new kind of writing. I was in the same position my students were in when they entered their first college composition class and were expected to try their hand at college level writing. It didn't matter that I believed that I had good writing skills. Those skills might have helped me write important-sounding academic essays, but they were not helping me write poetry. I was more apprehensive than I had been in years. Every time I sat down to write, I worried about when I would have to share my writing with my workshop group, or, worse than that, the whole class. I crumpled up sheet after sheet of paper with astounding speed. I imagined all those faces crinkling up in disgust when I read my dumb little poems (which, I was convinced, was precisely what they would be). I didn't even know those people, how could I be expected to share my writing, my self, with them? Why did I feel this way? It was when I realized that I really didn't have an answer to that question, that I didn't understand the source of my own writing apprehension, that I decided to pursue this topic in greater depth. I wanted to know not only why I had felt this way, but what might cause similar feelings of apprehension and anxiety among my own students. 4

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Reflection After a good deal of thinking and writing about that experience, I had some ideas about the causes of my own writing apprehension. The first thing that I realized was that even though I had been apprehensive, I had developed some confidence in other kinds of writing. I could not seem to feel this way about poetry. I had never had any instruction on writing poetry and, though I enjoyed doing it for myself, I felt I lacked any real skill that poetry might require. This lack of confidence made the prospect of sharing my work even more terrifying. I was afraid that the poems I wrote would be inadequate, that they wouldn't be as good as the poetry that other members of the class had read somewhere else; that made me very apprehensive. I also felt very vulnerable in that class because I was trying on a new identity-poet-and having a hard time with it. Though I would normally consider myself a woman with high self-esteem and high confidence in myself, I felt insecure as a writer. This was the first time other people knew of my desire to write poetry and the first time anyone had invited me to redefine my writing identity to include that of a poet. Though my teacher and my friends encouraged me and called me a poet, it was very hard for me to see myself as such. It was my own discomfort with trying out this new role and realizing the apprehension that it caused me that made me think that this was more 5

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than just writing apprehension, that something about my own self perception was somehow involved. In hindsight, there are two reasons that have allowed me to consider that class an overall positive experience. The first reason is that writing poetry was important to me; it had value. Somewhere deep inside I had a genuine desire to write poetry; I was able to foster an attitude positive enough to help me overcome some of my anxiety. Without that sense of purpose I don't think I could have overcome my apprehension and actually written and shared poetry-and felt good about it. The second reason I consider that class a valuable experience is that I began to understand the real value of workshops. I came to see them not only as a place to get writing help, but also as a place for valuable emotional support and encouragement, things I began to believe were central to overcoming writing apprehension. As I continued to reflect on that experience and to try to make sense of it, I began to think about the students in my classes and what I knew about them and their feelings about writing. I knew that my students frequently experienced the same apprehension about writing that I had. And, while I couldn't be sure, I hoped that the new perspective I had developed on writing apprehension would allow me to view their experiences in a more insightful manner. I recalled how often my students said they hated reading their stuff out loud and how they would avoid that whenever possible. I remembered that even as 6

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semesters progressed and people began to get more comfortable with each other, many students, especially many female students, remained apprehensive about their writing and about sharing it with others. I entered the fall semester with hopes of gaining a better understanding of what caused writing apprehension among women and how that was a unique situation, different than what male students experienced. I noticed by the way they looked at the floor and grumbled when I asked for volunteers, that all of my students, both male and female, were nervous about having to read out loud. However, I began to notice a difference between the apprehension and anxiety of male and female students. I began to notice that the women students in my class seemed concerned that nobody would think what they wrote was worth anything. I frequently heard the females discredit their work before they even read it. As I listened to my female students say, "I know this sounds stupid," or "This probably isn't right," I started to wonder if the difference was in the way female students perceived the value of their writing. I had seen this pattern from other female students I had taught, and had definitely felt that way myself when writing poetry. It seemed logical that the cause of women's writing apprehension had something to do with the writer's sense of self, with their identity. I remember wondering why, when I tended to think the women students would be the better writers, was it the guys in the class who were least resistant to sharing their work? And why did my female 7

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students who were good writers and got good grades so often devalue their work before even reading it by saying something like, "I don't really like it" or "This isn't very good"? My male students did not behave this way; in fact, although eager volunteers to read their work they were not, they rarely said anything that indicated concern about what they were reading or about what anyone would think of it. For women, it seemed that acquired skill was not the cause of their, or my own, writing apprehension, but that writing apprehension among women had deeper and more complex origins than that. Because the behavior of my women students so closely echoed my own behavior and differed from the behavior of my male students, possible differences between genders seemed worth exploring. Purpose I was coming to believe that women's identity was in fact a central issue to understanding women's writing apprehension. My female students, like me, seemed to lack confidence in themselves and in their writing. Many of the women students in my classes didn't think people would be interested in what they wrote and were reluctant to expose themselves in writing. This, more than any lack of skill, seemed to cause them to be apprehensive about their writing. Because their own individual self-esteem and sense of self seemed to 8

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be underlying each of these anxieties, I knew that women's identity was somehow related to women's writing apprehension; that somehow, how women have developed and the sense of self that they bring to each writing experience affects their writing apprehension. My primary goal, then, is to explore the possible relationship between women's identity and the causes of writing apprehension. My initial focus is on developing an understanding of the causes of writing apprehension (Chapter Two) and an understanding of women's identity formation (Chapter Three). This will build a foundation for considering this relationship as it might pertain to women in general. From that general perspective, my focus will narrow.-In Chapter Four, I will discuss these issues in light of results of the empirical research which I conducted in freshman composition classes at an urban campus. In the final chapter, I will broaden my focus slightly and present conclusions and possible implications of this work. 9

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CHAPTER2. RESEARCH REVIEW The fact that some people are nervous or apprehensive when faced with a writing task is well known. Writing teachers and writing students have probably been cognizant of that for quite some time. However, according to Daly and Wilson, "only recently have systematic investigations probed the nature, correlates, and consequences of this tendency" (327). Much of the research on writing apprehension gained momentum in 1975 when John Daly initiated the first empirical study designed to assess writing apprehension among college students. Partly the result of Daly's initial work, writing apprehension is now generally accepted as a construct that exists and one that affects writers in a variety of ways (Empirical Development 255-256). Writing Apprehension Anxiety about writing, writing apprehension, "is generally understood to mean negative, anxious feelings (about oneself as a 10

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writer, one's writing situation, or one's writing task) that disrupt some part of the writing process" (McLeod 427). Apprehension is the feeling of anxiety that overcomes many people when they are instructed to compose; even those who say they love to write are likely to have some anxiety about it (McLeod 427). The term "writing apprehension," coined by Daly, is defined by him as "the individual difference characterized by a general avoidance of writing and situations perceived by the individual to require some amount of writing with the potential for evaluation of that writing" (Writing Apprehension zn the Classroom 37). Daly and Miller note that apprehension is a "pervasive anxiety trait that seriously affects a large proportion of the population" (243). Apprehension includes issues of fear, anxiety and enjoyment towards writing. And, because responses to survey questions about fear of writing, anxiety towards writing, and enjoyment of writing yielded identical responses (Daly, Writing Apprehension 69) the term apprehension can be used as an all inclusive one. While even the best writers are likely to experience some degree of writing apprehension, their apprehension might be relatively low. In contrast, according to Daly and Shamo's 1976 research, highly apprehensive writers are likely to avoid writing situations whenever possible, and perhaps even make career choices which require little writing (56). Likewise, individuals who experience high levels of writing apprehension also "tend to be lower in their self-concept than 1 1

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others" (Daly and Miller 243). Low-apprehensives on the other hand are not likely to avoid writing; they may actually enjoy writing while still having some apprehension about it. Low-apprehensives might experience apprehension in some areas but not in others, while high apprehensives are likely to become anxious about any writing situation. Overall, Daly's research concludes that apprehension seems to generally increase for all writers when the likelihood for evaluation is high (see Daly, 1975, 1979, 1981 & 1985). While most writing apprehension research to date has focused on recognizing apprehension, assessing apprehension and developing ways to reduce apprehension, some important work has also been done on understanding the origins of the construct and exploring relationships between these causes and the writer's individual personality. Research on Writing Apprehension Much of the existing research on writing apprehension has focused on quantitative, concrete, and measurable factors. A considerably smaller amount of research has focused on the feelings and emotions associated with writing apprehension and their relationship to the individual writer. And, while one or two studies have begun to consider gender's relationship to writing apprehension, 12

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no .research that I am aware of has fully explored gender differences between apprehensive writers. In John Daly's contribution to Mike Rose's Book, When A Writer Can't Write, he notes that there has been "surprisingly little research" on developing an understanding of how and why apprehension develops and encourages work on the causes of writing apprehension to continue (61). Although existing research on causes of writing apprehension can easily be divided into two categories, cognitive or emotional, these two categories interact in a holistic manner (McLeod 430). This interaction between cognitive and emotional factors is also reflected in much of Daly's writing apprehension research; however, both McLeod and Daly clearly recognize the strength of the writer's affective domain and its ability to influence the writer's feelings about writing. Generally speaking, writing apprehension research that has focused on issues related to the writer's affective domain has identified several significant causes of writing apprehension. One underlying cause is the writer's fear of evaluation. Another common cause of writing apprehension is lack of confidence, both in one's self as a writer and in one's perceived skill. Other issues that influence a writer's feelings about writing are his or her past experiences, beliefs and attitudes about writing, and the perceived value of the writing task. While it is difficult to say exactly how or why these issues vary among individuals, it is my belief that the identity of the writer, as will be 13

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defined and discussed in Chapter Three, informs these feelings about writing and in turn affects their level of writing apprehension. Causes of Writing Apprehension In the following sections I will provide an overview of existing research on the specific causes of general writing apprehension among both male and female writers. Presently, 1 am unaware of any writing apprehension research that has focused specifically on women but, as will be discussed in the next chapter, I believe that many of the causes of writing apprehension among women are closely related to the identity of the writer. Self-Confidence Nearly all of the authors included m Rose's book agree that the affective domain is as important to understanding writing apprehension as the cognitive issues and that understanding the role of a writer's emotions is tantamount to understanding her writing apprehension. One factor that greatly influences the writer's feelings is her general level of self-confidence or self-esteem. Self-esteem, according to Wigfield and Karpathian, is how an individual feels about specific attributes (235). 14

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As Daly stated in his definition of writing apprehension, fear of evaluation is common among apprehensive writers. Fear of evaluation seems to suggest a lack of confidence in the writing produced. This insecurity further suggests that more confidence and higher self-esteem would reduce fear of evaluation, and subsequently, writing apprehension. This connection between self-confidence and writing apprehension is also supported by Daly and Wilson's 1983 article, "Writing Apprehension, Self-Esteem and Personality." Here, the authors conclude that the way a person feels about herself is related to the way she writes (333). Daly and Wilson agree that if the writer has high self-esteem she is likely to feel good about her writing and probably be less apprehensive about her writing than someone with low self-esteem. They note that, "teachers indicate, for instance, that students who are apprehensive about writing also tend to feel comparatively less positive about themselves than.others" (329). Daly and Wilson's research lends further credence to the important relationship between self-concept and writing apprehension: "There is a statistically meaningful and inverse association between writing apprehension and the people feel about themselves" (333). In chapter Three of When A Writer Can't Write, Daly again notes the connection between and writing apprehension. He reports that in his 1983 study he did find a correlation between general self-esteem and writing apprehension, and a particularly strong correlation among writing-specific self-esteem and apprehension (49). 15

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Frank Pajares and Margaret Johnson also further acknowledge the importance of the relationship between self-esteem and writing apprehension in their 1994 article "Confidence & Competence in Writing." Here, the authors point out that there is a connection between self-esteem and writing apprehension. This study found that a student with high self-esteem is likely to be less apprehensive about writing than a student with low self-esteem (322).The study also reveals that a student with high self-confidence is likely to expect success, while the student with low self-confidence expects failure. The expected failure of a -highly apprehensive writer may actually become self-fulfilling for the student and result in the failure they originally feared (Pajares and Johnson 313). Though the precise relationship between a writer's self-confidence and her writing apprehension is not clear, the Pajares and Johnson study offers strong support that a relationship does exist. Several other studies support their primary contention that self-confidence and writing apprehension are related (Daly; McCarthy; Selfe), thereby suggesting that the writer's identity is always relevant. In terms of its relationship to identity, I believe that self-esteem and confidence are particularly important in the case of women writers. According to Belenky et al., women in general are strongly influenced and shaped through their connections with others; therefore, it is important for teachers to help maintain and increase self-esteem among female writers in order to reduce writing 16

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apprehension. The need for a focus on developing women's self esteem in particular is supported by Wigfield and Karpathian's study of adolescents. The study found that boys consistently ranked themselves higher on self-esteem than did girls (245). Similar results will be discussed in-depth in Chapter Four. The belief that self-esteem is an important factor to consider when studying apprehension is, in many ways, an underlying issue in most studies of the affective domain and writing apprehension (McLeod 432; Daly 44-48; Daly and Wilson 327; Schunk 212; Pajares and Johnson 318). Whether the researchers are focusing on the writer's skills, her previous experiences or her general attitude, how she feels about herself is always involved. Studies that stress the significance of the relationship between the affective domain and writing apprehension (McLeod; Selfe; Daly) recognize that the writer's identity is always relevant. Perceived Skill While it may have once been believed that simply practicing writing and acquiring good skills would eliminate writing apprehension, the solution to reducing writing apprehension is no longer considered in such simplistic terms: Daly himself notes, "The procedure commonly used of forcing students to write is very likely the 17

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wrong choice of treatments" (Empirical Development 248). In fact, writing apprehension cannot be avoided simply by having a wealth of writing skill and knowledge. There is much more to it than that. While the degree to which writing apprehension may incapacitate a writer might be related to the writer's actual skill level, the fact that both experienced and inexperienced writers suffer from writing apprehension indicates it is not solely dependent on the skills a writer possesses or believes she possesses (Smith 3). In addition to the writer's general self-esteem, the student's perception of her ability is also an important affective issue .to consider when trying to understand writing apprehension. In When A Writer Can't Write, Daly states his firm belief in the importance of perceived skill and its connection to the personality traits of the writer: Too often we think of cognition as separate from emotion, as if cognitive processes could be understood independently of affective ones, and vice versa. But this is clearly not the case. What people think is affected by what they feel, and what they feel is affected by what they think. (33) Daly's belief that apprehension finds roots in the individual's self perception and emotional disposition towards the writing task is not an uncommon one. What Daly suggests is that a writer cannot feel good about their writing, cannot avoid apprehension, if they do not think they are good at it. In Dale Schunk's article, "Self-Efficacy and Academic Motivation," the author suggests that if a student believes he or she has the skills necessary to accomplish a task, his or her chances 18

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and rate of success are higher than a student who believes she or he lacks the necessary skills (220). This type of skill-dependent motivation is called self-efficacy. According to Schunk, self-efficacy means that our success at a given task is predicated by our belief in our ability to succeed at that task. An increased number of experiences where a belief in success is followed by an actual success will result in increased self efficacy, which will in turn increase the likelihood for future successes. This pattern of predicted success is, by increasing self-confidence, likely to minimize a writer's apprehension. The central tenet to Schunk's research on self-efficacy suggests that what a writer believes herself or himself to be capable of is of more importance to that writer's confidence and subsequent ability to reduce apprehension than the actual skills she or he possesses. This does not imply that skills are not important, simply that the mental disposition of the writer plays a larger role in determining and controlling writing apprehension than do the actual skills possessed. Schunk's beliefs indicate that the writer's self-confidence would directly affect his or her attitude about writing and that the resulting disposition will affect the writer's level of apprehension: "Self-concept is a global construct comprising self-efficacy and other aspects of the self. Of self-concept's various dimensions, self-confidence seems most akin to self-efficacy" (212). His research suggests that increased levels of apprehension will negatively affect the writing effort and possibly the final product. 19

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McCarthy, Meier, and Rinderer use the basic concept of self efficacy to explore how it specifically pertains to writing apprehension. These authors note that one primary causal factor for a writer's self efficacy is her or his previous experiences with success and feedback on her writing. The student whose past writing experiences are perceived as successes is able to maintain high self-efficacy and lower apprehension, while the student who perceives her writing experiences to be failures will experience lower self-efficacy. It is important to note that both Schunk and McCarthy et al.'s primary concern is with the writer's perceived skill as opposed to actual skill. Other research (Daly; McLeod; Kellogg) also supports the idea that belief and attitude towards writing is as significant, if not more significant, than the actual learned skills that a writer possesses. Both studies, Schunk and McCarthy et al., draw our attention to the importance of past experiences and their likely impact on a writer's self-perception. Other studies (Smith; Rose; Selfe; Bloom; Daly; Hollandsworth) also support the idea that a student's writing history determines self-efficacy and is directly related to the writer's level of writing apprehension. For example, in her chapter in Rose's book, Bloom specifically deals with women's self-efficacy and perceptions of themselves as they affect their writing. Bloom presents two case studies on women graduate students and their struggle to complete their theses. In both cases, it is the woman's perception of her writing ability and her perception of herself as a writer that enables or prohibits 20

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completion of the project. Bloom discusses the many influences on the women's perception of their skill and urges the roots of self-perception and its effect on writing apprehension to aiways be taken into account when researching or studying the apprehensive writer (131-132). Attitudes and Beliefs The writer's general attitude arid her beliefs, a part of the writer's identity, are also connected to writing apprehension. The attitude of the apprehensive writer has been given a lot of attention (McLeod; Daly; Pajares). According to Daly, a significant correlation between attitude and writing apprehension does exist (48). Daly believes that having a bad attitude towards writing will negatively predispose him or her to the task, thereby adding to existing apprehension. In When A Writer Can't Write, Daly's report of his numerous surveys and studies reveals "The more positive the students' attitude about writing, the more they reported satisfaction, perceived improvement, and interest" (51). A writer's attitude or disposition towards the task at hand is shaped in several ways. As already discussed, the writer's general self concept or confidence contributes significantly to her attitude. Past experience with positive or negative feedback also affects the writer's 21

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attitude towards writing. Attitudes are based on beliefs, expectations, and feelings based on past experiences (Cothern and Collins 88). Both Daly and McLeod believe the writer's attitude and predisposition are important affective issues for the apprehensive writer. Daly reports an inverse correlation between the writer's apprehension level and his or her disposition or attitude. Obviously, if a student is apprehensive about writing she will not have a good attitude, so until the writer's attitude changes, the negative predisposition will continue to problematize her own anxieties. Though efforts to foster a positive attitude will not automatically reduce writing apprehension, these efforts are an important step in the process (Daly, Writing Apprehension 70-74). As mentioned above, attitudes are closely tied to and interdependent on the writer's beliefs. In McLeod's article,."Some Thoughts About Feelings: The Affective Domain and the Writing Process," the author points out that every student who enters the classroom already has an established set of beliefs that affects her view of herself as a writer: "Our students come to us with a great many beliefs about writing which diminish their perception of their own skills as writer" (429). Cultural beliefs like: "good writers do not struggle but wait until inspiration visits; writing skills equal editing skills; and, the study of grammar will make you a better writer" (429) can certainly foster writing apprehension in any writer who believes that he or she lacks any of these traits. McLeod's point about students' 22

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beliefs is highly relevant to the possible relationship between identity and writing apprehension because an individual's belief system is a big part of who they are both as individuals and as writers. Teacher Expectations. Teacher expectations are an influential part of students' attitudes and beliefs which affect their writing Teacher expectations have been shown to have significant impact on the apprehensive writer. Awareness of teacher expectations are linked to both a student's motivation and her attitude (McLeod 431; Daly, Writing Apprehension 52). Daly's research has found that women students have likely had more success as writers and have been responded to more favorably by teachers than male students have (Writing Apprehension 52). The result of this is that teachers may in fact have higher expectations of women writers, thereby increasing those writers' apprehension. The student, fearful that she cannot meet the increasingly high expectations, becomes increasingly apprehensive as her student writing career continues. Value of the Writing Task A student's writing apprehension is also affected by his or her perceived value of the writing task. The purpose of the writing task and its perceived value are also related to feelings of apprehension. 23

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Though the importance of the writing is difficult to quantify, some theories (McLeod; McCarthy; Schunk) suggest that the student's perceived value of the writing task and writing apprehension are closely tied. McLeod's essay makes a strong case for the importance of recognizing what occurs at the emotional level when a writer writes and how this defines the value of the task for the writer. McLeod suggests that writing apprehension may be more easily overcome if the writer sees value in the writing he or she is performing. The author suggests that if the writing task is meaningful and the writer recognizes it as personally valuable, her desire to accomplish the task may be strong enough to motivate her to try to overcome her writing apprehension. However, like many of the other causes of writing apprehension already mentioned, increasing the task value in order to reduce apprehension ultimately hinges on the self-confidence and self esteem of the writer. Summary As this overview of writing apprehension research demonstrates, writing apprehension is highly influenced by the affective domain and the individual emotions of a writer. Self confidence, perceived skill, attitude & beliefs, the value of the writing, and their relationship to writing apprehension are significant causes of 24

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writing apprehension. Exposing the affective domain as central to a writer's level of apprehensive is crucial not only in order to deal with writing apprehension effectively, but also to clarify the possible relationship between a writer's identity and her writing apprehension. Both Pajares & and McLeod recognize a need for developing a "theory of affect" (313; 431), a theory that would, according to Pajares & Johnson, "help students understand how their affective processes may inform their writing" (316). (Presumably teachers would also benefit from such a theory.) The call for broadening the perspective from which writing apprehension is viewed and developing new theories is encouraging. As the research and studies discussed in this chapter illustrate, because the relationship between the affective domain and writing apprehension is complex much work remains to be done. This research provides general knowledge of what writing apprehension is and what some of its causes are; the specific relationship between these causes and women's identity is explored in the following chapters. 25

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CHAPTER3 WRITING APPREHENSION & WOMEN'S IDENTITY Research presented in Chapter Two has suggested that a writer's affective domain plays a fundamental role in his or her writing apprehension. The previous chapter has also demonstrated a strong association between the causes of writing apprehension and the emotions, feelings and personality of the writer. This association, as will be shown in this chapter, implicates a relationship between the identity of the writer and writing apprehension. The ultimate goal of this chapter is to establish how women's identity formation relates to writing apprehension. Identity Formation The term 'identity,' according to Robert Brooke in Writing and Sense of Self, refers to the characterization of the self as an individual and as a social construct (12). In his introductory section, Brooke states that identity and sense of self, are "formed through interaction with 26

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society" (12). This means that the development and evolution of identity are not completely controlled by the individual, but are influenced by forces outside of the individual like family, society, and culture. The process of internalizing the beliefs associated with these external forces is the basis of identity formation. Brooke's "identity negotiation" theory focuses on the complexities involved in identity formation within the social world. He believes that the dynamic nature of identity as a construct forces individuals to constantly negotiate their sense of self. Developing a sense of self becomes a series :of "attempts to mitigate the clash between opposing forces, to compromise between conflicting camps, to satisfy groups with different demands" (12). In his discussion of how this plays out within a writing classroom or writingworkshop, he expresses the difficulties this can generate for young and relatively immature college composition students (11). Although Brooke does not deal specifically with gender issues or differences, I believe that the "mitigation," and "compromise" he refers to, and the conflicts implicit in them are, in fact, the fundamental connections between women's identity and writing apprehension. The following section explores women's identity as it is formed and influenced by forces outside the individual. 27

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Women's Identity Women's identity, when used as a collective term, represents the ways in which women's interactions with the world around them have informed and influenced their own perceptions of who they are. Recognizing the influential role that society and a woman's interaction with it has on identity formation is crucial to comprehending the nature of women's identity and its relationship to writing apprehension. While differences certainly exist among the identities of individual women, some commonalties have shaped the identities of women in general. In Women's Ways of Knowing, Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, and Tarule are particularly concerned with revealing the significance not only of how the outside world affects women's identity formation, but why that influence takes on special significance for women. The authors believe that social influences on women's identity evolve from within the dominant ideology-patriarchy. Additionally, because patriarchy has historically subjugated women's knowledge, developing a strong sense of individual self within a male-dominated world has been a difficult task for many women (Belenky et al. 5). Both Belenky et al. and Brooke situate individual knowledge as subject to social forces. The fact that all "conceptions of knowledge and truth that are articulated today have been shaped throughout history by the maledominated majority culture" (Belenky et al. 5) explicates the ways in 28

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which the social environment has occluded women's power for self definition. The conflicts that this male-dominated social environment creates for women's identity formation are exposed by Belenky et al.'s important text. The authors establish five categories of knowing, discuss the different kinds of knowledge identities that women develop, and profile some women within each group. The different categories reflect the balance between a sense of self that has been formed with knowledge and awareness of society's influence on identity, and a sense of self that is predominately an identity constructed outside the self .. The optimal position to occupy is that of a "constructed knower," a woman who has established a healthy balance between knowledge that the world around her has presented and knowledge that she has constructed for herself (Belenky et al. 131-152). The key to controlling this balance, according to the authors, lies in the location of knowledge. If a woman can see herself as a source of knowledge, she has the power to call into question what might otherwise appear to be a truth. In one situation, when the participant was asked to describe herself, she replied, "I don't know ... no one has told me yet what they have thought of me" (31). Although this was presented as a rare situation, it demonstrates how the location of knowledge influences self-identity. In this case, the woman did not see herself as a source for any knowledge; she had allowed herself to be completely defined by others. Her understanding was that knowledge, 29

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even of who she was as an individuat was something that existed outside of herself. This woman had accepted a "truth" that the male dominated society had articulated-a "truth" that said knowledge about her own identity was not located within her. In her case, dominant ideology subordinated her identity. While not all women's identity and location of knowledge are this far out of balance, the role of external forces on many women's sense of self and identity development, cannot be underestimated. The authors' concern for women's identity. formation is clear: our basic assumptions about the nature of truth and reality and the origins of knowledge shape the way we see the world and ourselves as participants in it. They affect our definitions of ourselves, the way we interact with others, our public and private personae, our sense of control over life events, .... (1) This is precisely the reality from which Belenky et al. establish their perspective on women's identity. The authors demand an exploration of the "origins of knowledge" and in so doing clarify how women's knowledge is unique in its relationship to their identity. It seems that, unlike men, many women typically see knowledge as something which exists outside of themselves and therefore have little faith in themselves as knowledge producers. Doubting their own sense of knowledge makes resistance to other knowledge more difficult for some women and serves to reinforce the socially constructed identity of 'other' that has typically been assigned to women. 30

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In the context of identity formation, knowledge can simply be defined as authority over the dispensation, construction, and reception of "truth." The absence of women in positions of authority, in positions to say what is "true" and what isn't, further complicates women's ability to resist the negative beliefs that hinder their identity formation. As a woman's identity evolves through socialization, she either accepts roles and identities that are assigned to her, or she realizes that knowledge and truth are also constructed and that they can therefore be deconstructed. Location of knowledge and possession of it ultimately regulate external forces on identity formation. Belenky et al.'s knowledge of women's identity formation and the lack of confidence that can result begins to illustrate how connected women's identity and writing apprehension can be. The Role of Writer As a writing teacher, I hope that the identity of "writer" will be among the many identities that my students will accept for themselves. However, as the previous discussion has shown, centuries of educational practice have limited the availability of the 'writer' role to women students. According to Joanna Russ, author of How to Suppress Women's Writing, while women have been writing for just as long as men, the value of women's writing and of women as writers has been obfuscated in a variety of ways (5). This brief but pointed 31

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observation draws attention to the first connection between women's identity and writing apprehension; the "truth" that history provides is that women are not writers. In fact, feminist theory largely agrees that writing has provided women with a voice and a sense of power that was otherwise inaccessible to them. However, what is also widely agreed is that the value of what women have to say or to write about is not validated by society's dominant ideology. Only in the latter half of the twentieth century have women writers been integrated into classrooms and rewritten into history, and this has not been a simple undertaking. While women writers from earlier eras slowly become recognized as intellectual contributors, women's identities continue to be formed within a culture which has historically devalued women's intellectual capacity, and their writing in particular. Bloom's discussion of the two women graduate student who had troubles completing their theses illustrates this point well. Conflicts that arose from trying to write from the context of their lives as women, wives, and mothers and against their socialization into these roles, made full participation in the role of academic writer very hard for both of them. These women had to mitigate the clash between asserting themselves as knowledge producers and remaining in their knowledge receiving roles. One woman was successful in overcoming her anxieties and apprehensions about writing; the other woman, according to Bloom, is "never likely to finish" (130). Many women writers in college 32

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classrooms probably bring a very similar history of socialization with them (McLeod 430), consciously or unconsciously, that needs to be challenged. Relationship to Writing Apprehension Most research and discussion of writing apprehension has only focused on the causes of writing apprehension as they apply to both male and female students in general. The broad scope of this kind of practice has neglected to consider how issues of difference between male and female students factor into individual students' feelings about writing and writing apprehension. The justification for expanding the boundaries of research on writing apprehension is simple: Recognizing characteristics unique to women and studying writing apprehension within the context of women's identity becomes, for women, an emancipatory study based on difference, and one that can focus on individual's needs. Many of the causes of writing apprehension take on new meaning when considered from a perspective that includes women's identity. For example, Belenky et al. believe that women's confidence in themselves as knowers is jeopardized by the influence that male dominated society has had on women's identity (228), yet confidence and high self-esteem are needed to reduce writing apprehension (see 33

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Chapter Two). During their research, Belenky et al. found that women without a strong sense of self-many of those they interviewed-are vulnerable to impacts by people in positions of authority (49). In a college-level classroom where women are still discovering themselves, how can a teacher's evaluation not affect a female student's selfesteem? Confidence and perceived skill are closely tied within both women's and writing apprehension. McLeod discusses the significance of both male and female students' perceived control of their successes or failures in relationship to writing apprehension: "Some students perceive their successes and failures in writing as controlled by outside forces such as luck or the teacher, while others tend to see the same results as stemming from their own capabilities" (429). Belenky et al. also address this issue; however, their focus is exclusively on women. While both authors agree that believing oneself to be in control is crucial to enhancing confidence in oneself and in one's abilities, it is Belenky et al.'s work that illustrates the significance of controlled knowledge in relation to women's identity. They note the frequency with which women "underestimate their abilities" and how they tend to believe that acceptance of their knowledge is "a fluke" (196). In other words, women's identity formation has impaired women's ability to see themselves as knowledge producers and has fostered a low level of self-efficacy among women. This suggests that women's lack of perceived skill and 34

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their beliefs about themselves as knowledge sources might be detrimental to their general attitude and disposition towards a writing task, particularly if their writing is going to be evaluated. Summary The results and effects of women's identity formation, as have been discussed, and their similarity to the causes of writing apprehension, as discussed in Chapter Two, implies that an integral connection between the female writer and writing apprehension exists. This knowledge is important because of its ability to inform theories about and regarding writing apprehension. By broadening the horizon of study to include not just the student and her individual feelings of apprehension towards writing, but also how forces outside the student affect those feelings, a better perspective from which to view writing apprehension among female students is created. Given this background and the relationship between writing apprehension and the affective domain that was presented in Chapter Two, the importance of understanding issues like self-confidence, self esteem, perceived skill, attitudes, beliefs, and, beyond all these, identity, becomes clear. The following chapter offers evidence of the connections between women's identity and writing apprehension. 35

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CHAPTER4 STUDENT SURVEY: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The motivation behind my research and this thesis is to gain a better understanding of how a woman's identity is related to writing apprehension. I came to this site of inquiry via my own experience with writing apprehension and through close reflection on that experience. In the course of my research, while I found valuable work on writing apprehension and its fundamental roots within the affective domain, I found little work that dealt with my particular focus; namely, the relationship between a woman's identity and her writing apprehension. I decided to take advantage of my involvement in a composition community and conduct some research of my own. My original plan was to conduct only a student survey, but as my own awareness of these issues heightened, I became particularly interested in Linh Giang, one of my female students, and her apparent writing apprehension. Having had several conversations with Linh, and having read a piece of writing by her that suggested a possible connection between her own identity and her writing apprehension, I 36

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also conducted an interview with her. Both the survey, Linh's essay and the interview are discussed in following sections. Educational Context At the close of the fall semester, I conducted a student survey among all the core composition classes offered at the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD). UCD is a state-supported, urban, non residential university with a high percentage of non-traditional students. The school is located in the center of Denver. UCD is not an open admissions university, but students are allowed to take classes through extended studies programs and without being enrolled as a degree seeking student. I distributed my survey in all English 1020 classes that were being offered the fall semester. of 1995. English 1020 is a required class for all university students and the first class within a three-course series of composition requirements. Most students take this class as freshmen in the first year that they are enrolled; however, the classes may have some sophomore, junior, and senior-level undergraduates as well. The core composition classes, mainly taught by graduate students, have many goals. Some of these include developing basic writing skills, organization, focus, increasing audience awareness, developing voice, and generally. helping to prepare students for future academic writing tasks, and developing. The University of Colorado at Denver uses a 37

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. portfolio assessment system which requires students to submit a -portfolio of the best work that they have produced during the semester: the show portfolio is the culmination of the student's semester of work. After the students have prepared their portfolio to the best of their ability, they are required to write an in-class self-reflective essay. This essay asks the student to discuss how she or he feels about her or his writing, herself /himself as a writer, and her or his experience in the writing class (see Appendix A for essay instructions). Because this type of self-reflective writing requires a high level of introspection and metacognition, I chose to distribute my survey immediately following the completion of the self-reflective essay. I believe that-the students were particularly self-aware from having just written about themselves as writers, and in a good frame of mind to answer questions regarding their general feelings about writing. While the overall purpose of the survey was to gain a general understanding of how students felt about writing and about themselves as writers, my particular interest was in comparing the responses of female students to those of male students on questions which specifically dealt with issues of apprehension, self confidence, and identity. The survey was given to students in each of the seventeen composition courses offered that semester. Though students were not required to participate, all the students who were in attendance on the day that the survey was handed out did willingly comply. Students 38

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were informed that they would remain anonymous and that their responses would not be seen by their instructor and would in no way affect their grade. Additionally, students were informed that the purpose of the survey was to gather data from students and that results of the data would likely be included in my thesis. The total sample size was 306 students; 177 females and 129 males. The majority of respondents, both male and female, were between sixteen and twenty years old. The second largest age bracket of respondents was 21-25 with a small percentage of respondents twenty six and older. Survey Instrument Reading about the Daly /Miller Writing Apprehension scale was the catalyst to my decision to conduct my own student survey. The Daly /Miller WAS consists of 26 questions that deal specifically with writing apprehension. The Daly /Miller WAS is widely recognized as a reliable and effective tool for measuring levels of writing apprehension among students; responses to it allow researchers to determine if a student is a "high" or "low" apprehensive. Use of the Daly /Miller instrument has been instrumental to furthering writing apprehension research. However, because my goal was not only to measure levels of 39

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apprehension among UCD students, the survey I implemented was designed with different goals in mind. The survey instrument that I utilized, like the Daly /Miller WAS, was self-evaluative and asked students to gauge their level of agreement or disagreement with 15 statements; in addition, this survey instrument was designed to gather information on writing apprehension, self-confidence, feelings about oneself as a writer, student.identity and the students' perceived writing skill; its focus was not limited to measuring degrees of apprehension. The survey provided a Likert scale for response with each individual statement. The continuum ranged from 110, where 1 equaled "strongly disagree," and 10 equaled "strongly agree." Appendix B contains a copy of the survey instrument. Survey questions were arranged so that a student could not develop a pattern of response for a group of questions, but that she or he would have to look at each statement individually. For example, an apprehensive student would be likely to strongly agree with several of the statements ("I avoid writing") and strongly disagree with others ("I feel good about the writing I produce"). Statements where the expected response would be positive-strongly agree-were intermixed with statements which were expected to generate a negative response. The intent was to avoid allowing a participant to respond in the same way to a group of statements and to force students to respond to and to consider specific questions. 40

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The statements included in the survey were designed to get information on several specific issues: self-confidence; perceived skill; beliefs about message value; general writing apprehension; and feelings about writing in general. The following section details the rationale behind each item as well as the information each item was expected to gamer. Instrument Design Item 1: "I feel good about the writing I produce." I wanted to determine if students were confident in their writing products. I also wanted to find out if there was a difference in the level of confidence in the final product between male and female students. I thought that a strong agreement with this statement would reflect the students' confidence level in their own writing. I also thought that if women students responded with less confidence, it would support the connection between their identity and causes of writing apprehension. Item 2: "Writing for an audience makes me nervous." Responses to this question might reflect a number of things about the student writer. However, because writing for an audience implies that some form of evaluation will take place, and because apprehensive writers, according to Daly, are fearful of having their 41

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writing evaluated, I thought responses to this statement would offer insight to students' general level of apprehension. Strong agreement with this statement would reflect behavior typical of an apprehensive writer. Item 3: 1/What I write is interesting for others to read." This question was intended to discover any differences which might exist between male and female writers about the perceived value of their writing. If women students tended to disagree with this statement it might indicate a lack of confidence in their own knowledge and would support a connection between women's identity and writing apprehension. Item 4: /II learn something about myself when I write." I wondered if individual students considered writing to be a learning experience on a personal level. I wanted to see if there was a general perception about writing as a means of self-discovery and if any difference existed between male and female responses. If there were strong levels of agreement or strong levels of disagreement, I thought they might affect teaching practices. I also thought a difference between genders would suggest a need for different pedagogical approaches. 42

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Item 5: "Writing reveals too much about me, as a person." I wanted to discover if students felt any discomfort about putting themselves forth on paper. I wondered if fear of exposing one's ideas or beliefs would make students uncomfortable. Though I wasn't sure how, I imagined that if students tended to agree with this statement that fear of exposure might in some way add to their writing apprehension. Item 6: "I have confidence in myself l.ri general." This question was also designed with the of revealing any fundamental differences that might exist between males' and females' general self-confidence. I also planned to consider responses to this question in conjunction with responses to Item 1 to determine what relationship could be found between self-confidence and confidence in oneself as a writer. Such a relationship would support existing research (Daly & Wilson; Daly 1985; McLeod). Item 7: "I am anxious about writing even if I am the only one who will read it." Because fear of evaluation is common among apprehensive writers, I thought it would be interesting to see how students might feel about writing if they knew that no one else would read it. It seemed that a strong agreement to this statement would be indicative of an especially high level of writing apprehension; I wanted to know if 43

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that was typical among the students surveyed or a rarity. I thought that if a marked difference existed between male and females, an inference about general writing apprehension could also be made. Item 8: "I have the skills necessary to produce good writing." Design of this statement was directly related to ideas about self efficacy and perceived skill level. Because I believed low self-efficacy was a by-product of women's identity formation, I was looking for differences in males' and females' levels of confidence in their ability. I predicted that there would in fact be a difference between genders and that such a difference would support the connection between identity and apprehension. Item 9: "I don't like other people to read my writing." The purpose here was to determine any general apprehensiveness about sharing writing with others. This also related to Item 5. I imagined that fear of revealing oneself in writing would correspond with a general fear of sharing writing. If there was a strong pattern among the responses to this statement, I thought pedagogies, particularly pertaining toworkshops, might be affected. Item 10: "I avoid writing." This question is also asked on the Daly /Miller WAS and has been found to be a good indicator of a student's general level of writing 44

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apprehension. Again, I was curious if either males or females had a higher tendency to avoid writing altogether. Item 11: "I like seeing my thoughts on my paper." The purpose here was simply to find out about students' general attitude towards writing. Since a positive attitude is related to a student's level of writing apprehension, I thought it would be important to know if there was a difference between male and female responses. I assumed that even students who liked to write would still be apprehensive about it; this question would investigate that assumption further. Item 12: "I rarely have ideas worth writing about." This is another statement that was designed with women's identity in mind. I wanted to look at responses to this statement with responses to Item 3. The two are in opposition because I wanted to see if women thought their ideas were good and, if so, whether they believed that others would also think they were good. Responses to this question would reveal what students believe about their own knowledge. 45

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Item 13: "I would prefer to have my writing evaluated by a person of the same sex." This statement was designed specifically with women students in mind. I wanted to know if, as Belenky et al. suggest, male dominated culture has somehow made women feel more comfortable with a woman evaluator than a man. I knew that I would strongly agree with that statement and wondered if other female writers would too. Item 14: "I need other people's suggestions in order to improve my writing." I wanted to know which students believed they could succeed without the help of others and which ones believed success was not within their control. Because the concept of self-efficacy is bound by identity and its relationship to writing apprehension, a difference between genders would be an important finding. Item 15: "Writing allows me to truly express myself." I was primarily interested in finding out if students felt free to express themselves in writing. Because writing is often recognized as providing a "voice" for women, and therefore a means of empowerment, I wanted to know if female freshman composition students thought writing offered that to them. 46

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The above section clarifies what kind of information I was trying to obtain from each statement and what the rationale behind each was. In the following section I will discuss the results of survey. Discussion of Results For the purpose of discussion and interpretation, I have broken down the responses into three categories according to the respondents' level of agreement or disagreement with each statement. The following Table presents the total responses from all completed survey forms. I will discuss some of these questions in depth and highlight some information that is not readily apparent by referencing the Table. Additionally, throughout the discussion of results, it is important to bear in mind that these are the results of a specific group of women students, as outlined by the description of the educational context. It is likely that the sentiments shown by these women students' responses are shared by other women students in introductory level composition classes at other universities, but implications of these results may be limited in that regard. It should also be noted that Kroll's 1979 study and Basile's 1982 study "found, that, overall, students had significantly more positive attitudes toward writing at the end of the semester than at the beginning," and that, "over a semester of composition instruction, 47

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writing apprehension decreased significantly" (qtd. in Daly, Writing Apprehension 64). This suggests that had the survey been distributed at the beginning of the semester, apprehension levels among students would have been higher than what was actually reported during this end of the semester survey. Despite this tendency, students did reveal varying degrees of apprehension in their responses. To what extent these responses might have been higher if asked at the beginning of the semester is not known, but it is likely that a difference would exist. 48

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TABLE4.1 strongly disagree neutral strongly agree response was: I, 2, 3 4,5,6 7,8,9,10 female male female male female male Item 1 2% 0 23% 16% 75% 84% Item2 26% 41% 31% 26% 43% 33% Item 3 8% 0 36% 32% 55% 68% Item4 3% 5% 20% 28% 76% 67% ItemS 34% 45% 35% 28% 30% 26% **Item 6 7% 0 20% 10% 73% 90% Item? 37% 49% 30% 23% 33% 29% **Item 8 7% 0 23% 20% 69% 80% Item 9 45% 59% 28% 26% 26% 15% Item 10 55% 47% 29% 30% 15% 22% Item 11 10% 6% 31% 28% 59% 66% Item 12 65% 60% 25% 27% 10% 12% **Item 13 51% 78% 32% 22% 16% 0 Item 14 7% 15% 19% 25% 73% 60% Item 15 6% 11% 26% 30% 68% 59% *Significant at 5% based on Chi SqUJZred Goodness ofFit Test **Significant OJ 1% based on Chi Squared Goodness of Fit Test 49

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Self-Confidence The results of this survey suggest a relationship between general self-confidence and confidence in oneself as a writer. In this survey, both males and females who strongly agree that they are confident in general (#6), also agree strongly that they feel good about their writing (#1); however, a significant difference between genders does exist. Item #1 on the survey was, "I feel good about the writing I produce"; 84% of the male respondents strongly agree with that statement compared to 75% of the female respondents. Not only does this reflect a .05 level of significance between these male and female responses, it strongly supports the theory that women's identity formation results in a woman's lack of confidence in her own knowledge and ability (see Chapter Three). Similarly, in response to item #6, 'ii have confidence in myself in general," 90% of the male respondents rank themselves as high in general self-confidence, while only 73% of the female students feel strongly about their self confidence; the difference between male and fern-ale responses to this statement was significant at the .01level. In other words, 27% of these female respondents lack general confidence in themselves and in their writing, two affective issues vital to reduced apprehension (see Chapter Two). The contrast between this group of males and females becomes even starker on a closer look at the survey results-out of 129 male students interviewed, not a single male respondent disagrees with the statement, "I have confidence in myself in general," whereas 7% of the 50

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women surveyed say they lack self-confidence. Additionally, only one respondent, less than one percent of the males surveyed, indicates any lack of confidence in the writing he produced. Another item related to general confidence is #2, "I don't like other people to read my writing." More of the women in this study strongly agree with this statement than do the men. The .05 level of statistical significance here also supports the idea that women are less confident about their writing. The fact that no male students believe that they lack self confidence, the virtual absence of anxiety about the writing that males report, and the overwhelming majority of male students who rank themselves high on these statements, combine to clearly suggest that women's self-confidence, s reflected in this survey, is not only lower than their male peers, but that the degree of difference in confidence levels is significant." These results, similar to findings from Belenky et al.'s work as discussed in Chapter Three, strongly support the connection between the identity of the woman writer and the causes of her writing apprehension. Perceived Skill The male/female pattern of response to statement #8, "I have the skills necessary to produce good writing," was also highly 51

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significant. Response to this statement provides a clear indication of the student's level of self-efficacy and reflects his/her belief in the likelihood of success based on their perceived skill level. The difference in perceived skill among this group of male and female students was significant at the .01 level with the majority of male students, 80%, believing that they possess the necessary skills, while only 69% of the females believe that they have the writing skills that they need. The difference is notable for the obvious statistical significance, but also because while 7% of the female students believe they lack the needed skills, only one male (again, less than one percent but not the same student). respondent reports that he does not have the skills he needs. Item #14 asked students if they think that they need other people's suggestions in order to improve their writing. The responses to this question were also interesting. Despite the fact that both groups indicate generally high confidence about their own writing, both male and female participants indicate a need for outside help on their writing. However, as seen in Table 4.1, women report a significantly stronger need for outside support than men do. Moreover, only 7% of these female respondents indicate that they have no need for outside help, while twice the number of the male respondents believe that they can do it all on their own. This suggests that male students are more likely to have the confidence in themselves and in the writing skills needed to produce writing without the help of others than female 52

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students are. This further indicates that the need for outside help may be closely related to the writer's self-esteem and own personal confidence. Another interesting observation is that the difference in the male and female majority's response to a need for outside help, Item #14, (see Table 4.1) reflects a similar degree of difference as the responses to Item #1, which reflects students' confidence in the writing they produce (see Table 3.1). This suggests a close relationship between self-efficacy and confidence or anxiety about the writing produced and reinforces the argument that the difficulty many women have in recognizing themselves as know ledge producers (Belenky et al.) is closely related to lack of perceived skill as a cause of writing apprehension. These results further support writing apprehension research (see Chapter Two) that states the writer's affective domain, self-concept, and level of self-efficacy are closely related to the writer's feelings of anxiety or apprehensiveness towards writing. Message Value The next group of responses relates to the writer's identity and self-concept. Responses reflect the writer's perception of what the value of her writing is to others, and how she thinks it will be received 53

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by them. Responses to question #3, "What I write is interesting for others to read," show another significant difference between males and females (at the .OS level). 68% of the male stud,ents strongly agree with statement #3 and only one male respondent (not the same respondent mentioned earlier) disagrees with statement #3. This indicates no lack of faith among these male students that others will find what their writing interesting. The responses by this group of female students indicates considerably less self-assurance that what they have to say is of interest to others; only 55% of the women participants strongly agree with that statement; 36% fell in the neutral range, and 8% have little confidence that what they are writing about will be interesting for others to read. In terms of identity, these female students appear to have developed less confidence in their own texts and in themselves as viable sources of knowledge. Moreover, this disparity parallels both Belenky et al.'s findings as well as Russ's work in feminist theory. These results suggest to me that women's doubt in the perceived value of their writing might be based on how the woman writer expects her writing to be received by others. Responses to Item #9, "I don't like other people to read my writing," were also statistically significant at the .05 level. These women students appear to be much more fearful of having their writing read by others than the male students do. I predicted that responses to Item # 12, "I rarely have ideas worth writing about," would also lend support to this, but the results, while suggestive, were not quite statistically significant. While 54

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it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions, it is _still interesting to note that while 90% of the female students thought they had good ideas, their responses to Item #3 and Item #9 (see Table 4.1) suggest-that women remain less confident than the males that other people will find their writing interesting. This might suggest that regardless of what the female writer personally considers the worth of her writing to be, she has come to believe that it will not be deemed valuable. or interesting by others. This does not seem to be a problem for these male students who not only thought they had good ideas, but also assumed that people would find their writing interesting. Writing Apprehension Concern for what other people will say about their writing and the accompanying fear of sharing one's work is a fundamental issue for the extremely apprehensive writer (Daly, Writing Apprehension 43-47). Two statements within the survey that particularly address this issue are statement #7, "I am anxious about writing even when I am the only one who will read it," and statement #10, "I avoid writing." Nearly 50% of the male respondents strongly disagree with both statements. In contrast, the female students' responses to statement #7 are distributed almost equally among the three categories. 55

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Item #2, already mentioned, "Writing for an audience makes me nervous," also addresses general feelings of apprehension. Responses to this statement show a .05 level of significance between males and females. Taken together, responses to these three items seem to suggest that this group of women is in fact slightly more apprehensive about writing than the men who were surveyed, and that the writing apprehension experienced by these women is more extreme than the writing apprehension among this group of male students. These results offer strong support to Daly's theory that as teacher expectations of women students increase, writing apprehension also increases. The last item related to writing apprehension and the fear associated with evaluation is item #13, "I would prefer to have my writing evaluated by a person of the same sex." The responses to this question showed the largest difference betWeen genders of all the items included on the survey and were significant well beyond the .01 level. The fact that of the female students surveyed, 16% of them strongly agree that they would prefer to have a woman evaluate their writing, and that none of the male students indicate a preference for a person of the same sex, is striking. I think this alone illustrates how much some of these women's identity has been influenced by social forces and suggests that many women's fear and apprehension about their writing is in fact greater if it is going to be read by a man. The general indifference that men's responses to this question show again 56

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illustrates their overall confidence in what they have to say, regardless of who will be reading it. Attitudes About Writing Response to Item #11, "I like seeing my thoughts on paper," showed little difference between males and females. It seems to suggest that regardless of their feelings of apprehension, both men and women share a relatively high level of enthusiasm towards seeing their own ideas in writing. Likewise, although there was no significant difference in male and female responses to Item #4, "I learn something about myself when I write," both males and females agree that writing is a tool for self-discovery and both groups seemed cognizant of writing's role as such. I predicted that responses to item# 5, "Writing reveals too much about me as a person," would be quite different for males and females and had guessed this would be related to women's writing apprehension. However, results were similar between the two groups and responses covered the entire continuum relatively equally (see Table 4.1) suggesting that neither the males nor the females in this survey have particularly strong feelings about this. 57

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Item #15, "Writing allows me _to truly express myself," did not show a significant difference between male and females either. I was interested to see if these women students felt writing provided them the "voice" so often mentioned in discussions of women's writing and its role in history (see Russ for more information). However, 68% of the females compared to 59% of the males strongly agreed that writing afforded them an opportunity for expression, a noticeable though not statistically significant difference. These responses, though less significant in illuminating the intricate relationship between women's identity and writing apprehension than response to items on the survey, still offer valuable information on writing apprehension in general. Specifically, responses to these four items reveal that both male and female students find writing to be a valuable tool for self-discovery. Responses to these statements might also indicate that part of the value of the task may lie in the opportunity for expression that both men and women believe writing offers them. Survey Conclusions At this point, some general conclusions can be drawn from the data presented in Table 4.1 and from the analysis I have provided. First, women students generally have lower confidence in the writing 58

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that they produce, and more importantly, lower self-esteem in general than male students; second, despite thinking that they have ideas worth writing about, women students are less likely to believe that others will be interested by what they have to say; and third, women writing students are more likely to experience high-apprehension, as well as writing apprehension in general. Each of these issues, self esteem, confidence, a woman's value in her own knowledge, concern for other people's opinion, and anxiety are, according to Belenky et al, issues within a woman's identity and, I believe, closely related to the causes of their writing apprehension. Both this chapter and preceding chapters have discussed the significance of the female student's identity formation and its relationship to writing apprehension in terms of survey results and formal research. While this is clearly important to the strength of this work, by shifting the focus from many women to just one individual female student I can instantiate this theory and these results. Most importantly, this particular student exemplifies many of the traits that illustrate a link between women's identity and writing apprehension. Student Interview. Writing Sample and Discussion I I first became aware of Linh's apprehension and anxiety about writing during the fall semester of 1995 when Linh was a student in my 59

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English 1010 class. Unlike the 1020 class,. English 1010 does not fulfill a composition requirement; 1010 is reserved for students who need additional help in basic writing skills before they will be able to succeed in English 1020. Students arrive in 1010 one of two ways: either by self placement when they enroll for classes, or because the evaluation of their placement essay (given to each student at the beginning of the semester) indicates 1010 is better suited to their writing ability. Some students place themselves in that class when they enroll because they know that they have a hard time writirtg or because they are unsure as to whether they can handle the requirements of 1020. This was the case with Linh; eyen though she had just completed three years of AP English in high-school and had received good grades, she chose to enroll in 1010. A few weeks into that fall semester, I asked my students to write a short (1-2 pages) response on how they felt about themselves as writers. Linh's piece immediately caught my attention. In the first sentence, Linh says she is going to write about how she considers herself as a writer. In her second sentence she writes, "Mostly, I will focus on my fears and anxiety of writing" (see Appendix C for original text). Evidently, the first thing that comes to mind when Linh thinks about writing is how much she fears it and the anxiety it causes her. As Linh's essay proceeds, she .reflects on her feelings about writing and offers insight as to why she feels this way. She reveals that one part of her anxiety is related to her fear of exposing herself on her paper: 60

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.. .is my fear of writing down what I feel. When I am writing, I constantly think about what others might think or does it sound weird or will they laugh at me. I try and try to block those voices, but am not able to do it. (Appendix C) Linh is not only concerned with what others will think, she worries that they will laugh at her ideas. This particular aspect of Linh's writing apprehension parallels the survey results in that she too does not think other people will like what she has written. Linh evidently lacks the confidence in her own self-knowledge that would enable her to write without being crippled by her fears of what others will think and say about her. Further into the essay, Linh reveals where this anxiety towards what other people will think originated: You see, I come from a large family, the word privacy does not exist in our book. I tried keeping a diary once, my sisters found it and laughed. That is the reason I keep things inside. (Appendix C) It seems that from an early age Linh has come to believe that what she feels and thinks about are not respected by others, that her thoughts and feelings are likely to be laughed at. At the close of her essay, Linh indicates that she hopes this will change and that her perception of herself as a writer will also change: My goal is to not be ashamed or shy about my inner feelings. Once that wall is torn apart, my writing will take off in a new direction. It will explore new horizons never dare touched before by me. I am excited about being able to take that wall down one day. (Appendix C) 61

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Obviously Linh does not enjoy being apprehensive and is hopeful that someday she will be able to say what she really feels. Lmh is aware of the growth and struggle that her own identity will face, but is not ready to embrace that just yet: Though her final thoughts are very hopeful, she seems to feel this kind of transformation is a long time in coming. The fact that she has created an analogy with taking apart a wall, a physically challenging task, also reflects the magnitude of change she sees is involved in redefining her perception of herself as writer. Despite the high compliments I gave Linh on her honesty and genuine voice in that piece, she never wrote about herself as a writer again. I remained interested in Linh's feelings and was pleased when she enrolled in my 1020 class this semester and agreed to an interview with me to discuss her feelings further. Though the interview was not long (see Appendix D for full transcript), it provided much insight into Linh's identity and its relationship to her writing apprehension. I began the interview after a few minutes of informal conversation. I first wanted to get an idea of how confident Linh was about herself and her writing. She indicated that she was confident in almost all "school.stuff," but that writing was harder for her than other areas of school. She said that no one in her family ever writes and that aside from having to write for class, she never does either. Linh said that although she would not choose to write simply for the sake of writing, that there was something about it that she liked: "It's kinda fun I guess. But when I write my thoughts it's hard" (Giang 39). 62

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When I asked her about writing apprehension Linh said that she considers herself an apprehensive writer and would define apprehension as the inability to say what she really wants (Giang 54-59). She elaborates on this fear of writing her own ideas when she says, "I can't write what I REALLY would. I can write what someone tells me, like school, but that's not my own stuff" (Giang 62-63). Linh seems to have a difficult time perceiving herself as a writer whose ideas are valuable. Her concern for being exposed if she is to put her real self in writing suggests that her own sense of self is still highly influenced by external factors. A fundamental issue in Linh' s apprehension, as research suggests (Daly, Writing Apprehension 42; McLeod 427), is her own self-esteem and the perceived value of her self-knowledge. Linh has not yet constructed an identity that allows her to express herself in writing without being fearful of how her work, her knowledge and her self, as presented by her text, will be received. The depth of this apprehension is illuminated when she says that she would write "if [she] could hide it" (Giang 74), which she later states she knows is an impossibility; "Someone would always find it (Giang 85-92). For Linh, it is a reality that no matter what, whenever she writes it will be read and criticized by others. Not only does this speak to this issue of low self-concept and its connection to writing apprehension, it also addresses the issue of perceived message value as discussed in Chapter Two. Since she doesn't want anyone to read writing that contains her own thoughts, and she believes that anything 63

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she writes will in fact be read, writing has little value to Linh other than to fulfill an assignment and get a good grade-something that she has to do and cannot avoid. As the interview progressed, the focus shifted towards Linh' s feelings about women and writing and then back towards her own identity and writing. Linh said that she thought women were probably more apprehensive about writing because they tended to be more expressive in their writing and that this would make writing more difficult for them than for men. She referred to women as ... more honest writers" (Giang 175). While her thoughts on this are not completely clear, Linh indicated that the expressive writing she believed women did was not as well received as writing done by men. She stated that she thought women were better writers than men, but then became unsure as she noted, "But I don't know, there are a lot more male writers than female writers" (Giang 186). She seemed to be suggesting that while she thought women's writing style was good, she did not think it was as recognized as men's writing. An interesting twist to her thoughts on how women's writing was regarded came out when I asked Linh, hypothetically, if she and a male student were writing an essay on the same topic and it was being evaluated by me, who did she think would do better? She said she thought that she would do better (Giang 314-318). Then I changed the question: 64

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SG: What if it were being read by a male professor? Who would do better? LG: Probably the guy. SG: Why? LG: Cuz, the guy would like the guy's way of writing but mine would be too expressive. (Giang 319-323) This belief that women's writing in general is not regarded as highly as men's is no doubt a part of Linh' s apprehension about her own writing: she is a woman, and women's writing is not viewed as highly as men's; apprehension, especially when the evaluator is male, is a natural result. Clearly Linh was much more confident in her writing when she thought I would be evaluating. While some of that may simply be because she and I have developed a relationship over the last six months, some of it is obviously due to the fact that I am a woman. It seems that Linh's writing apprehension is closely tied to her own perception of who she is both as a writer and as a woman in our society. As a means of trying to synthesize the interview and to better understand Linh's identity, I wanted find out how Linh viewed herself. I had asked her at the beginning of the interview to describe herself, but she was too nervous to immediately talk about herself at that time. Towards the close of the interview, I again asked Linh about her own self-concept. She said that she felt she had a high self-image in certain areas both in and outside of school when she was "confident in her abilities" (Giang 248-254). Though I did not ask her to relate that 65

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specifically to writing, her opinion of herself as apprehensive and not a very good writer may suggest that her writing self-efficacy is low, that she is not confident in her abilities when it comes to writing I continued to inquire about her identity and to try and find out how Linh believed her own self-concept had evolved. When I asked her how much of her own identity came from herself and how much of it she thought was constructed by external forces like school, family, community etc., she said that more of her self-perception came from other people than it did from herself (Giang 255-259). Linh said she felt particularly influenced by her family. She shared with me that her family always told her she was the strong one, but that she didn't feel that way herself. She seemed to think that changing or even altering her family's opinion of her was not within her power, that that was just the way it was (Giang 261-268). Her acceptance of other people's definition of who she is suggests that she has not yet developed a sense of self that is free from the constraints of other people's ideas and perceptions. Linh's identity formation, has not yet allowed her to see herself as a capable writer and thinker, to see herself differently than what she has been acculturated into believing. Looking back at the last paragraph of Linh's essay where she writes with hope about tearing down the wall and letting writing take her in new directions suggests that, while she has not yet become comfortable with herself as a writer and considers herself apprehensive about it, she does have the potential for change within her. This 66

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potential for change seems to be a truth for many of the causes of apprehension among women. In order to reduce apprehension among women we need to look less at what kind of writing skills a woman has developed and more at the identity that the female writer has constructed for herself: What a woman has come to believe about herself both as an individual and as a writer is central to understanding her writing apprehension. 67

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CHAPTERS. CONCLUSIONS The unifying theme of this work has been the search for a better understanding of how women's identity formation within the social world may have shaped their feelings of writing apprehension. The purpose has also been to illustrate the significance of the relationship between women's identity and writing apprehension and its need for further consideration. Research on the causes of writing apprehension, as discussed in Chapter Two, shows that lack of self-confidence, lack of perceived skill, attitudes and beliefs about writing, and the perceived value of the writing task are causes of writing apprehension that are each deeply rooted in the writer's affective domain. Additionally, knowledge of women's identity formation, as discussed in Chapter Three, reveals the predisposition that many women have towards these affective causes: Women are likely to have low self-confidence, a lack of perceived skill and a lack of faith in the value of their writing-the very attitudes that cause writing apprehension. While those two points alone make it difficult to ignore the close relationship between women's identity and 68

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writing apprehension, when they are combined with the results of the survey and the student interview that I conducted (see Chapter Four), the support for the significance of that relationship becomes even stronger. For many women, the ways in which they interact with the world around them, and the ways in which they come to perceive their own knowledge and skills are fundamental parts of their identities that can directly inform _their feelings of writing apprehension. This work has clarified how, as women's identities evolve in a patriarchal world, some women's self-confidence and their ability to see themselves as knowledge producers have been adversely affected. One consequence of women's identity development in such an environment is that the confidence needed to reduce apprehension about their writing and about their role as writers can be particularly difficult for some women to cultivate. This research identifies the importance of the relationship between women's identity and writing apprehension and its many complexities. This new understanding of writing apprehension, while admittedly only a beginning, can inform teaching practices and methods of dealing more effectively with writing apprehension among women. 69

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Implications The issues and conflicts that women's identity formation creates for both high-and low-apprehensive female writers have several implications for composition classrooms. These conflicts suggest a need for a more holistic approach to writing instruction, one that better accounts for the special needs of women as individuals with developing, dynamic identities, as well as their needs as developing writers. In order to negotiate beyond the available writer role that has been presented to women throughout history, and to be able to deconstruct existing truths, beliefs, and practices, women students must first believe that they are legitimate sources of knowledge. They need to believe that what they have to say is valuable, not only to themselves but to others as well. By helping women students to believe in themselves, teachers can allow them to re-gain some control over their identities. The results of the empirical research discussed in Chapter Four represent the beliefs of introductory level male and female. composition students on an urban campus. While there are certainly differences between the students who participated in that survey and students at other universities and colleges, there are implications for composition classes in general. 70

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Workshops Creating alternative spaces within composition classes is the most important change that needs to occur in order to address the needs of women students. In order to help women redefine themselves as knowledge producers and to build their own self confidence, it is important to create an environment that does not replicate the hegemonic structures that have already adversely affected women's identities. Writing workshops in a composition class can provide that space. When I reflect on my own experience in a writing class and as I noted in the introduction, I feel very strongly that my workshop partners were vital to my overcoming some of my poetry-writing anxiety. They all respected the knowledge that I brought to the group (regardless of how insufficient I thought that was); they were encouraging and, over time, I became less fearful of them reading my writing; and, most importantly, they were all women. This leads me to believe that other women students in writing classes could also benefit from a collaborative, same sex, writing workshop environment similar to the one that benefited me. Trying to implement same sex workshops in composition classes could provide an important space for women and might help reduce some of the conflicts between women's identity formation and writing 71

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apprehension. Justification for this is based on my own experience, as well as the survey results reported in Chapter Four. According to the survey responses, a majority of women students were very apprehensive about writing for an audience and felt strongly that they do not like to have other people read their writing (see Table 4.1; items 2 & 9). However, the survey responses also indicated that the majority of women believed they need other people's suggestions (Table 4.1, item 14). This indicates that these types of women can be especially helped by implementation of writing workshops. In other words, some women find value in writing workshops despite the apprehensions that these workshops can generate. Moreover, it seems that same sex workshops could continue to serve women students' needs, while at the same time reducing the anxiety some women indicate they would feel if a male were evaluating their writing; in fact, many of the women students that were surveyed expressed a strong preference for evaluation of their writing by a woman. Same sex workshops would create an environment where women are the only ones constructing and evaluating knowledge; thereby resisting conforming to the dominant ideology of patriarchy that has had negative impacts on women's development of confidence in themselves, in their knowledge, and in themselves as knowledge producers. 72

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Another benefit provided by same sex workshops is that women could address their need to redefine themselves as knowledge producers and build confidence in their writing through community support and encouragement. A woman, according to Belenky et al., "needs to know that she is capable of intelligent thought and she needs to know it right away" (193). Establishing same sex workshops early on communicates to women students that a person in a position of authority, the teacher, recognizes their knowledge as valid. This validation is created by creating a knowledge community where women are the only ones in positions of power; the only ones producing knowledge. Because success is never guaranteed, and because there is a chance that some women will not like this type of a workshop, teachers should try out the workshops, ask .for students' input and thoughts on these changes and be prepared to be responsive to them. Ongoing teacher-research and assessment of women's participation in same sex workshop groups may reveal that some women students will benefit from this more than others. Clearly, further research on this kind of change should be done. Other related areas that warrant further investigation are the effects of a teacher's gender on apprehensive women writers and assessing whether male students could possibly benefit from same sex workshops. Future research may implicate a need for female-only or male-only composition classes. Whatever the outcome, additional 73

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research that focuses on women students and on ways to effectively reduce their writing apprehension will add valuable knowledge to the limited understanding we currently have on writing apprehension among women students. Student and Teacher Comments The very nature of writing workshop classes and the communication that must occur about a student's writing places a high value on comments from both the teacher and other students. Although students' comments do not usually come with a grade, they still reflect a judgment about the writing and are likely to affect the author's feelings about his or her writing. The discomfort that some women feel when having their work read by others substantiates this and indicates it is an important issue to consider. I think again about the experience I had with writing apprehension and recall vividly the weight that my peers' comments seemed to carry and the high regard I gave them. I was very anxious about getting confirmation of my work from other students before I turned something in for a grade. If they could convince me (sometimes they had to) that my poem was good, that they understood what I was trying to say, that my poetry had meaning, I felt much more confident giving it to my teacher. In fact, I had come to rely on 74

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validation from my workshop group so much so that when I turned something in without them having read it, I was very nervous. As I consider the value that confirmation of my knowledge had for me as a woman writer, I can't help but think it could be equally beneficial for other women students who feel apprehensive or anxious about what they have written. In order to address women students' anxieties about their writing and to help women students build confidence in themselves as sources of knowledge, teachers should encourage students to validate each others' knowledge. A writing workshop is a good place to implement knowledge validating strategies that participants can use. In a workshop setting, this may be as simple as giving students some guidelines and worksheets on ways to read and critique other women's writing. A question like, "What knowledge does this person have about their subject?" is just one example of a useful tool for eliciting knowledge validation from peers. Even if the writer whose work is being evaluated by a peer has limited knowledge of her subject, she is still being validated as a knowledge producer and as a source of knowledge. If well orchestrated by the teacher, writing workshops and students' comments in them can effectively address women students' needs. However, student comments are obviously not the only ones that affect how a writer feels about her writing. The very fact that the teacher is the ultimate evaluator means that his or her comments are 75

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also crucial to the writer's perception of herself and her ability. As I think once again about my own experience as a writer, I know this is true. Whether it is a poetry portfolio or a master's thesis, I am forever scanning pages for reassurance of my own knowledge. A single "good," an occasional check mark, or a few question marks in ten or twelve pages of writing does little to reduce my writing apprehension. Without specifics, positive or negative, I am left wondering what is good about my writing-my knowledge-and will I ever be able to duplicate its "good"ness? Even worse, I don't know why I got a"?" or exactly what it refers to, but am afraid to ask. In both cases, my own writing apprehension is increased. While I can not speak for every woman writer, I think it is safe to say that comments count. A writing teacher's comments can powerfully impact women writers for several reasons: first, survey responses show women students are less confident in their writing and the value of what they say (see Table 4.1); second, students enter composition classes with beliefs about themselves that can diminish their own potential (McLeod, see Chapter Two); and third, as mentioned in Chapter Three, women are particularly influenced by people in positions of authority. These three points clearly illustrate the potential impact-positive or negative-that a writing teacher's comments can have on both low-and high-level apprehensive female writers. Teachers should attempt to use their authoritative positions as ways to validate the knowledge of all their students and be conscious of 76

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the potentially diminishing effects their comments could have on a student's confidence as a writer and a knowledge producer. I am not proposing that teachers avoid making any negative comments of female students' writing and only offer positive comments; however, without a heightened awareness of how women's lack of confidence in their own knowledge may fuel their writing apprehension, careless comments may further inhibit women students. For example, comments like "lacks content," if not carefully supported and explained by direct references to the text may reinforce women's lack of confidence in their writing and in the message value of their writing (Belenky et al. 200), thereby adding to their writing apprehension. In contrast, looking for, recognizing, and specifying good content when it is presented, may validate students' knowledge, increase students' confidence in the writing they produce, and could begin to reduce their writing apprehension. Measuring the effectiveness of such knowledge endorsements would be a valuable study for future researchers to consider. Likewise, teachers need to be cognizant of that fact that women students are likely to have low writing self-efficacy when they enter the classroom. As Schunk points out, it is what the student believes he or she is capable of that affects self-efficacy. Helping women students develop the tools and skills that they believe are necessary to produce good writing and offering positive evaluation of those particular skills should be one goal of the writing teacher. The solution to trying to 77

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increase self-efficacy lies in the flexibility of the teacher. For example, one student may believe that it is poor grammar that prevents her from producing good writing; another may think it is her poor organizational skills that are her biggest obstacle. And, without knowing this, the teacher may have developed a curriculum that focuses on developing critical thinking. While that is certainly a good goal for any writing class, a gap between the teacher's plan and the students' perceived needs exists. The result is that the self-efficacy of either of these students is not likely to improve. Requesting students' self-assessment and self-evaluation early on, may be part of the solution. With early self-assessment, teachers can find out what kind of help students think they need, while simultaneously discovering needs that students have of which they, the students, are unaware. Self-placement essays followed by self correction of those essays by students seems like a possible way to address this conflict. Making increased self-efficacy among women students a goal is one way to meet the needs of women students and to begin to reduce their writing apprehension. The importance of using student and teacher comments to increase women's self-efficacy and confidence in their writing is that their general attitude and beliefs about writing may also improve. Both Daly and McLeod endorse the importance of a positive attitude when trying to reduce writing apprehension. Assessing the effect of comments (teacher and student) as well as changes in attitude and their 78

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influence on women's writing apprehension is an important project that future researchers will need to consider. Pedagogy and Research So far I have only addressed some specific classroom implications and areas in which further research would greatly benefit women writers. However, the larger implications of this work are the need for an overall revision of teaching pedagogy and philosophy, as well as for continuing in-depth research practices that focus specifically on women. Helping women students to begin to deconstruct their identities and to understand how they have been shaped and influenced is a necessity for students and for researchers. Embracing cultural studies as a composition pedagogy is a possible strategy for strengthening the opportunities for empowerment that writing classes can provide. As a philosophy and pedagogy, cultural studies aims to help students discover how they can more fully participate in a democratic society and aids students in understanding how existing boundaries and limitations affect them individually. Writing assignments, ethnographies for example, that help students to consider how knowledge is constructed, perpetuated, and commodified in society reflect a cultural studies approach to composition and could benefit 79

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women students. Writing assignments that encourage women students to explore gender roles in various situations can empower women with the knowledge of the hegemonic structures currently in place around. them. Without that kind of knowledge empowerment, it will remain difficult for women students to expand the boundaries of the "writer role" to more fully include them. As a means of future research and potential data collection, implementing a cultural studies approach to composition classes could create an environment that would allow students to generate potentially valuable information for themselves as well as for future research._ For Jnstance, ethnographies written by women students would allow women to develop an understanding of their own knowledge construction, while simultaneously creating texts that could be saved and used for informing future research. Women students' ethnographies could provide a much fuller understanding of their individual socialization processes, as well reveal to researchers possibly important influences on their identity formation. By encouraging students to consider issues of race, class and gender, cultural studies creates an environment that is rich in knowledge for students and for teacher-research; its use could become empowering for everyone concerned. Cultural studies could allow pedagogy and research to work together more effectively. Distributing surveys like the one discussed in Chapter Four or the Daly /Miller WAS, despite the valuable 80

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information they provide, does not work in harmony with teaching and limits the kind and depth of information that they can elicit. These kinds of survey instruments ask for very specific information and reflect the students' at a particular time, in a particular environment. In contrast, cultural studies projects like ethnographies invite limitless information and can reveal intricate knowledge of identity formation processes. Additionally, this kind of merging allows students to becomea. part of the ongoing teacher-research that is needed to fmther _our understandi_ng of women's identity and its relationship to writing apprehension. Moreover, merging pedagogy and research, by asking women to report what they know, creates a practical means of validating women students' knowledge. Because the basic premise that should inform teaching pedagogies is that, as this work has shown, the needs of male and female students are different and that causes of writing apprehension among women have different origins than they do among men, future research practices need to begin to unearth and understand those origins. We know that many women students are less sure about the value of their writing and how well it will be received by others than male students are. We know that some women, as a result of identity formation, have less confidence in themselves and in the knowledge they produce than some male students do. We know that many of these characteristics parallel the affective causes of writing apprehension. Unfortunately, until we have a much fuller 81

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understanding of that relationship, we won't know how to effectively deal with women's writing apprehension. Conclusions In their chapter "Toward an Education for Women," Belenky et al. say that "for women, confirmation and community are prerequisites rather than consequences of development" (194). A writing classroom undoubtedly has the potential to offer both of these things. Conscientiously structured writing workshops and effective knowledge validation practice from both teachers and students can establish expectations that promote inclusive knowledge and community instead of exclusive knowledge that is held by the teacher and that must be fought for by the student. While those kinds of competitive environments may work for men, but they often do not work well for women (Belenky et al. 194). Presently, too much of the research that is the basis for current theories of education, research on writing apprehension included, is research and data that was collected from male students; only recently has the validity of that information begun to be questioned (Belenky et al. 229). Because the needs of women students can not begin to be addressed when so little is known about what those needs really are, 82

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and until the impact of women's identity formation on writing apprehension is fully understood, much more research will be needed. While evidencing the unique relationship between women's identity and causes of writing is an important contribution to composition studies made by this work, it is only a small portion of its significance. The significance and impact of women's identity formation is surely not limited to writing apprehension; its effects undoubtedly affect women as learners and knowers in countless ways. The larger significance of this work lies in the countless questions and concerns about this relationship that remain unanswered and await exploration. 83

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APPENDIX A ENGLISH 1010/1020 In-class self-reflective essay Instructions to students At the end of this course you will be asked to spend 30 minutes of a class period writing a self-reflective essay on the writing in your portfolio. You can practice this at home during the murse, but"you can't bring a ready-made essay or any notes to class with you. This sheet explains the purpose of the self-reflective essay and gives you some ideas for thinking about your own self-reOedion. Purwse The self-reB.edive goes into your show portfolio and is the first piece of writing your outside reader will read. The outside is the teacher of another mmposition class, and she or he_has.fhe job of well you have mastered the skills of writing ac(ording to fhe.PortfoUo Startdmis of the! CompOsition and of poviding your teacher with a grade for your Writing performance. The outsidereader can't judge attendance, the amount of tutodng' you or other factors: -she he can .only look_ at the writing itself and judge it.. Reading your self-reflective letter helps the outside reader to understand ldeas.for SeJ-Refledion Note: You doJ1tneed. to in !aCt.JOl:l pro1Jably Cboose.-the ones . "" -. A. :HOW-do you .. Has aboafwdfiug:dwlged7 HDw.7 What have abOut your, own.proeesses of/for writing? What wrlfiDg. pm esses cfo-yuu.use and how inflaenCEd. you? What part does wod:Sb.Qpping and peer response with other students play in your own writiog.p.roc:esses? How impo11ant is eonferenc:ing with your teacher or a writing tutor to you? What do you think is ood writing'7 How do you evaluate yoilr own writing and that of others? Have you learned to apply your knowledge about writing to situations outside the UC-D mmposition classroom? B. Your own development as a writer during this course. How has your writing changed during this period? What do you see as your greatest strengths as a writer? What areas of your writing are you still working on? HELP YOUR READER see these changes, strengths and-yes -weaker areas in your writing. Refer to the writing in your portfolio to show readers examples of your progress in key areas of your writing. You might talk about some of the following: ideas, content, insights, development, organization, focus, word choice, paragraphing, language conventions (grammar, pWlctuation, spelling). Readers might be interested to hear you talk about your voice and style. 84

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APPENDIX B SURVEY INSTRUMENT Participant Information: Sex: Male Female _____ Age: 16-20__ 21-25__ 25-35 __ 35+ Year In School: Freshman_ Sophomore __ Other __ Junior__ Senior__ Grad __ Please take a few minutes to respond to the following questions. 1. I feel good about the wrttlng I produce. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 2. Writing for an audience makes me nervous. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 3. What I write Is Interesting for others to read. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 4. lleam something about myself when I write. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 5. Writing reveals too much about me; as a person ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 85

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6. I have confidence In myself In general. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 7. I am anxious about writing even If I am 1he only one who will read lt. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 B 9 10 disagree agree 8. I have 1he skills necessary to produce good writing. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 9. I don't like o1her people to read my writing. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 10.1 avoid writing. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 11. lUke seeing my thoughts on paper. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 12. I rarely have Ideas worth writing about. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 13. I would prefer to have my writing evaluated by a person of the same sex. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 86

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14. I need other people's suggestions In order to Improve my writing. ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 disagree agree 15. Writing allows me to truly express myself ----------------------------------------------------------1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 agree Other comments you would like to make:. ______________ 87

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:::.. . . -.,; ..: ........ : ........ .. .. . .. -____ ._ __ .-.. :.: ... ---. ... -...... .;..._.;.:... .. ... Linh Giang APPENDIXC Snqlish 1010 Just Wait and SeQ I am going to write about how consider myself as a writer. Mostly, I will focus on my fears and anxiety of writing. I know I have interesting ideas and topics to write 'about. But I never seem to write what I mean. The meaning is somehow twisted in knots from the original thought. Part of the reason, I believe, is that the right words never comes to mind when I am writing. The thesaurus does not help me much, because it is either the wrong word or I do not know how to use it. My second problem, I think contribute to my first one, is my fear of writing down what I feel. When I am writing, I constantly think about what others might think or does it sound weird or will they laugh at me. try and try to block those voices, but am not able to do so. I do not want anybody reading it. You see, I come from a large family, the word privacy does not exist in our book. I tried keeping a diary once, my sisters found it and laughed. That is the reason why I keep things inside. Expressing my thoughts about everything else is easy, but it is just my feelings that I am having trouble with. I think it sounds silly when I do open up to anybody. I am getting off track 88

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So anyway, the possibility of having people laugh in face scares me. The last problem I have is with organization. There is ;t too much ideas cram into that little space of mine. I re so much I want to say, but write too slow for my >ughts. So then, some of my good ideas fly away and I rer get to see it again. When I was reading that :tbook by Murray, I noticed a few good hints. The first rgestion that he gave was to carry a daybook. It does not 'e to be a notebook, just something small and handy that 1ld fit in pockets. Then, write down stuff that you hear the streets or anywhere that sparks your interest. :ond, do not write in complete sentences. Jot down words ideas that you would remember, something you would only .erstand. If it helps, draw pictures of what you see. I ed doing that once, except it was on a napkin. I did not e a pad then. It is fun to see what I was thinking, what rnulate that feeling, and what I remember by those few ds. All in all, I think my writing skill is average. If I tinue to write, I have a feeling that all I want to say 1 be on paper one day. My goal is to not be ashamed or about my inner feelings. Once that wall is torn apart, writing will take off in a new direction. It will lore new horizon never dare touched before by me. I am ited about being able to take that wall down one day. 89

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APPENDIXD Linh Giang Interview Transcript SG: If you had to describe yourself, just in general, what would you say? LG: Urn, I don't know. Reliable. SG: Reliable. Okay. Anything else? You seem like a confident person? LG: Yeah, In some stuff. SG: In some stuff, okay. What about school stuff? LG: Yeah. I think so. SG: You consider yourself confident in school stuff. What about writing? LG: No. Not writing. SG: So not all school stuff. 10 LG: No SG: What school stuff do you fed good about? LG: I guess, like biology, like science or math -I get good grades. SG: So everything but writing? LG: Yeah I guess so. SG: And what about writing? LG: No it's harder for me. SG: Okay. You feel like your a good student because you get good grades then ... LG: yeah, basically. SG: Okay, if we're going to focus on writing, then what kind of experience have you had with that, other than the fact that I know you're in my class? 20 LG: What do you mean? SG: Well, have you done a lot of writing in school, in high school, at home, whatever? LG: Well in high school. I took three years of English, I was in the AP classes. SG: And you got good grades. LG: Yeah. 90

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SG: Do you ever-does anyone in your family ever write? Letters or anything? LG:No 30 SG: If you weren't in a writing class, would you write? LG:No. SG: Would you avoid writing if possible? LG:I don't know. I wouldn't choose to, I just never really do it. SG: You wouldn't write just for the sake of writing? LG:No. SG: That's all right. There aren't any wrong answers or anything. So what about when you do have to do it? When you write for class do you like it? LG: Sure. It's kinda fun I guess. But then when I write my thoughts it's hard. 40 SG: So you like it but it's hard. LG:Yeah SG: So you like to do it in .class but not any other time? LG: Well, I have to, I can't avoid it. SG: So you can do it when you have to. In other words you like it if you can get an A, but do you actually enjoy the writing part of it itself? LG: If I have time. I like writing I guess, but ... SG: You like to write but there is something hard about it? LG: Yeah. SG: Okay. Well, that's all right. I feel the same way. Do you consider 50 yourself an apprehensive writer? LG: Yeah, I would. SG: Well, how would you defme apprehension if you were talking about yourself that way? LG: Well, I guess it's like it's really hard to say what is really on my mind. I can write for a class, but not what is really inside. SG: Okay. So that's how you feel, you feel that you're apprehensive, because you don't feel you can say what's really on. your mind? LG: I guess I can, but it never really gets out. 91

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SG: You feel like you have to write a .. certain way? 60 LG: Kind of. SG: Okay. LG: I can't write what I really (emphasized) would. I can write what someone tells me, like school, but that's not my own stuff. SG:So that's not you? LG:Yeah. SG: So what we see on the paper, that isn't really you? LG: A little, but different. SG: Well, if you had the time or the inkling, do you think you could write that other stuff? 70 LG:umm SG: It sounds like you said .. (LG interrupts) LG: Well Yeah, butsomeonemightreadit. SG: So do you think that you would write more if people weren't going to read it?. LG: I'd write it if I could hide it. SG: Well, that reminds me of what you wrote on .I dont know if you remember this .. .last semester you wrote a paper about being apprehensive. You said that when you were younger you kept a diary and you wrote in it all the t ime. And then your sisters found it and read it to the family, and it (the essay) 80 said something to the effect that you would never want to write again, to hear it. LG: Well yeah. But then, I knew my sister was going to read it. I had figured out that they were always reading it so I wrote that way. SG: Oh, okay. So it wasn't so much that your sisters read as it was that you knew they would read whatever you put in there. LG: yeah, I knew they would find it. SG: So do you think that theres anything you could write that someone wouldnt have to read or are you worried about someone finding what you read? LG: Yeah. I worry about that. 92

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90 SG: Okay. Even if you would keep a diary know, are you afraid someone would read it? LG: Yeah, definitely. Someone would always find it. SG: That's all right. I worried about that too. SG: Okay. So let's see. So you said you would consider yourself an apprehensive writer. If you had to rate yourself on a scale of one to ten, with ten being highly apprehensive and one being not very apprehensive, where would you consider yourself? LG: umm .. 5. SG: Smack in the middle. So that's not really apprehensive. Do you feel more 100 or less apprehensive depending on what type of writing you're. doing? LG: What do you mean? SG: Well, for instance, in the class you had last semester you ran into more of things of your own life .. things that had to do with your life and your own experience. And at the end of the semester it was less about yourself and more about other things, and probably in the other academic classes You're probably not writing about yourself. Do you feel like if you're the subject, it's about your own personal experience, that it affects how you feel about the writing or not really? LG: I can write, like, what I did, but I then I can't write what I feel. 110 SG: You don't want that to be on paper? LG:No. SG: Okay. So would you say that part of the reason that you don't like your stuff to be on paper is that you don't like to look at it. Is it because whatever your true feelings are, you don't want them to be on paper, you don't want to look at that? LG: I don't know. SG: I'm just asking, I have no idea. LG: Oh, I don't know .... if I read it then it sounds dumb. SG: Okay. So do you think that what you have to say in writing isn't very 120 good? LG: Sometimes. Or that other people won't. 93

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SG: Well, let me ask you this. Do you think--you said you think you're a pretty good writer; LG: NO I didn't. SG: Okay. Well, I thought in the beginning you said you thought you were. LG: I don't know what I said anymore. SG: Well, you said-you took a lot of AP classes and you got pretty good grades and that you got good grades in school. LG: It was mostly, like, academics .. 130 SG: Well, let me ask you then, do you think of yourself as a good writer? LG: (pause) SG: Do you want to put yourself on a scale of one to ten, if ten is a great writer and one is a lousy writer. LG: I don't think I'm a lousy writer, but I'm not a good writer either. SG: So where would you put yourself? LG: umm .4. SG: I knew that was coming, right in the middle. LG: Well, it depends on though if! can do it. SG: Is it a matter oftime? 140 LG: Sometimes ... SG: Well, let me ask you another question. Do you think are more apprehensive about writing than others? LG:Yeah SG: Do you think that male writers or female writers are likely to be more apprehensive? just from you own experience. LG: Male or female? SG:Yes. LG: Well, I think a lot of females are more expressive in their writing, so that can make them more apprehensive. 150 SG: They're more what? LG: More unsure. SG: Could you explain that? LG: What I just said? 94

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SG: Yeah. LG: Women tend to be more expressive than men so it's harder for them SG: Okay. So more reluctant to write. Because it's more of a reflection of them than what the men write? LG: Yeah. SG: Do you for instance in our class, do you think that ... do you consider 160 yourself a better writer than the men in our class? LG: (no reply) SG: You can just say women in general. In the two classes that you've been in of mine, do you think the women are better writers? or men are better writers. LG: The women. SG: The women are better writers. LG: Yeah. SG: But you also think the women are more apprehensive about it. LG: Yeah. SG: So what do you think --if you had to answer this question, what do you think causes writing apprehension? 170 LG: You tell me. SG: I don't know either. What do you think? You said that you were apprehensive, and you thought women might more apprehensive because they write more expressively. Somehow that had something to do with .. (LG interrupts) LG: That they're a more honest writer. SG: Well, that makes sense. Do you think if you were to read something written by a male or female, you could tell the difference? LG: Yeah. Not all of them. SG: Just some of them? LG: Yeah. 180 SG: Do you think-you said you thought women were better writers? LG:Yeah SG: Well, do you think people in general think women are better writers? LG: No, because I mean in school and stuff I read all men. 95

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SG: But you still think women are better writers. LG: Yeah .. But I don't know, there are a lot more male writers than female writers. SG:Yeah. LG: I don;t know. SG: But somewhere along the road in your life you decided that women were 190 better writers, even though you said that you read more male writers. LG: Yeah, I know. Men and women write differently I guess. SG: So you think it has do with the difference in men's versus women's 'tin' ? wn g. LG:Yeah. SG: DO you think that people's personality is related to writing apprehension? LG: Yes. SG: What type of personality do you think would be more or less likely to be apprehensive? LG: I don't know. Maybe the loner type or poetic type would be less 200 apprehensive. Kind of oddballs I guess. SG: Who would be apprehensive? LG: I think .. like .. someone who jokes a lot. and talks. Sornme who is loud. SG: Loud people? LG: Yeah, like they're trying not to show it. SG: Do you remember any time in school anyone telling you something about you as a LG:NO writer? SG: You just wrote, got your grade and that's it? You never talked about it? LG: Yeah, never really anything like talking about writing. SG: Did you ever do any workshopping? Any sharing your work and having 210 other students read it? LG: NOt really workshopping. Someone, a friend would sometimes proofread it, but that's it. SG: Like in our class, for instance, you read your writing to other people before you tum it in. How do you feel about that? 96

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LG: It's okay. I like it I guess. SG: Even though you are apprehensive you don't mind sharing it with other members of the class? LG: No, as long as it's not personal. SG: So as long as it's not personally revealing you don't mind reading it to 220 others? LG: NO. I get nervous but ... SG: Other thoughts on writing right now? LG: Well, it doesn't get any easier when you practice it more. SG: So, even though this is your second semester here, and you've gotten pretty good grades, you still don't feel it's any easier. LG:No. SG: Do you feel like there is anything that could happen -something someone might teach you, or something you might learn or discover, that would make you feel any less apprehensive about writing? 230 LG: I don't think so. SG: 300 years of writing and you'd still feel the same? LG: Do you feel differently if you are with the same people? Like in our class, where there are some of the same people from last semester. Do you feel less apprehensive there? LG: Well, I know how you grade. So that's good. SG: So basically your main concern is only what I think about your writing? LG: [laugh] Yeah. SG: So you ever get something you have written back, say with a 'B' on it and you though it was really, really good -And you thought it should have been A? 240 LG: Well no, I think you're right. SG: Would you ever argue about it? LG:No. SG: Would you disagree with what another student thought about your writing? LG: Yeah, cuz they are at the same level as me. SG: What about women and apprehension. Any thoughts on that? LG: I don't know, I don't know any women writers. 97

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SG: I want to go back to the beginning, when.I asked you to describe yourself. Would you say that you have a high self-image? LG:In certain areas. 250 SG: What about just in general? LG: Yeah. SG: Outside of school? LG: I'm confident in my abilities. SG: Do you think that your own perception of yourself is shaped by you or by others? Like school, family, community .. LG: I don't know what you mean. SG: Say for instance, here is "Linh's identity." How much of that came from other people and how much from you? LG: More from other people. 260 SG: Can you an example of that? LG: Well, my family-they always tell me that I am the strong one in the family. SG: So you feel that way? LG: No. Well maybe sometimes. I am just because of them. SG: When they are not around, do you feel less strong or not so confident? LG:Yeah SG: So inside you feel differently? LG:Yeah SG: What about your role in other situations. Say in our writing class. what do 270 you think your role is there? LG: (laugh) I don;t know. SG: Well, we could talk about ___ .. He is kind of a class clown, he talks a lot and makes a lot of jokes right? LG:Yeah SG: So what about you? LG: I don't know, I don't like that question. SG: Well do you think the way that you interact with people in the class is the same as how you act outside of the class? 98

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LG:I guess so. 280 SG: So you feel comfortable in the class? LG: Yeah. SG: What about your strong family role. Are there times in class when you feel like you can't live up to the expectations either from me or from other students in class? LG: yeah. I mean I know I could, but I don't always want to. SG: Why not? LG: I don't like that question. I don't know the answer .. SG: Okay, you're fading away on me. Is there anything else you want to add? LG: Change reliable from the beginning it sounds dumb. 290 SG: Oh. Okay, what should I replace it with it? Brilliant? LG:No. SG: You're not brilliant? LG: Maybe smart. SG: So you are smart but apprehensive? SG: What if you were older, would you feel differently? LG: When I'm older I'll have a job where I wouldn't have to write about myself. So that would be good. SG: Do you think that most people feel funny writing about themselves? LG: Yeah. But I don't know because some people like to talk about themselves 300 alot. SG: So would you agree with the statement that writing reveals something about the author? LG: YEs. SG: Do you think there is anything powerful about writing? LG: Powerful? I don't know. SG: IF someone said agree or disagree "Language is power" what would you s say? LG: Agree SG:Why? 99

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310 LG: I don't know. I mean I guess because language let's you say something that you want or need to. SG: Are you aware of that when you write? LG: No, not for me. SG: If you and a male student were writing an essay on the same topic and it was being read by me, who do you think would do better? LG:Me. SG: You? LG: Yeah. SG: What if it was being read by a male professor? Who would do better? 320 LG: Probably the guy. SG:Why? LG: Cuz the guy would like the guy's way of writing, but mine would be too expressive. SG: So the man wouldn't like the expressiveness? LG:Yeah. SG: So you think that women are more expressive but that men don't like that as much? LG:Yeah. SG: And you still think that women are better writers? LG: Yeah: SG: Does that make sense? LG: No. I don't know. I can't remember what I said anymore. 100

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Daly, John A. "The Empirical Development of an Instrument of Writing Apprehension." Research in the Teaching of English 9 (Winter1975a) : 242-249. Daly, John A. "Writing Apprehension in the Classroom: Teacher Role Expectancies of the Apprehensive Writer." Research in the Teaching of English 13 (February 1979) : 37-48. Daly, John A. "Writing Apprehension." When A Writer Can't Write. Ed. Mike Rose. New York: Guilford Press, 1985. Daly, John A., and Wayne Shamo. "Writing Apprehension and Occupational Choice." Journal of Occupational Psychology 49 (1976) : 55-56. Daly, John A., and Wayne Shamo. "Academic Decision as a Function of Writing Apprehension." Research in the Teaching of English 12 (1978) : 119-126. Daly, John A., and Deborah A. Wilson. "Writing Apprehension, Self-Esteem and Personality." Research in the Teaching of English 17. 4 (1983) : 327-341. Dixon, Kathleen. "Gendering the Personal." College Composition and Communication 46. 2 (May 1995).: 255-275. Flynn, Elizabeth. "Composing as a Woman." College Composition and Communication 39.4 (1988) : 420-439. Gere, Anne Ruggles. "Kitchen Tables and Rented Rooms: The Extracurriculum of Composition." College Composition and Communication 45. 1 (February 1994) : 75-91. 102

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Giang, Linh. Personal Interview. February 10 1996. Gilligan, Carol, Janie Victoria Ward, and Jill McLean Taylor. Mapping the Moral Domain. Center for the Study of Gender, Education and Human Development. Cambridge: Harvard UP: 1988. Haswell, Janis and Richard Haswell. "Gendership and the Miswriting of Students," College Composition and Communication 46. 2 (1995): 223-254. Hollandsworth, Linda. How Personality and Background Affect Writing.1988. ERIC ED 296 336. Jaccard, James and John A. Daly. "Personality Traits and Mulitiple Act Criteria." Human Communication Research. 6 (1980): 367-377. Kellogg, Ronald T. The Psychology of Writing. New York: Oxford UP, 1994. Lamb, Catherine. "Beyond Argument in Feminist Composition." A Writing Teacher's Sourcebook. New York: Oxford, 1994. Leader, Zachary. Writer's Block. Baltimore & London: Johns Hopkins UP, 1991. McCarthy, P., Meier, S., and Rinderer, R. "Self Efficacy and Writing: A Different View of Self Evaluation." College Composition and Communication 36. 4 (1985): 465-471. 103

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McLeod, Susan. "Some Thoughts about Feelings: The Affective Domain and the Writing Process." College Composition and Communication 38. 4 (1987) : 426-433. Olson, Gary A. and Irene Gale, Eds. (Inter )-views: Cross Disciplinary Perspectives on Rhetoric and Literacy. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois UP, 1991. Pajares, Frank and Margaret Johnson. "Confidence and Competence in Writing." Research in the Teaching of English 28. 3 (1994): 313-331. Riffe, Daniel and Don W. Stacks. ''Student Characteristics and Writing Apprehension" Journalism Educator 47. 2 (1992): 39-49. Rose, Mike, ed. When A Writer Can't Write. New York: Guilford Press, 1985. Roseman, Janet Lynn. The Way of the Woman Writer. New York: Haworth Press, 1995. Rubin, Donnalee. Gender Influences: Reading Student Texts. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern lllinois UP, 1993. Schunk, Dale. "Self Efficacy and Academic Motivation." Educational Psychologist 26 (1991) : 207-231. Selfe, Cynthia. "An Apprehensive Writer Composes. When A Writer Can't Write. Ed. Mike Rose. New York: Guilford Press, 1985. 104

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Shelnutt, Eve, Ed. The Confidence Woman. Atlanta: Longstreet Press, 1991. Singer, June. Boundaries of the Soul: the Practice of Jung's Psychology. New York: Anchor Press-Doubleday, 1972. Smith, Michael. Reducing Writing Apprehension. Urbana: ERIC/NCTE, 1984. NCTE 39671 Tighe, Mary Ann. "Reducing Writing Apprehension in Writing Classes." Annual Meeting of the NCTE Spring Conference. Louisville, 1987. ERIC ED 281 196. Walsh, Susan M. "The Subtleties of Writing Apprehension; Fitting the Pieces Together." ERIC ED 335 707. Warwick, Donald P. and Charles A. Lininger. The Sample Survey: Theory and Practice. McGraw Hill: 1975. Wigfield, Allan and Michele Karpathian. "Who am I and What Can I Do?: Children's Self-Concepts and Motivation in Academic Situations." Eductional Psychologist 26. 3 (1991) : 233-261. 105.