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ERIC Number: EJ981497
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-0098-6291
Anxiety and the Newly Returned Adult Student
Cleary, Michelle Navarre
Teaching English in the Two-Year College, v39 n4 p364-376 May 2012
Based on interviews with students who had recently returned to school, this essay demonstrates the need for, challenges of, and ways to respond to the writing anxiety many adults bring with them back to school. Jessica and Sam were two of twenty-five newly returned adult students whom the author spent over sixty hours interviewing in the fall of 2008. Twenty-three of these students expressed significant anxiety about writing for school. Focusing on Jessica and Sam, this essay shows the sometimes unexpected ways in which teaching decisions did and did not reduce students' writing anxiety. In this essay the author shows how Sam's anxiety increased because of the ways she was and was not invited to use her prior experience, while Jessica's anxiety decreased as a result of writing and receiving feedback on multiple low-stakes assignments. Together, Sam and Jessica demonstrate that, because of their rich histories, the ways adult students respond to teaching decisions is highly individualized and not always predictable. Thus, helping them get beyond writing anxiety requires understanding and responding to each student. (Contains 1 table and 2 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A