Monday, February 21, 2011

Writing instructor Tom Dow co-authors new writing textbook

Tom Dow, an SNL writing instructor, recently co-authored a writing textbook for students titled, Why White Rice? Thinking Through Writing.

A brief description of the textbook from the authors:
"This book on writing comes from four community college teachers with different backgrounds and training (with contributions from students, as well) in a collection of voices that speaks directly to students and writers. It drops the pretense of traditional textbooks and talks honestly with students in a way that has them reading and responding in some surprising ways."

Congratulations to Tom and the co-authors.

Resource for SNL Students Interested in ILPs or Independent Studies

Students interested in doing an ILP or an independent study might find some of MIT's Open Courseware (OCW) resources helpful. Their OCW Scholar courses are designed for students who have limited access to additional resources. Videos and simulations accompany many of the courses.

More information can be found here:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Study finds that writing about worries before an exam results in better performance

A recent University of Chicago study found that students who write for 10 minutes before a test decrease the brainpower they are using to be anxious and thus increase the brainpower they are using on the test material. Students in the study who wrote about the anxiety they were experiencing before an exam scored significantly higher on a sample exam than students who did not write about their anxiety.

"Writing about your worries for 10 minutes before an upcoming exam leveled the playing field such that those students who usually get most anxious during exams were able to overcome their fears and perform up to their potential," according to primary investigator and University of Chicago professor of psychology Sian Beilock.

Beilock found that students performed better on the test when they wrote specifically about the test anxiety itself. Beilock suggests that these findings are useful for particularly anxious students who should consider writing for 10 minutes about their anxiety before a class in whcih they must write an exam. Even if instructors do not invite students to write about their anxiety before an in class exam they might consider suggesting that particularly anxious writers spend ten minutes writing about their anxiety before beginning an essay, homework assignment, or test.

The full article can be found here:

Writing about worries eases anxiety and improves test performance

Students can combat test anxiety and improve performance by writing about their worries immediately before the exam begins, according to a University of Chicago study published Friday in the journal Science.