A researcher in Canada is discovering that certain writing prompts not only help students with edifying self-reflection and goal-setting, but also nearly erase the gender and ethnic minority achievement gap in those studied.
Jordan Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto, wanted to explore the relationship between writing and students' motivation. He created an undergraduate course in which "students complete a set of writing exercises that combine expressive writing with goal-setting." The course has already shown to reduce the drop-out rate of at-risk students and even increase academic achievement.
One educator theorizes that Peterson's course could be seeing results by limiting self-defeating behavior. "If you aren't sure you belong in college, and you don't hand in that paper," Melinda Karp explains, "you can say to yourself, 'That's because I didn't do the work, not because I don't belong here.' " Peterson's writing exercises might curb these thoughts by helping students to focus on their goals and motivations.
To learn more about Peterson's research and process, click here to read NPR's story, quoted above.