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The #1 fear that children may have about writing

Written by Claudine Fernandez, Founder of Artistic Leadership Academy

One of the most prominent fears that many students have is not doing well.

The same goes for their written work. Sometimes, we witness our students erasing all their writing after spending so much time on it.

When we ask them why they did that, they reply, ‘It’s not good.’ or they retreat in silence as if ashamed of what they had produced.

This fear can arise because they fear judgment from others like their peers, parents or teachers.

The fear may also come about because they don’t want to disappoint themselves or others with their poor grades.

This fear can be crippling and it could in some cases lead to writer’s block (being ‘stuck’ or being at a loss of what to write).

How do we guide our students to lessen this fear or even dispel it?

Personally, the number one strategy that is effective is to not focus on what they have done wrong. Instead, ask them how they could do better.

One thing that I’ve learnt from my life coaching course is that we should avoid asking questions that begin with ‘why’ because they might sound accusatory. (Eg. Why did you make so many mistakes? or Why did you do so badly?)

Replace the ‘why’ questions with questions like:

✅ What would you do differently next time?

✅ How would you change that? (when they make a mistake or if there’s room for improvement)

This changes the focus from the mistake itself to the process of making it better.

I hope this was helpful!

We believe that writing is a journey and not a final product. And just like every journey, there will be ups and downs. What matters most is what you do to get back up when you are down.