Exploring writing apprehension amongst Afrikaans-speaking first-year students
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Writing apprehension relates to a reluctance to write or even fear of writing and little research has been done on this phenomenon in the South African context, especially in terms of compulsory academic literacy and academic linguistic modules. This article aimed at determining the nature of writing apprehension in these two modules in terms of the Daly and Miller’s Writing Apprehension Test (DM-WAT), essay marks and gender at a South African university. The DM-WAT was conducted with two groups of first-year students. An exploratory factor analysis was administered and this led to the identification of four distinct factors which are also associated with related aspects in the literature: positivity towards writing, negativity towards writing, evaluation apprehension and selfefficacy and writing. It is evident that in the context of this study, the chosen instrument could not be used to measure writing apprehension, rather the four identified factors. No linear relationships between essay marks and the identified constructs were clear. Also a practical significant difference between genders was found in terms of the identified constructs. Significantly, students in the compulsory academic literacy module showed a greater tendency towards apprehension in terms of the four identified factors than students from the linguistics module. The chosen instrument could be used to gauge the identified factors. Writing in compulsory academic literacy modules should be taught through individualised student-centred methods, affective support and reflective instruction, positive personal feedback, with additional support through counselling as well as effective modelled writing behaviour from lecturers.