Many students are afraid of writing and are afraid of the freedom that an assignment predicated on their interests might suggest (Bean, 2011). A reason for students’ reactions is that they are concerned about exposing themselves as not being proficient writers. This is a concern not only for students whose first language is not English but also for those whose first language is English. Scaffolding assignments to provide practice and improve performance can be encouraged in multiple ways through formal and informal writing. Further, scaffolding writing assignments allow students to learn more critically as they improve their work.
Informal writing, also called exploratory writing, or expressive writing “is the kind of exploratory, thinking-on-paper writing we do to discover, develop, and clarify our own ideas. Exploratory writing is typically unorganized and tentative, moving off in unanticipated directions as new ideas, complications, and questions strike the writer in the process of thinking and creating. Examples of exploratory writing include journals, notebooks, marginal notes in books, nonstop freewrites, reading logs, diaries, daybooks, letters to colleagues…memoranda to myself” (Bean, 2011, pp. 120-121).