Well I wouldn't worry too much. What you will find is you give your writing to your own teacher in your own country and she will spot hundreds of mistakes but give it to a native they won't spot any. I don't know if it is because our writing is bad or because we are used to so many foreign visitors that we ignor it without thinking.(Original post by ellen_419)
I am very excited today because I am going to visit my new school. This is a typical English school and it is for girls only. They offered me a place based on my performance of the interview and my academic results. Also, they have probably contacted my previous school to get me a reference.
Although everything goes well, I am still worried that I may not be able to do well in my study. I choose a lot of humanity subjects, which means there will be a lot of pieces of essay to write. I don't mind writing essays but my fluency of English really stress me out. I am worried that the teachers will criticise me a lot because I cannot write like a native speaker. I tend to change my wording constantly and to correct myself but this is not helpful at all. This habit actually brings down my efficiency and makes the essay sounds even more unnatural.
What's interesting is, sometimes I feel I can write better when I stop thinking of the grammar. The words flow better when I am relaxed. However, it is difficult to control my anxiety, especially when I want to do well.
Can anyone help?
If you want an example of this. Someone replied to your post and said they didn't see any mistakes in it. While being an English teacher (who teaches English as a Foreign Language) I spotted 6. Mainly tenses and prepositions.
So for this reason you will realise that nobody will critise your essays even if you make hundreds of little mistakes.
Similar to this, with the exception of English (the subject), the other teachers will be focussing more on your content than how you have written it. This is a difference compared to many countries around the world. I have only found this by living and teaching abroad.
Looking at your writing you seem to be at a B2 level (Upper Int). Which again is why you are critical of yourself. We look at this level being a good level and why the Cambridge First Certificate is quite acceptable for most places, while you are hoping to be C1 (Advanced)/ C2 level (Proficency).
Just remember it all comes with practise. We expect/hope students will get from B2 to C2 within 2 years and that is with them studying in their own language at school.
If you did want to work on it. I have a couple of suggestions: You are right, you will find the fluency is better if you forget the grammar. This principle is the same with speaking. I am sure you have noticed this yourself. So if you like PM me and I will send you my email address then you can send me your essays. You worry about the content I will worry about the grammar. In the process I can also explain to you your mistakes and give you advice that we give our students in order to get from your level to sounding like a native. I have been teaching B2 to C2 (Upper Int to Proficency) for 3 years now, including Cambridge exams, so it is like second nature to me.
Similarly, I read and correct essays on a daily basis, so one more will make no difference to me. Besides yours is far easier to understand than some of my students.
Another idea I had is; being a teacher, I am basically free over the summer so if you want to practise and feel more confident going into the school year we could. I could set you some essays and via email I could help you improve.
Finally what I would like to say is that all of this would be purely for your own confidence and benefit. You may not be 'native level' but most Brits aren't native level. You are doing fine as you are. Effectively C2 is 'native level' but my Proficeny student is right, C2 is really to prove you are better than a native!
How to tackle anxiety when writing in English?
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