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Journal Writing In The Curriculum

Our ancestors have been journaling and recording events that helped them shape the human civilization as it is now. Together with the progress we have taken, the forms of journal writing have also taken diversifications. From the personal journals of people like Anne Frank, to the math and science journals of students across the globe, journaling has really come a long way. Journal writing inside the classrooms is a tool in learning that encourages students to learn by writing what they observe, what keeps their interest, and how they link new information to the knowledge already stored in their minds (Instructional Strategies Online, 2004).

This form of instructional strategy usually involves the interest of the students, making it more personalized and exciting for the part of the students. This makes them want for a personal and active engagement with their studies. This also provides them a venue in writing without the fear often connected with being wrong in grammar and spelling minds (Instructional Strategies Online, 2004). On the other hand, this provides a way wherein teachers could learn something new by reading the insights written by his students.

In this manner, learning is rendered in two ways, which is very helpful and healthy in terms of keeping a good relationship and rapport inside the classroom. One of the kinds of journal used in classrooms is in the form of written dialogues. The teacher reaches out to his students by commenting to what they have written in their journals. Thinking that this is a raw product of the minds of his students, the teacher does not take note of the number of wrong punctuation marks or spelling. This maintains the good bonding between the two parties, aside from the usual interaction during discussions.

Journal writing also makes available a setting for the thoughts running on the minds of the students after reading a certain article or a book. With this, the teacher could trace what his students have been reading. By asking his students to write a critique or a simple commentary on a chapter of a book, he could keep himself updated on the progress of his students. Teachers could also get unexpected benefits from journaling especially in mathematics (Hopkins, 1999). The journals give them a bird’s eye view of the problems of his students regarding the topic.

By encouraging them to write what they have not understood after each lesson, the teacher provides a better way for the students to tell what concept has been giving them a headache, something that they could not raise during class hours because of shame or uneasiness of questioning while the discussion is going on. Journals in science could also give a better venue for the students to learn and examine their own observations to a particular experiment. The students could write about their ideas, observations and inferences about every experiment in their subjects.

They could question how they arrived at the product if the teacher failed to show a better picture of the experiment. With this, they could go over the lesson and repeat the experiment. Journal writing also helps develop the writing skills of students. By encouraging them to write and write about topic concerning their lesson or any topic under the sun, the students would acquire the habit of writing. Moreover, the students would eventually improve his skills in writing, getting closer and closer to the acceptable standards in writing, the more often they do it.

The best benefit that could be derived from writing in journals is personal satisfaction and improvement. You could throw in emotions (Gould, 2001), which you could not express physically. With this, you are releasing your feelings to prevent accumulation inside the body. At the same time, you are improving your writing skills. Aside from casting out loneliness, worry, and guilt, journal writing could also help in discovering the wisdom every person has already planted in his system (Cortright 2003). This is evident in the way a person writes, and the kind of comments he give to every current national issues.

However, not everything is good in journal writing. Walker (2007) identified two possible problems with journaling in schools as part of the curriculum. The first one is the possibility of hurting the feelings of students by criticizing what has been jotted down. If the student has been writing negative emotions in connection with his readings due to bitter personal experience, then the teacher could be adding to the aggravations of the student. This could be solved by avoiding criticisms, especially the destructive ones, to be voiced out by the teacher.

After all, the written material is a journal entry, which has the immunity to be checked or criticized. Another negation could be the decrease or loss of time for teaching the concepts related to the subject. Teachers sometimes devote large amount of time just for journal writing. This scrapes off the opportunity for a good rapport during class discussions. Walker (2007) suggested a ten- or five-minute journal writing to answer this problem. The teacher could also ask the students to write what they know about the topic at the beginning of the class hour.

At the end, he could ask them how the discussion has or has not changed their view on the topic. A good journal really promotes learning on the part of the student. To attain this, the journal should contain personal observations to an event or experiment, queries that could be answered by the teacher in the journal or could be shared to the class, insights or speculations to how the whole process was undertaken, and linkage between the new knowledge and information to personal experience or knowledge already acquired (Instructional Strategies Online, 2004).

Writing prompts like “If you have a superpower, what would it be and why? ” dig into the cultural orientation of an individual. If he has not been exposed to commercialized cartoon superheroes over the television, he could think of heroes from stories told by his grandfather. This provides diversity in answers and could excite the teacher from reading the journal of his students, if he has been allowed to do so. The student could write any answer as they have not been bounded by something.

This leads to the reality that journaling takes on any form without the dictations by any published books on proper writing. The form and style journal writing takes is informal, wherein standards of writing are set aside to give way for personal views and ideas. The teacher could not correct and record the score of his student based on his journal. However, this is very helpful in terms of evaluating and monitoring the development of his students. He could compare the current and past entries of the student to check if he has done improvement on his studies.

This also gives picture whether he has been able to teach the lesson well and impart to his students the right knowledge.

Reference:

Cortright, SM. 2003. Journaling: A Tool For Your Spirit. Journal For You. Retrieved 06 June 2007. http://www. journalforyou. com/full_article. php? article_id=7. Gould, B. 2001. Journaling. Journal For You. Retrieved 06 June 2007. http://www. journal foryou. com/full_article. php? article_id=9. Hopkins, G. 1999. Journal Writing Every Day: Teachers Say It Really Works. In Education World: Educator’s Best Friend. Education World, Inc.

Retrieved 06 June 2007. http://www. education-world. com/a_curr/curr144. shtml. Instructional Strategies Online. 2004. Saskatoon Public School Division, Inc. Retrieve 06 June 2007. http://olc. spsd. sk. ca/DE/PD/instr/strats/journal/index. html. Starnes, G. 2006. Conversations Within… Journal Writing And Inner Talk. Retrieved 06 July 2007. http://www. gerrystarnes. com/journal/index. html. Walker, D. 2007. Journals In The Classroom. Updated by M Kelly. About, Inc. Retrieved 06 June 2007. http://712educators. about. com/cs/writingresources/a/journals. htm.

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