Journaling – General

A lot of people love the idea of students becoming reflective critical thinkers, and then they act as if this can’t be taught or coached.  The most effective way to help students acheive the level of critical reflection on their work, their world, and themselves is through processing, in writing, on a regular basis.  In BP schools, a consistent journal (3 times a week) is the aim.

Some general Methods to success.

  • Have an actual Journal or a place online to write in/on
  • Provide Prompts:
    • There are a lot of great places that have prompts – use all of them (you’ll have four years need work – at 2x per week + an LTI reflection, you’ll need 320 minimum!)
    • Provide both abstract and theoretical topics to reflect on (love, the nature of good and evil, etc) and concrete experiences (what was your internship like today?)
  • Encourage different modes of reflection – sketches, song lyrics, poetry, collage, in addition to writing a prose response.  Encourage it also as a place for play and experimentation.
  • Spend time in advisory at least every week
  • The Journal must be INTERACTIVE – that means you (the advisor) have to respond back to it.
  • Don’t correct the journal (file the issues away and note if there are others with the same issues. This could become the topic of an advisory investigation or a small group of students working on the same skill.)
  • Give students an “out” for a journal entry that is too personal – they can fold over the page and you promise not to read it.
  • Clarify with students that you will have to bring others into the mix if they write things that show themselves or others in dangert.
  • Collect a third of the journals three times a week
  • Don’t expect great things initially – think about what you’d like to help them focus on, and respond accordingly.  If you have to work on their fluency -just getting words out – ask questions to solicit details. If you want them to think more carefully and assess their actions – ask them questions to weigh their choices.
  • Use journals as part of the school culture (in advisory, PMU, exhibition, in talks with administration) so that students see how important it is.