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For example, the studentsplay the role of a pilot to learn about aeronautics subject matter suchas gravity, airflow, weather concepts, and basic flight dynamics.
It's little wonder thatmost of us evolve into classroom presenters."
In the light of this perhaps the most fundamental question we can ask when writing and keeping journals is whether they have allowed us to develop as connoisseurs and critics. A further question relates to the work we do with different individuals and groups. Has writing and keeping a journal had an impact on the direction that work has taken and on the appropriateness of our actions?
It is a reconstruction of experience and, like the diary, has both objective and subjective dimensions, but unlike diaries, the writer is (or becomes) aware of the difference. The journal as a ‘service book’ is implicitly a book that someone returns to. It serves purposes beyond recording events and pouring out thoughts and feelings… Like the diary, the journal is a place to ‘let it all out’. But the journal is also a place for making sense of what out… The journal is a working document.
Thesetheories can also be accessed by learning domains and concepts."
It is also probably helpful to index the contents of the journal. Some people leave the first few pages of their notebooks empty just for this purpose.
The teacherfacilitates and coaches the students through the process."
To gain real benefit over the longer term we have to, as Ron Klug (2002: 121-8) has put it, ‘harvest’ our journals. The most basic way of doing this is to read them. Here we might focus on troubling times and incidents, or read through the whole thing perhaps gaining some insights into the way we have developed or how our practice and those we work with changed. We may also begin to see some patterns.
Colbourn, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton
Making sense of our journals takes time. It might well be, as Ken Plummer (2001: 152) has put it in the context of researching ‘life stories’, such analysis is the ‘truly creative part of the work’. He continues,
OMG!! Where have you been all my life I am very excited about this!!
In addition, the reflection and exploration that journal writing brings with it can open up new avenues of thought with regard to how we handle different situations or work with particular individuals or groups. There can be an immediate impact. These sorts of pay-off help to keep us journaling in the short term.
Worcester, MA: Clark UniversityPress. Morgan, C.
A further consideration concerns what we are to write about in our journals? Here Ron Klug (2002: 54) has come up with a helpful set of starter questions for an ‘end of the day’ type of journal. We have amended these here slightly – they can be further amended so that they can be used at any point in the day:
Worcester, MA: Clark UniversityPress. Yerkes, Robert M.
Some may well want to treat their journals as a full-blown research project and seek to code their contents and to develop theories out of the data (much like the grounded research of Glaser and Strauss 1967) – but for most of us it is the process of reading, pondering and re-reading that we rely on. Ideas and glimmerings of understandings emerge. We can deepen these in conversation with others or through reading relevant texts.