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Upper School Corner - Mrs. Raychel Lydon

Wednesday, 6 April, 2016 - 12:56 pm

The Benefits of Journaling

 Mrs. Raychel Lydon-Humanities Chair

At the Hebrew Academy, one of the many things we work to integrate into our instruction as professional educators is research-based instructional methods that can support and elevate creative and higher-level thinking in our students. In the humanities department in the middle school, one of the proven instructional strategies that we employ on a daily basis is student journaling.

There seems to be little doubt that allowing students the frequent opportunity to write in a relaxed atmosphere with the freedom to answer questions in the best way they see fit has numerous positive outcomes for students. According to Todd Finley, blogger and assistant editor at Edutopia, “There are few activities that can trump journal writing for understanding and supporting the development of student thinking.” By asking students to make connections, expand on a topic, and connect learning to their own lives, teachers are able to see inside the thinking students are doing on a daily basis. This not only gives students an opportunity to express themselves and think critically, it also allows for reteaching or enrichment as needed based on the responses of students.

But the benefits of journaling are not limited to students in History and English class. Adults benefit from journaling as well, and according to the educational writer Beth Werrell, the five most important reasons for all people to keep a journal are:

  1. Stronger, more confident writing

  2. Improved memory and problem-solving skills

  3. Self-awareness

  4. Increased motivation

  5. Decreased stress and improved health

With all these advantages, and more that go unlisted, I am proud to prompt my students into writing everyday. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. You have nothing to lose.

Resources:

Finley, Todd. "The Importance of Student Journals and How to Respond Efficiently." Edutopia. George Lucas Educational Foundation, 1 Sept. 2010. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.

Werrell, Beth. "5 Reasons for Students to Keep a Journal." Connections Academy Blog. Virtual Learning COnnections, 25 Feb. 2015. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.

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