Benefits of Journaling in the Classroom

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Benefits of Journaling in the Classroom

Journaling is a reflective process that enables writers to take control of their thoughts and emotions. In a classroom, the most obvious use for journals is as a writing strategy, but that is not all. Research has shown that encouraging students to maintain journals can be beneficial as it can:

Inspire Students

Journal writing can inspire students. Teachers can create writing prompts out of motivational quotes, inspirational people, and historical events. Students can be encouraged to maintain success journals (documenting their successful moments) or gratitude journals (mentioning all that students are thankful for). This way, teachers can help students focus on their positive experiences and use them to overcome their difficulties.

Build Confident Students:

With journal writing, students gain confidence in their writing skills as the strategy:

  • Provides struggling writers with ample opportunities to practice their writing skills.
  • Gives students the freedom to choose and maintain their style of journals, encouraging free flow of ideas and thought.
  • Is safe, because unlike other writing assignments, journals are not assessed or graded. Students can, therefore, make mistakes without fear and learn from them.
  • Helps students find their voices. Regular journal writing empowers students to become more vocal with their opinions and thoughts, and encourages personal reflection.

Provide a Cathartic Experience:

Students may have a lot of pent up emotions – anxiety, fear, anger or sadness. Journal writing being a cathartic process, helping students release their emotions and stress by transferring their thoughts and frustrations onto paper. Sometimes, the act of writing itself does the job of relieving tension. Journals also help students to step back, reread their entries, gain a different perspective and find solutions to problems.

Help Teachers Understand Students:

Journaling helps teachers understand their students. Journals give feedback regarding:

  • Academic performance: Reading through journal entries can help teachers identify writing errors in sentence structure, grammar and spelling. Teachers can use this knowledge to personalize instruction and help students improve their skills.
  • Student persona: As teachers learn more about their students (thoughts, feelings and opinions), it helps them to form and build meaningful relationships with them. Journals also enable teachers to identify students who are suffering (bullying, depression, abuse or suicidal ideations) and require help.

Be a Learning Tool:

Journal writing is a useful learning tool as it:

  • Enables students to assess and rectify their writing processes.
  • Allows teachers and students to track improvements in writing.
  • Improves memory, as students must recall and write about events.
  • Empowers students to reflect and view things from different perspectives.

Develop Sense of Self:

Perhaps most importantly, journal writing helps students understand themselves. Journal entries can help students identify patterns in behavior, consider possible  stressors, and analyze their coping mechanisms. Learning about oneself  can help students  make positive changes to their lives.

By journaling in the classroom, students improve more than just their writing skills. Students learn to reflect on, question, explore and find connections between themselves and the world around them.


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