Do you want to require your students to write a journal? Go ahead. It is a wonderful idea. It can encourage them to reflect about a book that they have read recently, an activity that they have done, or an event that they attended. Your primary responsibility is to provide them with clear instructions. You should also guide them on each writing stage.
Here are some teaching strategies for you:
- Incorporate the journal writing in your class activities. Think about the activities that you have planned for your class. Find out how you can tie up the journal writing exercises to some of them. For example, you can require them to write about their visit to the local museum or about a particular topic that you are currently discussing in your history subject.
- Be clear with the set requirements. You can prepare a handout. You can indicate there the specific steps that they have to follow. You can also detail the criteria that you want them to meet. Don’t forget to include the deadlines that they have to beat. As a bonus, you can list down some tips on how they can write their journal entries better.
- Provide lots of examples. It is always practical to show your students some “models”. By referring to the examples, they can clearly see understand your expectations. You can also challenge them to get inspiration from them.
- You can photocopy excerpts from books. You can suggest some Internet links for them to visit. You can also request them to look from newspapers and magazines.
- Read and check works regularly. Strive to acknowledge the efforts of your students. Make it a point to review their journal entries first before you give their next task. It is going to benefit your students. They can learn from their mistakes. Initially, you can touch on the basic mechanics – grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If there are a lot of corrections, you can encourage them to prepare a second draft. And as they write more, consider focusing on idea organization, word choice, and overall style. This approach is not going to overwhelm your students. If the journal entries are already impressive, praise them. That’s going to motivate them to write more.
- Consider the timelines. Journal writing requires some preparation. Bear in mind that your students have other loads to do, too. Give them a realistic deadline so the quality of their work is not compromised.
- Value privacy. Your students may write stuff that are too personal. Learn to respect them. Keep things to yourself. Never mention the details in class, even casually or in passing. You don’t want your students to distrust you. And when you ask them to pass their papers, instruct them to fold them.
Explain to your students that journal writing has a number of
advantages. Aside from allowing them to hone their writing skills, the
activity also prompts them to form their opinion – permitting them to be
more expressive. The process also motivates them to be more thorough
and critical about things.