Journaling Guidelines

Journaling Guidelines
(Spring 2011 version)
Purpose: Journals are a primary way of making sense of what we are thinking and learning as we are
exposed to new information. The quote, “How do I know what I think until I hear what I say” suggests that
the speaker could only make sense of his thinking by talking out loud. In journals we struggle to find words to
describe what we are thinking—what we think we have learned. This can be work! But, the process helps our
understanding and so, this is an important course requirement.
General Guidelines:
1. Review the prompting questions (see 2. below) as you prepare for classes and after we adjourn.
Consider their appropriateness based on what the two class sessions discussed. The questions below are a
guideline and intended primarily for those that are not sure what they would like to reflect on from our time
together this week. You may orient your comments on any part of our class(es)—you decide based on what is
important for you. You are not required to respond to each question—for each class—unless you did a selfassessment. Self-assessments are found in readings and sometimes the instructor assigns some. For each
assessment that is taken, reflect on insights that raise personal self-awareness or on implications for you at
2. What should I say in my journal? This is not hard—and it is not intended to be. Simply reflect on
this weeks’ class(es) with the following questions in mind—then, make your additions to the journal.
- a. What did I learn that was a surprise or, what question is bugging me from this week’s topics?
- b. What bit of information is of value in my future—something I should remember? (Why is it of
- c. What piece of info did I learn that I should/will apply at work, or as I work with my team?
- d. What did the self-assessment(s) tell me about myself that I did not previously know—what are the
implications for me in the future? (This question is required ONLY if you took some form of self
assessment as part of your preparations for the class.)
Specific Submission Guidelines:
- Submissions must be in an email message format.
- After the first submission, “reply” to the instructor’s earlier reply.
- Always includes previous journal submissions with each submission.
- Single space your email
- Number your journal to correspond with the “Journal #” found in the Class Schedule (see
- Length should never exceeds ½ page (single-space 8 ½ X 11 equivalent)
- Journals are due each week by ________________. (fill in after discussion during session #1)
Grading: My primary concern is that you work on the journal as a matter of habit and that you give time to
reflect on what you are finding that you would like to keep for future use. Journals are generally graded as
meeting, or not meeting expectations. The minimal requirement, IF you did not identify for yourself points
to focus on, is to simply respond to the 3/4 questions above (a – c (sometimes d). If, in my email reply, I
comment with the acronym, “SLAR” this is to suggest that your journal “seems to lack adequate reflection.”
If this is repeatedly noted (a pattern emerges), you will not receive full credit for your journal. As the
instructor, I sometimes feel like an intruder as I read journals. Nevertheless, I do ask for your personal
reflections, and, as students often ask questions in the journal and I try to give feedback when appropriate.
Summary: Journals are not difficult to do, but developing the routine of reflecting and taking time to record
your thoughts can be a challenge. They can be a powerful tool that will help you make sense of your
experience in this class and I challenge you to accept the assignment as an important opportunity!