Print

Print


James, who said a reflective journal entry had to be an "I feel" response.  There
are many ways to word writing prompts that promote reflection without asking for
an "I feel" type response.

Rosemarie Woodruff wrote:

> I apologize for responding so late. I am still trying to catch up after
> returning from a long vacation.
>
> Reflective journals are not limited to feelings.
>
> rw
>
> Rosemarie Woodruff
> Counseling and Student Development Center
> University of Hawaii-Manoa
> 2600 Campus Road, SSC 312
> Honolulu, HI 96822
> 808-965-6114
>
>                 The world is full of obstacle illusions.
>                                                          Grant Frasier
>
> On Tue, 10 Aug 1999, James F. Trumm wrote:
>
> > At the risk of being the skunk at the garden party, let me register some
> > serious reservations about the "reflective journal" as a pedagogic tool.
> > Maybe the teachers who assigned me such journals were not the sharpest tools
> > in the shed, and maybe I am just tempermentally unsuited to such
> > assignments, but in my experience the requirement that students keep a
> > "reflective journal" is usually imposed by teachers who are unable or
> > unwilling to assign more intellectually rigorous work.
> >
> > When I assigned written work at the two-year colleges where I taught, I
> > handed my students an "oh no!" list, an enumeration of constructions I did
> > not want to see in student papers.  High up on that list were sentences
> > which begin, "I feel that . . . ."  I told my students that while their
> > emotional reactions to the work I assigned were of interest to me, they did
> > not belong in a college paper.  My opinion is that students fall back on the
> > "I feel . . ." construction 1) as a defensive move, since after all, how can
> > one grade a feeling?, and 2) out of a lack of confidence in their thoughts
> > and their ability to reason.
> >
> > "Reflective journals," in my limited experience, are simply extended essays
> > beginning with "I feel . . . "  They are treated as a joke by the more
> > accomplished students, and have the unfortunate effect of giving less
> > talented students the impression that exploring their feelings constitutes
> > academic work.  A "reflective journal" does not challenge a student to move
> > outside his own head.  It does not teach a student how to defend assertions
> > with which he agrees nor to find flaws with assertions with which he does
> > not agree.  It doesn't stretch a student's mind.  It is all but impossible
> > to evaluate.
> >
> > One argument in favor of the assignment of "reflective journals" is that
> > they encourage students to write.  Perhaps they do.  What they don't do,
> > though, is to teach critical thought.  There are many other ways of
> > encouraging students to write.  Surely teachers can challenge their students
> > to do more than report on their own emotions.
> >
> > James F. Trumm
> > S.O.S., Inc.: Students for Other Students
> > 3171 N. Republic Boulevard
> > Toledo, Ohio 43615
> > Fax 419-843-7229
> > Phone 419-843-5798
> > www.utoledo.edu/colleges/education/sos/
> >