Journaling and Teacher Education

  • Journaling methods have increasingly been implemented in teacher education. Here, they are often used to heighten professional awareness and effectiveness (i.e. Appel,1995; Bailey, 1990; Bailey, Curtis and Nunan, 1998; Boxall, 1995; Brock, Yu and Wong, 1992; Francis, 1995; Holly, 1989a,1989b; Hoover, 1994; Jarvis, 1992; Numrich, 1996; Porter et al., 1990).
  • Journaling as learning tool
    Research suggests that journaling can be a helpful learning tool (i.e. Bennet and Kingham 1993). Not only does the journal-writer benefit but also the reader or the audience the journal is shared with, for example, fellow teachers and teacher educators,(i.e. Halbach, 1999; Thomas, 1995b). For that reason teacher journals are often being used as part of teachers’ professional development (i.e. Rao et al. 2003).

    Thomas (1995b) writes:
        “much of value to the educational community can be learned by conversing with,     and listening attentively to, what teachers have to say… about their classroom practices, their experiences of schools and of the formal and informal relationships within them, their insights into pupils of learners, and the corpus of professional understandings and craft knowledge that derives from experience” (p. 4).
  • Journals shared within a professional framework can become a study of social situations
    Journals that are shared within a professional framework can become a study of social situations “with the view to improve the quality of its action within it” (Elliot, 1991, p. 69). As long as journal content and discussions are kept confidential, teacher support groups can safely and effectively examine the circumstances and conditions under which they work. When teachers support each other this way, they help one another deal with the challenges and problems of their profession and may help improve conditions through reflection and innovative thought (see also Altrichter, Posch & Somekh 2005).
  • Journals shared within a professional framework can further a sense of community
    Research suggests that when teachers are faced with problems, four out of five teachers begin to withdraw emotionally (Maxfield, 2009). When they retreat, teachers feel increasingly helpless and begin “a downward spiral of pessimism” (Larrivee, 2012, loc. 850). In her book “The nurturing teacher: Managing the stress of caring” Vanslyke-Briggs (2010) suggests to form study and support groups to share experiences, concerns, new teaching strategies and further a sense of community.
  • Journals shared within a professional framework can contribute to a supportive, constructive dialogue
    The teachers we worked with in our support groups learn that they can successfully cope with work-related issues, critically look at educational and social contexts and their impact, and cultivate new approaches to teaching and learning. The journal methods we developed help greatly in this process by contributing to a supportive, constructive dialogue (see also Cooley & Yovanoff, 1996).
  • Cited References

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