ERIC Number: ED206223
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
The Use of Student Journals in Teaching Psychology.
Harris, Richard J.
The use of student journals in teaching introductory psychology was investigated at Kansas State University. Students in both a small honors class and a large general psychology lecture were asked to keep a journal with at least one entry weekly. While they were encouraged to relate course material to their own lives, nothing was restricted. The instructor commented in the journals but did not grade them; the student was given credit for turning in the journal. Some principles for teacher response to the journals are as follows: respond prolifically, affirm the student, reassure the student that he/she is normal, and use questions rather than imperatives. The content and tone of the journals varied widely but several classes of entries were identified: an account or log of activities in the life of the students; direct relation of class material to own experience; reflections on self; and in many cases the teacher-reader became a significant person for the student in the sense of someone to react to his or her thoughts. Among the problems in using the journals are the great amount of time required to read the journals, the student who cannot or will not think of very much to say, and the student who says too much (is seriously troubled and needs counseling or other professional help). Advantages of this approach include: the practice in writing can help sharpen a student's composing and editing skills; course concepts may be better understood; students may better understand themselves; and the teacher-student relationship may be improved. The use of journals in four other types of psychology classes (psycholinguistics, psychology of mass communication, information processing, and problem-solving and decision-making) is briefly noted. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Kansas State University; Student Journals
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association (Denver, CO, May 1981).