Journal writing is a way to actively engage in your own learning and have the opportunity to clarify and reflect upon your thinking. Writing a personal journal gives you an opportunity to reflect on what you are learning and experiencing as a student and is a useful way to document how you feel about it in the moment. You can use the writings to reflect on your personal values, goals, and ideals and to summarize ideas, experiences, and opinions before and after classes. These journals are very also a way to be able to look back on these experiences over time and see how you have changed and developed.
There is strong support that this is an effective approach to improving your learning and writing skills as well as increase your ability to take control of your learning. Malcolm Knowles (1975) introduced the idea of personal reflection through activities such as self-assessment and proactive reading of materials. Another educational theorist, Christensen (1981), describes how a diary can be used as a learning tool for adults. Brookfield (1987, 1995) gives a number of ways that critically reflective writing can be used through tools such as autobiography, critical incident analysis, and seeing ourselves as others see us. You can use these tools in a variety of ways, starting with personal journalling.
In your first semester as a tutor, you will be asked to write reflective journal entries. The purpose of your journal is to give you an opportunity to reflect on what you are learning and experiencing as a tutor and to share those reflections with a faculty member for feedback. We believe strongly in this approach to improving your tutoring skills, so it is an expected part of your work.
You will be prompted during your tutor training to reflect on what you have learned. When you are asked to provide your own chosen reflection during week four, a good first topic is “What I’ve learned so far about the Learning Centre and tutoring.” Spend 30 minutes to an hour doing this journal writing. Submit your journal to your designated Learning Strategist faculty contact.
Remember to record the topic and date of your journal on the Tutor Self-Evaluation form. You are required to submit a minimum of four journals for your level 1 requirements. Multiple journals will not be accepted near the end of a term because this goes against the purpose of the regular reflection we want you to do about your tutoring. So, the point is that you need to do this expected work bi-weekly.
Start by answering the questions below to clarify your understanding of reflective journal writing:
i) Why is journal writing important in your tutor training?
ii) When should you do your journal writing?
iii) What topics from the readings appeal to you most right now?
iv) When should you submit your first journal?
v) What would be a good first topic to write about for your first submission?
Reflective Journal Topics
When you are not assigned a topic, you many choose your own. The topics below are optional; they are suggested to give you some ideas about what to write about.
- What are the most important things you’ve learned about tutoring so far and how did you learn them?
- What are some questions you’d like your Supervisor to answer?
- Describe a tutoring session that you had this week. What went well? What could you have done better?
- Describe a problem that you ran into while tutoring. What Questions did it bring up?
- Describe what went well in a tutoring session. What made it work well?
- Describe how you start and how you end your tutoring sessions and why this is effective for your tutee.
- What do you think you need to learn to become an even more effective tutor?
- Describe some ways you try to get students to practice or apply what they are learning.
- What could you do in your sessions to encourage students to be more independent and less dependent on you?