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Organisers, Learning Logs, Diaries and Journals

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1 Organisers, Learning Logs, Diaries and Journals
Organisers: - an organised notebook Learning logs: - an organised, detailed description of the language studied both in class and during self study, often carried out by filling in a table. (Holly 1984) Diaries: - the content is left entirely up to the student, they can be more similar to a personal diary or more similar to a learning log or a mixture, the emphasis is on the students own experiences, feelings and reactions to their own learning and on the content being entirely spontaneous (cfr Hettich 1976:60) Journals: a combination of diaries and logs

2 General comments By keeping a record of what studied, reactions to tasks, thoughts and feelings, students are more attentive to what they and their fellow learners are doing and saying They become more aware of the language learning process and of the language itself Even if only limited writing practice, it is more than most students ever write, particularly non structured diaries and journals Give guidelines and examples of the kinds of things they might write about Logs, journals and diaries should never be graded, this would defeat the purpose of the exercise. To keep students motivated a general fail/pass/distinction could be given at the end of the school year. Teachers can use the journals and diaries to assess students’ general progress and see which areas of language need revising – but not necessarily mark the work in red. Self correction at the end of the year

3 Organisers Use ring-binders with section cards
Help disorganised students to organise their studies making revision easier Helps focus on different areas in different ways Ensures students can keep track of what language areas have been covered

4 Learning Logs Structured, easy to know what to do/say Can be as detailed or general as teacher or student requires Good revision tool Unless ‘Comments’ section included just a repetition of teacher’s own programme. Both pupils and teachers know how many ‘open’ activities they have done a month and what kind

5 Example of reading self study log entry: Reading Date Activity
Time spent Comments 07.09 Cristina Aguilera on-line fanzine 20 mins Difficult to understand, full of slang and words not in dictionary. Nice pictures and good sound quality. Found out her new CD is coming out next month. 12.09 Chapters 1&2 of reader: Sherlock Holmes Mystery Not very difficult. Could guess most of words. Difficult words in glossary at back of book. Story a bit boring – very slow.

6 Learner diaries Personal and therefore the students is addressed as a person and not a student. Students free to write about what they want, as long as it has some connection with language learning. Pictures and drawings are not to be discouraged as they are a part of what the student wants to say Some students, in particular boys, can be put off by the idea of a diary – but many soon find that it can be useful. Students have to put feelings into words which is not always easy in L1, let alone L2, but it does develop self-expression rather than structure-speak. If teachers are to read diaries students might feel inhibited – must be reassured no-one else will read what they write

7 What can I write about? Thoughts about activities tasks
Annoying mistakes Annoying students Difficulties Achievements Objectives/plans Monitoring own performance Views and opinions

8 Getting started To help students start writing give them some opening gambits such as: This week I … I used English …. I enjoyed/hated…. In class I look forward to/dread… My biggest difficulty is… What I liked most this week… I used ………… forms/words that I learned this/last week I made some mistakes I don’t want to make again, these were:

9 Student Journals – 1 Courses/lessons can be improved by being more responsive to student needs. Learners’ awareness of their learning needs may increase, and both teachers and learners can improve their self evaluation skills. Learners are empowered by participating in research, enhancing learning outcomes. The practice of regular reflective writing can be a powerful language learning activity. Journals can provide valuable data for reasearch into the language learning process. Adapted from Carroll 1994:19

10 Student Journals – 2 Teacher involvement
Teachers can choose to take in journals: - at the end of the year - at the end of each quadrimester - once a month - on a voluntary basis Teachers can correct language Teachers can ignore language and comment on/respond to students observations Teachers can do both

11 Student Journals – 3 Teacher’s comments and responses
Makes students think more about what they say if they know it will be read Students can choose to follow up T’s responses or not, if they do then interesting dialogues can develop not possible in a classroom T must make clear what kind of responses will be given – comments on language or just on content, or both T must not try in any way to shape or control what the students say, nor should they be judgmental Comments can encourage students to develop ideas so that entries do not become repetitive

12 Revisiting the past Get students to reread their own journals at the end of a few months to show they have made progress After a few months get students to redo tasks (with the same texts) they found difficult – they should find them easier second time around

13 Who are they for? Essentially for the student to encourage them to reflect on learning process and focus on their own strengths and weaknesses Great tool for teachers to get feedback on activities/tasks and students’ anxiety levels Create a more personal relationship between teacher and pupil

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