Student journals : fostering metacognition and agency

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Forster, Dalyce
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2004
Recent studies indicate that best practices for teachers involve multiple intelligences, learning styles, and higher order thinking skills in their short-term and long-term planning. There is also substantive support for journal writing as a means of communicating knowledge and thought processes. This study presents both quantitative and qualitative research that demonstrates how journal writing can enhance a student's understanding of self as a leamer, as well as develop a sense of agency, or empowerment for the learning process. Thirty-one students from a middle-school grade six class participated in a survey that analyzed their understanding of metacognition as learners, their sense of responsibility and ownership for their learning, and the degree to which they felt journal writing reflected knowledge of self and growth. The results from this questionnaire were analyzed and became the themes and specific writing prompts for the journal writing club that was formed afterwards. This club was made up of ten volunteer students who were interested in learning more about the research on multiple intelligences and learning styles, and agreed to meet during the noon hours to discuss and write about themselves as learners in a middle-school environment. The split-page journal entries became an interactive communication between the student and teacher as each piece of writing received written feedback and comments. The student responses, for the purpose of this study were interpreted as qualitative data. A discussion of the study follows regarding the implications for teachers. The final recommendations suggest implementing a similar journal writing program for middle-school students that promotes understanding and development of individual learning styles.
vi, 112 leaves ; 29 cm. --
Learning, Psychology of -- Research , Metacognition in children -- Research , Children -- Diaries -- Research