Learning with Journals

“She had her image… and anything added to that would be mere verse-making. Something might come of it some day. In the meanwhile she had got her mood on to paper—and this is the release that all writers, even the feeblest, seek for as men seek for love; and, having found it, they doze off happily into dreams and trouble their hearts no further.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night


For the past six years I have taught philosophy at Finger Lakes Community College in upstate New York. One activity that I have used in every class has been the semester long learning journal.  I share these examples with the hope that they will inspire readers to pick up the practice. This is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves. Journals can become not only a constant partner in our evolving story, but a way for us to leave a trace of who we once were and who we wanted to become.


Journals bring out our whimsical and creative side.


Journals help students personalize class notes.


Journals invite students to think about their experiences in a more holistic way. 


Journals are an opportunity to connect images in society with ideas from class.




Journals simply and clarify our thought process.


Journals help us see the humor in our mistakes. 


“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”
Virginia Woolf


A journal is like your own savings bank; it stores all of your most valuable memories and gives you access to them whenever you want. Photo by George Payne



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