Reflective journals are used by learners to document the progress of learning. Students can keep reflective journals for any course they take or to manage their own personal learning. Reflecting on thoughts, ideas, feelings, and learning encourages the development of critical thinking skills by helping students self-evaluate and sort what they know from what they don't know. The process of examining one's own thoughts and feelings is particularly helpful for students who are learning new concepts or beginning to grapple with complex issues that go beyond right and wrong answers.
Reflective practice can be supported in classrooms by creating opportunities that allow students to think about their learning, their own lives, and the world around them. Reflective journals allow students to practice their writing skills in an open-ended format that encourages the same thought process that is used in analytical writing. Zemelman, Daniels, and Hyde (1993) believe that the most powerful learning happens when students self-monitor, or reflect. As learners continue to distinguish what they know from what they need to reevaluate or relearn, they begin to translate discoveries they have made about their own learning into plans for improvement. Just as reflective journals open the windows of a student's mind, they also allow teachers to look in. In this way, the journals become a useful assessment tool that gives teachers additional insight into how students value their own learning and progress. http://www.teachervision.fen.com/writing/letters-and-journals/48544.html?page=1&detoured=1
Entries in a reflective journal can include:
Some questions to pose to your students to help them start their journals: