For ESL Students and Teachers: Journal Writing Starters

These are a few ideas to get started using the blog for personal journaling. 

ESL learners and teachers need to begin using their blog as a sandbox, collecting photos, links, phrases, and quotes of ideas for later. This collection stage is quite important; it identifies what you are most interested in writing about, and highlights your existing areas of strength. At a later point, I recommend using the sandbox posts to add more details, so that they can become link-log posts, or general notes about what you found online; or by adding details to photos, such as captions, you can put together the start of a photo-journal.

 

Writing to Describe or Tell a Story Meaningful to You:When writing journal entries, one can begin by telling a story that has special meaning to you, and then giving a detailed description of one’s thoughts as they occur. This strategy allows ideas to flow freely, and allows you a chance to provide details of impressions you might have surrounding personal experiences and emotions.

 

Writing to Explain Your Problem-Solving Process, or Meta-Cognitive ProcessesWhen writing about how you solve problems, you begin by describing your processes for working through problems (related to writing), and spending time considering what thoughts, feelings, assumptions, beliefs, values, and attitudes you had during the problem-solving process.

 

Writing to Analyze Your (as well as others’) Thoughts and Reasons Behind Actions and PracticesIn this case, you are describing your thinking about why you made certain decisions or felt a specific way, and analyzing possible reasons or causes for the decisions and actions made.

 

Writing to Evaluate Actions/DecisionsFor this type of writing, you start with asking yourself about what was good or bad with your decisions/actions? Did your actions/decisions lead to positive results, or negative results?

Writing to Reflect and Reconstruct Past Decisions/ActionsThis type of writing requires you to think openly without censure (blocking your thoughts/feelings, or being self-critical). Considering past decisions/actions, what changes might have been made? How would you have changed your actions/decisions? What are plans for future actions? 

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