What is a critical reflective journal and why should you use one?
Critical reflection is an opportunity to construct knowledge and meaning from your work. It is one of the most valuable activities you will perform in this course. A critical reflective journal is an instrument for developing your writing skills and critical thinking ability. A critical reflective journal differs from your typical class notes in which you “passively” record data/information given to you by an instructor. It should not be a mere “listing of events” but rather reflect upon lessons you have learned– it’s a personal record of your educational experience in class.
An online journal facilitates your documentation of knowledge you are constructing throughout the course. It will help you take control of and direct your own learning experience, identify what you have learned, what questions you have, and what you would like to know more about. You should not only reflect on knowledge gained through materials and discussion, but also new ideas to explore through feedback from others.
More specifically, maintaining a critical reflective journal serves several purposes:
• It facilitates and enables the development of communication and conversation (e.g., between material and yourself; yourself and your teacher).
• It provides regular feedback between you and the instructors and helps to match expectations.
• It works as a platform for synthesising your developing knowledge and ideas.
• It helps you move from passively remembering the topic material to a more active and questioning engagement with the material, deepening your understanding of the strengths and limitations of key ideas amd approaches, and an appreciation of its relevance to practice. This is a part of developing your capacity for critical thinking.
• Helps to identify issues that interest you, that challenging challenge you, and areas that you can improvement upon.
• Aids in clarifying the meaning of key terms by developing a Dictionary of important terms.
What to write?
First write a brief summary of the contents of a topic,chapter or reading material. Then reflect upon
the learning activities you have engaged with. Record your own thoughts, ideas, responses and reactions to any of the above. Make notes about concepts, questions you have, and any confusion that may arise. Record new insights and problem-solving strategies realised during discussions with fellow students and instructors. The journal helps you to identify and explain the key issues and to critically reflect and further develop your own thoughts and ideas about it. Be as original and critical (constructive) as you can.
How to write?
You should use whatever style you are comfortable with as long as it is clearly written and sensible, is understandable to another reader (your teacher) and uses correct spelling, grammar and semantics (word meanings).
Your journal should meet the following expectations:
Keep to the topic and include all relevant issues.
Go beyond what other people have said on the topic. Express their ideas in your own words but add your own ideas and opinions. To do this you need to analyse and criticise ideas where appropriate and argue your point of view.
Support your arguments and opinions, by using examples, further readings, experiences from your own knowledge base, work experience, other course work, etc.
Pay attention to the general rules of clear writing in relation to paragraphing, punctuation, spelling, etc.
If references are used, ensure appropriate referencing style (APA6) and attach a reference list of the books and articles that you drew upon in the journal.
Adhere to the word limit (100 to 150 words per entry). If the weekly entry is much shorter or longer than required, rewrite it concisely (no padding out of short entries). Format advice is available in the Resources section.
Only your teacher will have access to your online journal.
About the resources for each journal, I am wondering how to send it to you guys. Hope to get your reply soon.
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