One of the most important skills we can develop is our capacity to learn new things. We live in a society where change is rapid and ongoing and if we aren't comfortable with the process of learning, we will be left behind.
One way to help students become more effective learners is by helping them to maintain a learning journal. In it, they reflect not on WHAT they've learned, but on HOW they are learning. The goal is to get them to think about how they learn best so they can use the strategies that are more likely to work for them.
Some questions they can respond to include:
- What was easiest for me to learn this week? Why?
- What was challenging for me to learn this week? Why?
- What learning habits seem to be working well for me? Why?
- What habits aren't working as well? Why and what could I change?
- What are new learning strategies I could experiment with for next week? How will I know if they work for me?
Working with a learning journal is something that we can model for young people, using the time that they are responding to reflect on our own learning during the past week. Then we can share our observations about our learning and invite our young people to do the same with each other. This creates a stronger learning community for everyone.
Reflecting on the "how" of learning is part of cultivating a growth mindset. It helps young people see how their efforts do and don't pay off in the learning process and where they may need to make adjustments.
It can also give us some insights into what works and what doesn't work for our students so that we can suggest new strategies and opportunities to experiment with learning.
Do you use learning journals? How have they worked for you? Drop us a note in comments to share your experience!