Journal writing as an active learning tool in history education

Dian D. McCallum


This paper reports and reflects on the use of journal writing to engage higher education students in active learning processes in history education programmes at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. Beginning in the first semester of the academic year 2008-2009, journal writing was systematically included both as an on-going teaching/learning tool as well as a form of assessment in two history education programmes. The inclusion of this teaching/learning and assessment tool required students to purposely document, reflect on and evaluate their learning experiences. From a selection of journal writings done by students and their responses to open-ended questionnaire items, data were obtained on the usefulness of journal writing as a teaching/learning and assessment tool and in promoting active learning in history education. The main findings of this investigation showed that journal writing does facilitate students' engagement in reflecting on their early pre-teacher education beliefs about teaching. Journal writing also allows for active engagement in their learning.


history; higher education; journal writing; active learning

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