Saturday, May 26, 2012

Recursive Journaling

In last year's English 101, I used student blogs to try to get students to reflect on their political ideals. I was dissatisfied with the depth they achieved. One possible solution is recursive journaling. This is where students write an initial journal, and then, after some discussion and additional information, they revisit the journal entry.

This process was briefly described in Lisa Taylor's article, “Reading Desire: From Empathy to Estrangement, from Enlightenment to Implication.” Students in Taylor's teacher-education course write their first journal as they read  Persepolis, commenting especially on their identification with Marjane. Students read contextual materials alongside Persepolis and learn more about history, then revisit their first journal. The purpose of this activity was to have students question their empathic identifications, which often are merely projections of the self onto the other. The recursive journals allowed students to examine their assumptions and place of privilege. 

Persepolis image from Slant Magazine
Have you used recursive journaling? If so, what sort of guidance did you provide to students?

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