Why hand write in a journal?

Can you recognise the handwriting of people you know? As you start to read a note jotted in the staff communication book, for example, you will likely know who has written it before you get to the end.

Handwriting is distinct and individual and evolves once we have left behind the anxiety of learning how to do it correctly and earned our pen license around Year 4. I can remember playing around with different styles of writing in my teens, ‘e’s’ that looked like backwards ‘3’s’, curly ‘y’s’ and ‘I’ that had a heart replacing the dot, putting capital letter in the middle of woRds.

What do you remember about learning to write? Do you have any samples of your own handwriting from these days?

Handwriting is becoming a lost form of communication, in our work and in our personal lives…technology helps us do things quicker, it helps us with spelling, grammar and even gives us reminders if we forget punctuation and is especially useful in helping us to reword statements to use ‘more concise language’. All this is great, but there is real benefit to taking pen to paper and just writing.

Handwriting “requires that you be present. In this way, writing is a helpful tool for quieting a wandering mind or focusing our attention; it can be a way of staying still and engaging more mindfully with the world around us” (Damico & Whitney, 2017, p. 37)

Reflective journal writing is considered:

  • Critical to personal professional practice (Al-Hassan et al., 2012)
  • An important and meaningful pursuit (Brown, Cheddie, Horry, & Monk, 2017)
  • A useful tool to build self-awareness (Farrell, 2013)
  • Supports the ability to express and understand our emotions (Whitney & Olcese, 2013)

With the busy, people-filled days we experience in education and care services, taking moments to be reflective about our work and our decision-making is important.

So, we encourage you to leave behind your worries about spelling and grammar and write in an unfiltered way in this journal ‘Pause and Ponder’ as a way of reconnecting with your thinking, away from the wiggly red line that tells you to check your spelling. Get your own ideas down on paper first. At this point it is all about acknowledging your own thoughts and wonderings. Where you start is not always where you end up, but the starting part gets you somewhere. Of course, it’s a different story when we share our writing with others. The conventions of spelling and grammar are important so that others can engage with it and, is part of our professional responsibility. However, this personal reflective journal Annie and I have created is a tool for you to pause and ponder (and sometime) provoke deeper thinking.

We are excited to share our own thinking and experiences with you and look forward to sharing your feedback and thinking with us.

Coming soon: Pause and ponder: Reflecting on your work with children

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Al-Hassan, O., Al-Barakat, A., & Al-Hassan, Y. (2012). Pre-service teachers’ reflections during field experience. Journal of Education for Teaching: International Research and Pedagogy, 38(4), 419-434. Doi:10.1080/02607476.2012.707918

Brown, C. S., Cheddie, T. N., Horry, L. F., & Monk, J. E. (2017). Training to be an early childhood professional: Teacher candidates’ perceptions about their education and Training. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 5(6), 177-186. Doi:10.11114/jets.v5i6.2308

Damico, N., & Whitney, A. (2017). Turning Off Autopilot: Mindful Writing for Teachers. Voices From the Middle; Urbana. 25 (2), 37-40. Retrieved from https://www-proquest-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/1975978146?accountid=15112&pq-origsite=primo

Farrell, T. S. (2013). Teacher self-awareness through journal writing. Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 14(4), 465-471. doi:10.1080/14623943.2013.806300

McCann, T., Whitney, A & Olcese, N. (2013). Mentoring matters: Preparing teachers for hard conversations. English Journal, 102(3), 106-109. Retrieved from https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/stable/pdf/23365383.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A7d8ba04c3492afb840eb334e37f714dc


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