16 Educational Philosophy, Concepts, Methods, and Skills in Teaching Teaching Instruments Instructors have available to them an array of teaching tools that assist students in understanding, integrating, and applying what they are learning to what they are doing in the classroom. These include syllabi, journals, records of service, analyses of a critical incident, papers and exams, and graphic presentations such as the ecomap, the genogram, and the force field analysis. Samples are found in appendices A, B, C, and D of the textbook. Next, we describe assign- ments that can be used to enhance students’ learning. The Journal/Log The journal (or log) emphasizes self-reflection and critical thinking and can take several forms. Students can be required to critique and respond to assigned readings, compare and contrast the author’s points with those made in other readings, and to make connections to class discussion and practice experiences. Students also could be required to reflect on their own cognitive and affective processes in integrating theory and practice with their field experience. At the cognitive level, in addition to its use in the integration of theory, practice, and personal experience, the journal helps students develop writing skills and strengthens their capacity for critical thinking. For example, we have required our students to write one entry per week in a journal, in which they describe what happened in fieldwork that week and apply concepts that they have been learning. We also have asked students to apply readings to their field experience and class discussion. At the affective level, the log facilities self-awareness and personal curiosity. The instructor introduces and describes the journal to students in the first session of the course, and they immediately begin to write in them, continuing throughout the term. We collect the journals every three to four weeks as a way of assessing students’ level of understanding and the nature of learning strengths and difficulties, as well as to pull out entries for class discussion. The journal is most useful when it is promptly returned with comments. In our comments, we respond to salient themes and issues by confirming cognitive understanding, validating creative connections, crediting intellectual and per- sonal risk-taking, and supporting serious effort. We also use the journal to raise questions, invite clarification and elabora- tion, and demand greater effort and rigor from students who may not take seri- ously or understand its purpose. Because of the ongoing exchange that goes on in class, it is useful to have students always submit the entire journal rather than just the most recent entries. We have found that students value our prompt
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