What is a dialectical journal?



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A dialectical journal is a format for logging entries and responses, either between a writer and reader or for an individual to record their own responses to events or media. Dialectical journals have become popular in public schools in the United States as a way for teachers to encourage their students to interact with and think critically about texts introduced in the classroom. For example, a class may be reading Romeo and Juliet, and the teacher might ask the students to "respond" to the play in their journals. This is an opportunity for students to flesh out criticism or commentary they have about the play, or ask questions on parts which confuse them. Teachers may then read the journals and in turn respond on paper or open up discussion with the entire class.

Dialectical journals may be useful for others engaged in study of media as a way of keeping track of their own thoughts in response to texts they encounter.

This method may be done with only a piece of paper and a pencil, though most teachers recommend dedicating a three-ring binder with loose leaf paper or a bound journal to this activity.

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