Guided Journal


Teaching Strategies for a Learner-Centered Classroom

Strategy:                Guided Journal

Time:                       5-20 minutes

Intent: To encourage students to reflect on a learning experience, becoming more conscious of what was learned.


  • Instructor explains to students the importance of reflecting on learning experiences in order to become conscious of what those experiences have taught them.
  • Students are invited (or required) to keep a journal of their reflections and what they have learned.
  • Students should write in their journals twice a week, recording some of their thoughts and feelings about what they are learning. They should make their entries without regard to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.   
  • Students can focus on some or all of the following:
    • What’s been unclear in what they have learned or what they don’t agree with.
    • How learning experiences connect with their personal lives.
    • How the learning experiences connect with or reflect other things they read, see, or do.
    • What they have observed about themselves or others as a result of the learning experiences.
    • Conclusions they have drawn from the learning experiences.
    • What they would like to do as a result of the learning experiences.
  • Instructor collects, reads, and comments on the journals periodically so that students are held accountable for keeping them and so that there is communication between student and instructor on how students are learning.


  • Reflective writing activities, such as guided journals, encourage students to be more conscious of the learning experiences they have had.
  • Students think more deeply and can organize their thoughts when putting them on paper.
  • Writing often helps students think more clearly about a given subject.


  • Students might write during class time instead of outside of class.
  • Students might share findings with the whole class or in small groups.
  • Generic Question Stems may be used as a starting point for this activity.

Additional Information:

  • Article: Use of Guided Reflective Journals in Clinical Nursing Courses

  • Generic Question Stems:

The Baker College System