Global Change Seminar
"It's Your Move!"
The Seminar Journal
(Gain Insight, Track Progress, and Record New Information)
The design of this Seminar incorporates several methods of reinforcing learning and provoking new insights. One such method is the Seminar Journal. This articles explains the reasons why a Journal can be a powerful tool, and offers suggestions for using it while engaged in the Seminar. Each Segment of the Seminar contains Journal-writing activities.
Different Journal methods work for different people. The format is inconsequential, the content is paramount. Some people like to write by hand in a spiral notebook, others prefer to word process on a computer. The vehicle chosen should be whatever is appealing and convenient for the writer. You know what will work best for you.
Writing in a Journal is effective because the act of writing forces one to attach specific words to one's thinking. In so doing the thought process becomes clearer. Those who don't like writing usually discover that if they persist with a Journal, their writing slowly increases in quality and the act of writing gradually becomes more enjoyable. The adage that "the difference between a good writer and a bad one is 100,000 words of deathless prose" is right on the money.
Journal writing provides a helpful systematic structure to the internal reflection process by which people sort, think about, and reach conclusions regarding their experience and personal, social, and professional interactions. The act of writing - while reflecting on a day, a reading, an incident, or a perception - encourages people to think about the impact of their experiences on them and what they concluded from those experiences. It makes people think about such questions as:
- What most stood out for me?
- What did I most appreciate?
- What did I find most interesting?
- What did I find most frustrating?
- Did I accomplish that I wanted to accomplish?
- What did I not do that I wished I'd done?
- What experience or interaction did I find most significant or meaningful?
- What lessons do I take away from this?
- What unanswered questions do I take away from this?
- What follow-up action should I do?
- What, if anything, might I do differently or change for the future?
Several Journal-writing activities are included for each Segment of this Seminar. These are described as part of each Segment's meeting preparation work. The Seminar Journal-writing tasks are intended to encourage participants to reflect on their experience, gain insights, track progress through the Seminar, record new information, and store follow-up ideas. We strongly recommend that participants set aside some time on a regular basis to add material to the Seminar Journal.
At the end of the articles in each Segment of the Seminar are a set of "Think About" questions. Insight will be enhanced if responses to these questions are recorded in the Journal. We encourage participants to do that after reading each article.
During each Segment's Group Meeting there is an opportunity to share (as appropriate and desired) reflections from the Journal work. Such sharing can induce additional insights, and helps to promote trust and support within the group.
Note that there are two types of Journal writing, free writing and guided writing. The Seminar provides suggestions for guided writing. Some participants may wish to accompany the guided Journal writing with some free writing in the way suggested by Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way. She suggests writing what she calls "Morning Pages" whereby each morning, on rising, about thirty minutes are spent on free writing. This is whatever comes to mind without caring about whether it is interesting, grammatical, redundant or inane. Just convert the thoughts to some written words. If, or when, one gets stuck, her advice is to keep rewriting the last word written until something else comes up. Free writing is an effective way to access information and insights that arise from the subconscious.