Monday, August 8, 2011

Dialogue Journals and ESL Students

Question: What is the purpose of dialogue journals?

Answer/Quote: “The terms journal, log, diary, and notebook are used in various ways and at times interchangeably. Dialogue journals, however, differ markedly from typical classroom journals or logs. They are written conversations between partners, usually a student and teacher. Each student, regardless of his or her level of English proficiency, writes an entry daily…to which the teacher responds.”

“The teacher’s role is to support children’s literacy development and to respond as a conversationalist might, reacting with personal comments, anecdotes, and questions…. Students choose their own topics, write their entries and eagerly read the teacher’s response.”

“Dialogue journals have been found to be highly effective with second-language students, as well as with native speakers…. Studies that have examined the use of dialogue journals report substantial improvement in students’ writing fluency, elaboration of topics, and use of conventional syntax.”

Comment: Dialogue journals might be the first step in preparation for later 10-minute essays in which the students’ language is corrected by the teacher.  I assume that with the dialogue journal, the teacher does not correct the language, but models the proper use of language in responding to the students’ writing. RayS.

Title: “Comprehending through Reading and Writing: Six Research-Based Instructional Strategies.” N Farnan, J Flood and D Lapp. Pp. 135-137. In Kids Come in All Languages: Reading Instruction for ESL Students. Eds. K Spangensberg-Urgschat and R Pritchard. Newark, DE: IRA. 1994, 108-131.

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