Journaling isn’t just a fun activity to keep students busy during English class—it’s a practical, multi-faceted tool that has benefits across all areas of their lives. And for middle school students who are already preparing for the next phase of their education, journaling can offer real, tangible benefits that they’ll enjoy now and as they continue to grow. Read on to learn about four of the exciting ways that journal activities can boost your students’ brains.
1. Journaling Promotes Linear, Logical Thinking and Clear Self-Expression
Middle school students have challenging lives—and as a result, many of them may have trouble expressing themselves in effective and appropriate ways. Because they get so many conflicting messages from the people around them, the media, and their own emotions and thoughts, it can be tough for them to clearly articulate their ideas and to express their needs.
However, when kids write, they become more adept at thinking in a linear, logical manner. Because there is no room for verbal tone or body language to act as shorthand in a conversation, writing requires students to explain their thoughts (and the connections between those thoughts) more clearly than speaking does—and it ultimately teaches students how to express themselves effectively both on the page and in person.
2. A Student’s Journal is a Safe, Judgment-Free Zone
Another one of the integral benefits of journaling is that it offers students a safe, judgment-free zone where they can fully explore their ideas and feelings. Whether your students are part of an at-risk population or simply have a bit of average adolescent anxiety, they’ll benefit from knowing that their journals are a safe space where they can express anything they need to without fear of judgment or ridicule from their peers. For a student who is experiencing confusing emotions or fear and uncertainty over the future, the value of a safe space can truly not be underestimated.
3. Practice Makes Perfect—and Writing is No Exception
There’s no doubt about it: practice makes perfect, and kids who write more frequently are undoubtedly better writers than kids who never have to compose sentences and paragraphs on the page.
Regardless of what your middle school students may do in the future, the ability to write well and effectively communicate their thoughts is an essential skill. As our world becomes increasingly digital and more and more communication takes place via text-based platforms, students absolutely must know how to write. Developing this valuable skill from an early age is one of the best things any teacher can do for his or her students.
4. Confident Self-Expression Leads to Improved Self-Esteem
One of the greatest benefits of journaling isn’t particularly tangible or easy to measure—but it can have a major impact on your students for the rest of their lives. We’re talking, of course, about the value of high self-esteem.
Journaling activities teach kids that their ideas matter and that their opinions and experiences have true value. Regular writing practice also helps kids become better communicators and enables them to express and articulate their thoughts effectively. When kids are more adept at expressing their own thoughts (and also feel more confident in the value of their own ideas), they’ll have higher self-esteem—and ultimately, they’ll be more prepared to tackle the world.
And as an added bonus, here are some journaling challenges to share with your middle school students. (Pssst… Here is the full list of journaling ideas.
Until next time, journal on…