I have received a few questions about dialectical journals over the weekend. Here are a few points of clarification.
The dialectical journal is a double-entry note taking system. It helps you to read critically and encourages the habit of reflective questioning. It is a place to record and explore ideas using writing as a tool for learning.
1. Draw a line down the middle of the paper, making two columns.
2. The left column is used for notes - direct quotations or summaries from the reading.
3. The right column is used for commenting on notes in the left column. Personal reactions to the notes on the left go here. The comments on the right may include:
• what the passage prompts in thinking or memory associations;
• feelings toward the author’s words;
• words or passages not understood;
• words or passages that look important; and
• connections among passages or sections of the work.
As you take notes in your journal, you should regularly reread the previous pages of notes and comments, drawing connections in a right-column summary before starting another page of the journal.