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JOURNAL WRITING REVISITED: USING LIFE-ADJUSTMENT NARRATIVES AS AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL APPROACH TO LEARNING IN PSYCHOLOGY OF ADJUSTMENT

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As a follow-up to the earlier success of using the Life Analysis as a life-story narrative assignment in my life-span development courses, in this article I report on the Life-Adjustment Narrative as an autobiographical approach to learning that I employed in instructing a course in psychology of adjustment. In completing the Life Adjustment Narrative, students record their attitudes, beliefs, and feelings toward the self, important events in their own lives, and interpersonal relationships that affect their personal adjustment. As predicted, the results of quantitative testing indicate that narrative discourse leads to higher-level learning outcomes, including critical analysis and conceptual application, when compared to traditional didactics. Based on questionnaire data, students viewed the project as helpful in stimulating critical thinking, course relevance to personal life, academic challenge, creative expression, self-discovery, personal interest and enjoyment, and motivation to learn. The quantitative and qualitative evidence combine to show that journal-writing assignments, such as the Life-Adjustment Narrative and the related Life Analysis, concurrently promote intellectual growth and meaningful personal insights. Results are discussed in terms of a constructivist model of teaching and learning. Implications for classroom pedagogy and future research are also presented.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Business and Social Science, Gordon College, Barnesville, Georgia, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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