Saturday, May 20, 2006

Keep a journal: help your memory

If, like me, you forget certain things you have to do, and then remember them the minute before you have to do them, then keeping a journal is for you.

You don’t have to write pages and pages. In fact, you can write as much as you want, or as little as you think is necessary. Keep a record of the times and dates of tasks, appointments, meetings, and deadlines – anything you need to do on time.

You can also keep records of things like your impressions, what you were thinking at the time, what you thought of others – anything you think you might benefit from rereading later.

If you are a student learning English, for example, you could keep a record of some important parts of your lesson to remind you when you come to do things like write essays and assignments.

Let’s say your teacher gives you some important vocabulary that you know you will need when you come to write up your essay. Make a note of it, and label it so you can find it easily later. Actually, you could keep a special section in the back of your journal for words you want to use later – organize the lists of words alphabetically to enable you to find them later.

The act of writing English in a journal will affect your own ability to write. Without the necessity of having anyone else read your journal, you are free to write anything you like – this may sound like allowing bad English, but there is no such thing as bad English – there is only English at a certain point in your learning experience – your English isn’t bad, it’s just not accurate yet. It’s as accurate as you can make it bat this particular point in your education.

I’ll say it again – keeping a journal and rereading it from time to time will help you to improve your grasp of the language, and you’ll be able to track your improvements and backtrack to correct your own written English – which amounts to you being your own writing teacher – that’s the real value of keeping a journal – though not the only one. Try it – keep a daily record of your time at university. If nothing else, it will be a sentimental journey you can take every time you go through it in future.
Robert L. Fielding


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