10 Ways to Use an ESL Journal to Improve Your Learning Experience

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Your journey to learn the English language is unique to you.

Your goals are uniquely yours.

Your successes are uniquely yours.

Your English is uniquely yours.

And that’s what makes it so beautiful.

-Excerpted from My Beautiful English: An ESL Journal

ESL Journal

I'm a blogger and a writer, so I am admittedly a little biased as it relates to the power of writing. Yes, I think writing can take your English level to the next level. But if you don't want to take my word for it at face value, let me explain.

Journaling is Great for Most Types of Learners

If you already find the physical act of writing by hand enjoyable, then it's a perfect fit for you. But keeping a language journal can give any language learner a deeper awareness and appreciation of their language learning journey.

What makes writing effective? Not only does it help your mind build new connections between ideas, it reinforces existing knowledge. And it uncovers the vocabulary and grammar that you might be missing in order to truly express yourself.

Plus, science now shows that writing by hand can actually help you to express yourself better. The article Why Writing By Hand Could Make You Smarter in a 2013 issue of Psychology Today explains that the brain and hand have a unique relationship with one another in terms of expressing our ideas and thoughts.

The article goes on to say that, "Virginia Berninger, a professor at the University of Washington, reported her study of children in grades two, four and six revealed they wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard."

Sure, the study participants were children, but it's not a stretch to think the same would be true for adults. And, aren't we all just kids at heart anyway!

No matter your reasons for journaling, by picking up that pen, you are definitely making your English learning a priority–and, yes, you might be increasing your IQ in the process!

How to Journal

There is no set way to journal, but here are a few ideas to inspire you:

My Beautiful English: An ESL Journal

1. Write your daily English learning goals at the beginning of each day and how you plan to achieve them.

2. Write down new words or phrases that you encounter.

3. Journal about your frustrations and your successes at the end of each day.

4. Doodle or draw images that inspire or help you to remember a word or phrase.

5. Journal about your daily adventures.

6. Write down meaningful English conversations that you had that day or would like to have.

7. Copy quotes or lines from books that inspire you.

8. Try a line or two of poetry. Why not?

9. Write down things that you can now easily do in English that you couldn't do one month or a year ago.

10. Journal about your true motivation for learning English. For what reason are you committed to improving?

One final note

Journaling is not about perfection. Feel free to make mistakes, experiment with the language, and have fun! That's what it's all about!

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