1. Stasis and Aha!
A: Stasis and Aha Journal
from a Rhetorical Theories Class. Discussion Topic: Lester Faigley
B: Stasis and Aha Journal
from a 20th Century Literature and Writing Class. Discussion Topic: Sula
What partially could be viewed as a dialogue journal is
the Stasis and Aha! Journal.
I wanted students to understand that their learning was different
from science classes: in humanities-type classes we mull things over,
write about them, and discuss why we are confused with as much detail as
when we are enlightened (Pictures A-D).
Stasis and Aha! can be explained as follows: Stasis
is where students reflect on readings, issues, or responses to questions
given by the teacher; the majority of students' journal writing occurs
here. Aha! is where students make new realizations or change their views
from ones expressed in the Stasis column. The new realizations come
about from class discussions, interactions, new readings, etc.
C: Stasis and Aha Journal
from a Rhetorical Theories Class. Discussion Topic: Mike Rose
D: Stasis and Aha Journal
from a 20th Century Literature and Writing Class. Discussion Topic: Sula
||In the early stages dialogue took place
with the student and his/her thoughts and me, the teacher; but again
I asked that students occasionally swap journals to see what their
peers were experiencing, how they wrote, and how they examined
challenging issues. Though
at that time they were not required to type their journals, some
were even nice enough and creative enough to type them in a formal
Stasis, Aha!, Detective, Audience and Ethics, and Interview
5-part journal is developmental in its approach, increasing in
difficulty as students begin a research and writing process.
Initially used in second semester freshman writing, it is
rewarding journal practice if you are interested in making students
aware of the research and writing choices they make. The
Stasis, Aha!, Detective, Audience and Ethics, and Interview serves
as a model inventive rubric for research-oriented writing
handout students receive (Picture E) discussed the necessary stages
for completing their journal documenting their research
experience. In this journal, I used the ideas learned from
Stasis and Aha! journals as a starting point.
E: Handout Given to students
explaining the Stasis, Aha!, Detective,
Audience and Ethics, and Interview Journal
The left side is your Stasis Journal.
Here you need to respond to current beliefs and
understandings. You'll need to write down your ideas, beliefs, and
thoughts as you respond to class materials and ideas. Don't wait!
The right side is your Aha! journal.
Here you'll talk to your understanding about our topic as
it occurs in the Stasis column.
This area is reserved for new understanding, insight, and
awareness from what you had originally written in the Stasis
These are entries that, as the title suggests,
ask you to consider the case at hand and what you discover.
It will be your log of "Last evening, during the most
frightening thunderstorm, I entered into the Library to uncover
some clues to help me understand notions of how there are
discourse communities, and how they accept and restrict us. I began at the . . . Here I discovered . . . "
In other words, you will keep track of your actions and
choices. Remember, accuracy always helps your case, so as you find
sources, document them correctly.
This journal will be a dialogue like the first two.
Here you'll make entries explaining why you chose to leave
out some information and include other pieces; why you chose not
to look further into a particular essay, book chapter, etc.
In other words, this is a journal of choices; I am asking
you to reflect upon your own acts of accepting and rejecting information.
This journal pertains to the second half of our
class. In it, you will keep track of the questions you ask,
the responses you get, etc., from the person you interview.
journals asked students to examine and think about issues from many
angles as well as have exposure to audience; this was an attempt to
keep them out of the diarist narrative.
Admittedly experimental, this journal was exciting, drawing from
theoretical and pedagogical landscape of many disciplines.
It was a challenging journal to explain and maintain with
students, as the demands of it evolved with the semester. The
strength of this journal is also its challenge.
Since it is based partially on the Stasis and Aha! Journal pedagogy
it required that students keep up with their active learning.
When students began researching a topic, the detective component
kicked in and they had to keep track of what they did, where they
looked, etc. This was a
wonderful means to better understand how students research and
intervene if necessary on a timely basis. The
Audience and Ethics journal required that they keep a log of writing
decisions that they made, enhancing a critical pedagogy in that
students must begin noting why they include and exclude information
for particular audiences--two challenging tasks.
Aha! and Dialogic Journals
(in The Journal and
Writing Place it is The Cluster Journal)
realizations from the Stasis and Aha!, and Stasis, Aha!, Detective,
Audience and Ethics, and Interview journals were insightful, but
again the discourse was fairly private between my students and me.
I worked on creating a journal that required students to exchange
with each other from the get-go, theoretically drawing from the
Russian concept “cuzoj” (note: accent above c and z) which means
“other” and “svoj” means one’s own as employed by Mikhail
Bakhtin (p. 423) and my own emerging understanding of the enthymeme
(Rhetoric Society Quarterly; Pre/Text; American
Indian Quarterly). This
new interactive journal environment suddenly eliminated the privacy
issue: Students knew by design that “their” journals were “another’s”
and vice versa from the first day they wrote in them (Picture
F). The journals situate students in communities of three, or
F: LAN-based Stasis,
Aha! and Dialogic Journal as seen from within a cluster
the three columns took on three distinct yet interrelated
meaning-making settings. The
Stasis Journal, located on the left side (in TJP it is called
Current Understandings) is where students wrote about 70% of their
entries; they responded to questions and issues as well as made
connections that they found relevant to the class, which included
confusions and difficulties. The
Aha! Journal located in the middle column (in
TJP it is called Evolving Understandings) represented the
enthymematic pedagogy of this journal.
It asked students to write about evolving understanding they made
based on new realizations, assumptions, class discussions, comments
and interactions with clustermates, the instructor, or from other
It represented a personal acknowledgement
of a student’s growth, and it might be argued a manifestation of
their inner speech (Lev Vygotsky). For
example, students might write in the Stasis column that they liked a
particular reading for reasons A and B. In time, however, they
might find that they had come to appreciate the reading in a whole
new way, which we will call "D." This realization
might take place10 seconds to 10 years later! By the same
token students might write that they were confused by their
teacher's lecture and the ensuing assignment. Students base
their dislike on points A, B, C, D. Later, after discoursing
with their clustermates, others in class, the teacher, or new texts,
they have an Aha! moment. Students began to understand that
the journal pedagogy expected them to make connections on their own,
as in A is related to B and these two make a leap to idea
Dialogic Journal located on the right side (in TJP it is
called Clustermate Interactions) was
an automatic part of each student’s journal, yet it was also part
of a community of three students, who formed a cluster community. Each
student in the cluster of three was responsible for reading the
other two members’ journals and then engaging in a dialogic
exchange with clustermates.
| G: Multimedia
portfolio with link to student's journal
Student's journal in many colors
||In the past some
students with hard copy journals loved personalizing their journals with
personal drawings and pictures. Now
with multimedia they could do this much easier and continue to enhance
“their” journal. A
Marxist take on this is that they were no longer alienated by their
journals: they created, used, and modified as they liked, but the personal
picture had to remain (it could be changed of course).
The results were remarkable and this personalization would be
influential in the later development of The Journal and Writing Place
(Pictures F, G, H).
Pedagogically and technologically the
journals worked well. Students
wrote, learned, rhetorically manipulated technology, and could swap
journals via a LAN folder. As
two pedagogical bonuses, the entries could be projected on the overhead to
discuss issues brought up, and since I could access the journals from my
office the ease of engagement was practical and smooth. But my burning issue was access. The
limitations were that students could not take these outside of class to
work on, so they had to come to the labs with LAN access to the software
when the labs were open, or without other classes occupying them.
The conceptual and pedagogical stage, however, was set for the next