Social studies course from the perspective of students' learning diaries

Bayir O. G., Cengelci T.

International Journal of Learning, vol.17, no.6, pp.131-144, 2010 (Scopus) identifier


Learning diaries are a learning tool which provides students with the opportunity to assess and review their learning process, while at the same time recording their feelings about the learning experience. As well as providing students with a vehicle for controlling their thinking processes while they are writing their learning diaries, teachers are also able to use the diaries to check how and what students are learning. While learning diaries can be utilized in all subjects, the close relationship between a Social Studies course and daily life facilitates the use of learning diaries in Social Studies courses, and thus, learning diaries help students relate daily life to their learning. Traditionally, a Social Studies course is perceived as the memorization of concepts, principles and generalizations. Through learning diaries, students learn to analyze, interpret and practice their learning in relation to their Social Studies course. The aim of the present study is to examine how students reflect their learning in Social Studies courses through their learning diaries. The qualitative research method, "document analysis" was used for the purpose of the study. Students' learning diaries were analyzed as a data source in the study using the content analysis technique. As a result of analysis of the students' learning diaries, four categories were determined. These categories were: affective data, data regarding the Social Studies course, data regarding school life, and data regarding the students' daily life. Themes under the affective data category were listed as: students' attitudes about school, students' attitudes about their social studies course, and students' attitudes about their social studies teacher. Themes under the data regarding the Social Studies course category were determined as: content of the Social Studies course, the teaching-learning process in the Social Studies course, and the assessment process in the Social Studies course. Sub-themes of the teaching-learning process in the Social Studies course were teaching methods and techniques, and instructional tools used in the Social Studies course. Themes under the data regarding school life were examined as: studies in other courses, and social activities. Lastly, themes under the data regarding students' daily life category were determined as: special days and celebrations, preparation for the Social Studies course outside of school, and relationships with family and friends. © Common Ground, Omur Gurdogan Bayir, Tuba Cengelci.