Reflective Journaling in US Government Class (By Tim McCollough, Social Sciences Economic & Government Instructor)

The coronavirus pandemic has offered a silver lining for US Government classes: never before in our students' lifetimes has the response of governments been so impactful on their lives. Elected government officials are determining whether students see each other at school; when and where they can go out; and whether their college classes will begin on time. Particularly for seniors, this has been a difficult time.

One of our class projects was to document the reactions of governments-- national, state, and local-- via daily journaling. Students were tasked with a daily reflective writing piece in which they reported and opined on major government actions. In doing so, the senior students were practicing reflective writing and research, but also practicing how to be an active and engaged citizen.
Every student has a unique, first-hand experience with coronavirus; and they can now see why responsible government is of paramount importance. And, if ever they wanted to look back and recall what life was like during these times, they have a live journal to look back upon.

For example, do you recall when NYC deaths began to spike and panic was spreading? A quote from a student's March 18 journal entry:

Everything is shutting down and people are worried about what’s next in our society. Elders are worried for their lives and everyone is wondering if this could be the end of humanity.

Talk about capturing the zeitgeist!

This highlights the importance of contemporary recordkeeping. As of today, such doomsday sentiment seems like ages ago. How time seems to have slowed, no?

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