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Journal Requirements
for EH 220 (1-Y)

John Tatter
Professor of English

Your journal (a French word meaning "daily") is separate from both your class notes and your written responses to the study questions posted on our class Web pages. Your journal is the written link between the things you read and the activities you pursue outside of class. Your journal thus serves as a resource to help you participate more effectively in class discussion and help you develop your papers.

Your journal is your record of your service experiences. Within 48 hours after each service-learning session, including the initial conversation you have with your partner as you choose your service activity, you should respond to what you experienced. Your service journal entries will be in the form of Word documents attached to an e-mail message to me. Before writing, You should talk about each session with your partner, but then you should go off by yourself and write alone. What particular things happened during the session? What didn't happen that you hoped would happen, or that you feared would happen? What made you feel good? What made you feel uncomfortable? What made you feel disappointed? What made you feel confused? What gave you a feeling of accomplishment or satisfaction? Why exactly did you feel these things? Beyond your personal feelings, what connections can you make between your service and the literature you are reading?

For example, you might comment on how the contrasting settings in Bambara's "The Lesson" show how large a gap there was between African-Americans and affluent white Americans during the 1960s and 1970s. You might also comment on the narrow point of view of the narrator, Sylvia, who thinks that all "white folks" are "crazy" based on her one encounter with a white woman wearing a fur coat during the summer. That narrow point of view, as unfair as it might seem to a white reader, is very similar to the narrow point of view that many white people have had about African-Americans -- seeing one African-American out of work, they have assumed that all African-Americans are lazy. Sylvia's "lesson" about "white folks" becomes a lesson for the reader about "black folks." Do your service experiences offer similar lessons to you and your partner?

You should write for no less than a half-hour in each case. Sometimes you will write much more. Remember that details are the heart of good writing. You will not make yourself understood to others, and you will not be able to re-read the journal five years from now and understand yourself, if you do not base your statements and ideas on specific examples.

Because you must complete 15 hours of service, and because most students spend two hours a week in their service activities, I expect to see at least eight entries from you over the course of the term. Failure to turn in a journal entry on time will reduce your final journal grade by 12 points. Failure to address issues of gender, race, or class in in a journal entry will result in a 6-point reduction for that entry.

John D. Tatter, Birmingham-Southern College,