A. Takaesu

International Christian University (JAPAN)
Journal writing has long been viewed and applauded as an effective means for native speakers of a language (L1) to explore their deeper thoughts and to generate ideas for more elaborate pieces of writing. However, there have been few studies done to determine if the same effects are applicable to second language (L2) learners. This study was conducted to investigate three areas of journal writing: 1) Can L2 learners experience the same psychological benefits that L1 learners purportedly experience? 2) Can journal writing serve as a bridge to more elaborate writing projects? 3) What conditions are requisite to the promotion of a successful journal writing process?
During the study, 18 college students with upper intermediate English proficiency participated in a creative writing course in which journal writing was incorporated as a precursor for creative writing. All the students’ journal entries as well as three surveys conducted thrice over the course of 9 weeks were analyzed to measure the effects of journal writing on L2 learners. The results showed that journal writing had a remarkable effect on students in four distinctive ways: Firstly, it promoted self-awareness and enabled students to garner therapeutic effects from it. Secondly, it served as a springboard to more multifarious creative writing pieces. Thirdly, it led to changes in students’ attitude toward writing in English and enhanced their confidence. Finally, it augmented their motivation in more challenging writing tasks.