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Cascade Talks: Kanwal Hassan on the Power of Journalling for Students

Cascade Train Teach Learn
Cascade Train Teach Learn

We are thrilled to present the next instalment of Cascade Talks, where we delve into insightful conversations with experts in the realms of teaching, learning, parenting, and everything related to children's well-being. Our featured guest for this episode is Kanwal Hassan. She is a PhD from Hong Kong Baptist University and has delved into the fascinating realm of understanding how leaders and states think, exploring the intersection of decision-making and leadership. She is also a passionate advocate for journaling, especially for students.

1. Can you tell us a little more about your background and why you’re passionate about journaling for students?

My background in government and social sciences, along with the challenges I faced with procrastination and self-limiting beliefs during my PhD studies, led me to research the topic of procrastination. This exploration ignited my passion for journaling as I personally experienced the transformative power it holds. Witnessing the positive impact it had on my own life, I am driven to share this valuable tool with others.

2. You have completed your PhD at Hong Kong Baptist University - could you share a bit more about what you’re studying and researching, and how journaling helped you through your PhD?

During my PhD studies, which I completed in 2019, I delved into understanding how leaders and states think. It was a fascinating journey that allowed me to explore the intersection of decision-making and leadership. Journaling played a significant role in helping me navigate the challenges and demands of my doctoral research, aiding me in overcoming feelings of overwhelm and providing clarity in my thought process.

3. How can journaling help teenagers with their emotional and mental well-being?

Journaling serves as an incredible tool for the emotional and mental well-being of teenagers. It encourages them to delve into their thoughts, reflect on their experiences, and develop a deeper understanding of themselves. By honing their communication skills through journaling, teenagers become better equipped to express their emotions, thoughts, and opinions effectively. This contributes to their overall well-being and enhances their productivity.

4. How can parents or educators encourage teenagers to start journaling, and what are some tips for maintaining a consistent journaling practice?

To encourage teenagers to embrace journaling, parents and educators can foster a supportive environment that values self-expression and open communication. Providing appealing journals or digital platforms that align with their interests and preferences can be motivating. Emphasizing the importance of consistency and setting aside dedicated time for journaling, while allowing flexibility for personalization, can help maintain a consistent journaling practice.

5. Are there any particular journaling techniques or prompts that you recommend for teenagers?

​​When it comes to journaling techniques and prompts for teenagers, I recommend incorporating a mix of structured and open-ended approaches. Reflective journaling on specific topics or events can be valuable, as well as exploring creative expressions such as art, poetry, or storytelling. Prompts that encourage sharing opinions, dreams, or goals can stimulate imagination and foster self-reflection.

6. How can journaling help teenagers improve their writing and communication skills?

Journaling not only enhances teenagers' writing skills but also improves their overall communication abilities. Through regular practice, they develop clarity in expressing their thoughts, learn effective idea structuring, and expand their vocabulary. These skills become invaluable assets as they navigate academic pursuits, social interactions, and future leadership roles.

7. Can you share any success stories or examples of teenagers who have benefited from incorporating journaling into their daily routines?

I've had the privilege of working with hundreds of teenagers globally, training them in conducting interviews and express their opinions. It's inspiring to witness their growth and transformation. Journaling has been an integral part of our interview training. All participants were encouraged to note their journey through the training process, allowing them to refine their understanding and communication skills. Many of them have gone on to become effective research ambassadors, armed with the courage and ability to articulate their thoughts and make a positive impact in their communities.

Download a beautiful journal created by Dr Kanwal Hassan specially for Cascade blog readers.

Download PDF • 12.99MB

Follow us to find out more about Cascade Talks.

Next month we meet another expert to help shed light on mental well-being.

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