“Reflective journals and reflective practice in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language): communication, participation and engagement.” (Area 3)

Penny Dinezos Golightly, (Language Centre)

While reflective writing and reflective practice is becoming increasingly common in HE studies, many students struggle with the concept and the process; “I don’t know how to reflect” is a comment seen in student feedback. Instructing students how to make effective use of reflection can be difficult as reflection should be personal and meaningful to the writer, which means there is no one ‘right’ way to reflect. This paper presents observations from the methodology used in the Language Centre TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) modules on how to engage students in ongoing dialogue through a reflective journal. Self-awareness and communicative ability are vital elements in good reflection, but to achieve this, students need to be shown how to reflect, not just told what to do. Developing students’ abilities in finding their own reflective style has also shown positive results in improving communication between native and non-native speakers of English, resulting in mutual gain for both groups.

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