Using Journal writing to enhance student teachers' reflectivity during field experience placements

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Bain, John
Ballantyne, R.
Packer, J.
Mills, Colleen
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1999
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This paper investigates the use of reflective journals to facilitate student learning during a teacher education practicum. Thirty‐five student teachers undertaking a 1‐year Graduate Diploma of Education submitted weekly journal entries during their 11‐week practicum and were interviewed at several stages about their educational beliefs and practices. Students were randomly assigned to four intervention conditions which varied the content of journalling (experiential or cognitive) and the context (provision of reflective dialogue based on journal entries or self‐analysis). The evidence reported here includes the focus and level of students’ reflections, the effects of the intervention conditions, and students’ perceptions of the value of journalling. Although there was some evidence that students found it easier to write an experiential than a cognitive journal, there were no overall differences in the quality of reflection achieved under the two conditions. Students receiving supervised dialogue did not attain a higher level of written reflection than those in the self‐analysis condition, suggesting that significant benefits can be achieved through journal writing, without the intensive involvement of a reflective supervisor. The impact of written feedback, however, is significant and its contribution to the encouragement of growth in reflective writing needs to be further explored. Students were generally positive about the value of journalling in learning to teach.

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Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice
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Specialist Studies in Education
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