Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Journal Writing and Expertise on Teacher's Reflectivity in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Journal Writing and Expertise on Teacher's Reflectivity in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Underestimating the power of mind and not thinking about what has already happened in an educational context is a serious threat to educational systems worldwide, which potentially exists due to teachers' negligence. Taking this power into consideration by EFL/ESL teachers should therefore come first. In order for the EFL teachers to be thoughtful, reflection is of paramount importance. Reflectivity is like a journey during which teachers need to be provided with practical ways to safely get to their destination, which is learners' learning. According to Dewey (1933), reflection is a critical or analytical way of thinking which is thought to be the core of education by a large number of educational experts. The concept of reflective teaching has been referred to by numerous researchers as well as educators, naming just a limited number of whom: (Tarvin, 1991; Richards and Lockart, 1994; Freeman and Richards, 1996; Stanley, 1998; Richards, 1998; Tillman, 2003; Farrell, 2013). One method recommended to facilitate reflection is writing regular journals. Since reflective journals as a tool to trigger and then promote reflection are thought to be a very demanding one in Iran and Iranian contexts (A. Abednia and et. al., 2013), it has not been adequately explored in EFL context. The current study was to prove it false and instead introduce this technical tool as something entirely handy and useful to apply in ELT. The role of expertise was also investigated. This paper outlines a study of how writing journals can contribute to reflectivity and how this practical tool results in a change in teachers' perception of teaching and learning regarding their level of expertise.

2. Review of related literature

2.1. How to think: Power of thinking

Thinking is the central part of every human being and the main difference between the man and the brutes. The best form of thinking is the one involving the basis along with consequences of a belief and it leads to reflective thought and conscious inquiry. There is a central factor in all intellectual thinking that is one thing signifies another. Thinking and thoughts help humans escape from purely routine actions, on the other hand it brings about the possibility of errors and mistakes. A being without capacity for thought is moved only by instincts (Dewey, 1933). A good way of thinking usually leads to an efficient performance and this performance can later on be reflected upon by power of good thinking again. However, there is no unique power of thought but multiple ways in which things observed evoke thoughts, so thinking is a specific power but it does not occur in one specific way which is an important issue in the field of education. The more rational people's social life become and the less blind passion people are involved with, the more positive and constructive the educational organizations may turn into. Following that, the work of teaching will gain more importance since in this case teaching should not only change natural potentials into trained habits of thought but also strengthen the mind against illogical tendencies and replace erroneous thoughts already formed (Dewey, 1933).

2.2. Reflection

Albert Einstein: "I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be." This quotation by Einstein signifies the core of change; reflection.

In order to learn how to think well one definitely needs to be trained to think reflectively. When aware of the power of thinking, one is able to go through the cycle of reflection as follows:

Dewey reminds us that "reflection is a complex, rigorous, intellectual and emotional enterprise that takes time to do well" (Rodgers, 2002, p.3). Accordingly, Fendler (2003) refers to reflection as being based on Cartesian Philosophy, which considers exploring the self as a valid means of knowledge. In Cartesian assumption self-awareness leads to the development of the second self, a kind of intrapersonal knowledge which contributes to the self-actualization of every individual to make their attitudes towards life. …

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