Journal writing : A tool for reflection-on-action

Year: 1996

Author: Campbell-Evans, Glenda, Maloney, Carmel

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The challenge in teacher education in recent years has been to provide strategies and processes which equip student teachers to examine, critique and evaluate their own understanding and beliefs about teaching. One strategy which has received considerable attention in the literature is journal writing. The art of journal writing has been highly commended as a means of personal professional development. However, despite the increased popularity of journal writing in teacher education programs, little research evidence exists to substantiate the effectiveness of journal writing as a took for inquiry.

This study investigates the process of journal writing as a means for student teachers and university teachers to analyse the complexities of learning to teach. The study explores the links between journal writing and personal professional development and in particular the degree to which journal writing contributes to students' reflection-on-action as proposed by Schon (1987, 1991).

Data are drawn from six interactive journals written by teacher education students and university teachers during a field experience semester. A content analysis which as Burns (1994) suggests can be used to determine themes, concepts and meaning, will be applied to the journals. It is anticipated that analysis of the data will lead us to more critically assess journal writing as a tool for reflection-on-action, and as a process for student teachers' self development.