Reflective Journal Writing on the Way to Becoming Teachers
In this qualitative research study, the purpose was to analyze the reflective journal entries of the 26 pre-service teachers attending the teacher education department of a state university. These teacher candidates were asked to write their reflections on a weekly basis during the “school experience” course in the fall semester. Twelve weekly entries and the end of the year reflection reports of these pre-service teachers (338 documents all together) were analyzed according to the contents; similar issues were coded; common themes were found; in the second phase, the findings were analyzed again in the light of reflective practice research to find out about the learning experiences of the pre-service teachers and to analyze in which stage of reflective practice their entries mostly fell into. The results revealed that pre-service teachers benefitted from keeping reflective journals and their reflections mostly fell under the “interpersonal stage” and did not have many comments reflecting the other stages which were procedural and conceptual. The results show that in order for the pre-service teachers to gain more awareness through reflective writing, they need to be trained on how to write reflections effectively and on the different stages related to the reflective practice.