Lessons from experience: ESL student teachers' reflection during practicum through reflective journals

Intan Safinas Mohd Ariff Albakri, Mohd Hassan Abdullah, Ahmad Jazimin Jusoh


Reflection is a prospective alternative in exploring student teachers’ thinking during practicum. The data gained from student teachers’ reflection are significant in informing teacher education programs on how to equip pre-service teachers to become quality teachers. It is also crucial in addressing issues and conflicts highlighted by student teachers when they interact with the real context. This study is conducted with six semester seven student teachers undergoing their Bachelor in Education with honors Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program. The student teachers were asked to write reflective journal entries throughout the 14 weeks of their teaching practicum experience. The aim of the study is to identify the focus of the student teachers’ reflection and the challenges faced by them during practicum. Data were gathered using the reflective journal entries and semi-structured interviews with all the participants. The data were analyzed according to emerging themes. The findings indicated that the student teachers focus on three main themes in their reflections, which are managing learning, pedagogy and teacher attributes. While the challenges highlighted were difficulty in socializing with members of the institution, lack of professional support and lack of ability to manage a classroom.


reflective journal;reflective thinking, student teacher;practicum

Full Text:



Albakri, I. S. M. A., Ismail, N., Omar, A., Harun, R. N. S. R., & Janan, D. (2012). Malay pre-service teachers’ conceptions of ELT materials for language classrooms. Journal of Malay Civilisation, 7(1), 51-68.

Barry, K., & King, L. (1998). Beginning teaching and beyond (3rd ed.). Tuggerah, N.S.W: Social Science Press.

Bean, T. W., & Stevens, L. P. (2002). Scaffolding reflection for pre-service and in-service teachers. Reflective Practice, 3(2), 205-218.

Borg, S. (2008). Teacher cognition and language education: Research and practice. London: Continuuum.

Borko, H., & Putnam, R. T. (1996). Learning to teach. In D. C. Berliner & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 673-708). New York: Macmillan.

Cameron, R., & Wilson, S. (1993). The practicum: Student teacher perception of teacher supervision styles. South Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 21(2), 155-167.

Collier, S. T. (1999). Characteristics of reflective thought during the student teaching experience. Journal of Teacher Education, 50(3), 173-181.

Crookes, G. (2003). A practicum in TESOL: Professional development through teaching practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Constructing 21st century teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 57(x), 1-15.

Dewey, J. (1933). How we think: A restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to the educative process. Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath and Company.

Goh, P. S. C., & Matthews, B. (2011). Listening to the concern of student teachers in Malaysia during teaching practice. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(3), 92-103.

Hatton, N., & Smith, D. (1995). Reflection in teacher education: Towards definition and implementation. Teaching & Teacher Education, 11, 33-49.

Hussin, H. (2003). Professional development through reflective practice among matriculation university lecturer. Paper presented at the The Conference of The Professional Malaysian Matriculation Lecturer, Terengganu, Malaysia.

Ibrahim, N. H., Arshad, M. Y., & Surif, J. (2008, 25-27 November). Persepsi bakal guru terhadap model RIKaS. Paper presented at the The Seminar Penyelidikan Pendidikan Pasca Ijazah 2008, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor.

Isikoglu, N. (2007). The role of reflective journals in early childhood pre-service teachers’ professional development. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 7(2), 819-825.

Ismail, N., Albakri, I. S. M. A., Ismail, N., & Hussin, S. (2014). Pre-service teachers’ reflection on the use of self-developed English language teaching materials for English as a second language students. The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, 20(4), 35-51.

Kabilan, M. K. (2007). English language teachers reflecting on reflections: A Malaysian experience. TESOL Quarterly, 41(4), 681-705.

Kyriacou, C., & Stephens, P. (1999). Student teachers’ concerns during teaching practice. Evaluation and Research in Education, 13(1), 18-31.

Manen, M. V. (1977). Linking ways of knowing with ways of being practical. Curriculum Inquiry, 6(3), 205-228.

Rieger, A., Radcliffe, B. J., & Doepker, G. M. (2013). Practices for developing reflective thinking skills among teachers. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 49(4), 184-189.

Starkey, L., & Rawlins, P. (2012). Student teacher learning during practicum experience. Tean Journal, 4(1), 1-19.

Subramaniam, M. (2012). Journal writing as a tool for teacher trainees: Reflection on teaching. from http://www.ipbl.edu.my

Wong, Y. M., Mansor, R., & Samsudin, S. (2015). The challenge of producing progressive teachers in Malaysia: A case study of reflective writings among UPSI student teachers. Geografia Online Malaysian Journal of Society and Space, 11(7), 21-32.

Woods, D. (1996). Teacher cognition in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Yaacob, A., Walters, L. M., Md-Ali, R., & Walters, T. N. (2014). Reflecting on Malaysian teacher trainees’ journals. Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction, 11, 1-21.

Yinger, R. J., & Clark, C. M. (1981). Reflective journal writing: Theory and practice. East Lansing, Mich: Institute for Research on Teaching, Michigan State University.

York-Barr, J., Sommers, W. A., Ghere, G. S., & Montie, J. (2006). Reflective practice to improve schools: An action guide for educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Zhu, H. M., & Zhang, X. L. (2014). Understanding the process of pre-service EFL teachers’ reflective thinking on classroom interaction. Sino-US English Teaching, 11(3), 171-182.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.24815/siele.v4i2.8039


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Print ISSN: 2355-2794, Online ISSN: 2461-0275

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.