Reflective Practice to Guide Teacher Learning: A Practitioner’s Journey with Beginner Adult English Language Learners

Document Type: Original Article

Author

School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia

Abstract

Reflective practice in TESOL is widely used in pre-service and in-service teacher education contexts and is regarded as beneficial for ongoing professional learning. While models of reflective language teaching vary, they all aim to improve classroom outcomes for teachers and students. A holistic approach to reflective practice includes teachers’ beliefs, philosophies and the interaction of their teaching practices with moral and social issues outside the classroom as part of the self-reflective teaching process (Farrell, 2015; Larrivee, 2000). Reflecting on the teaching journey in this way can help teachers make sense of how individual beliefs about teaching interact with professional experiences, and how these interactions inform decisions in the classroom. The aim of this narrative paper is to describe the developmental process I went through during my first year as a teacher of beginner, refugee-background students in an adult migrant English language teaching program in Australia. Self-reflective data primarily sourced from teaching journals kept during my first year of teaching were analysed using Farrell’s (2015) Framework for Reflecting on Practice. Following a brief introduction of the framework, its application to this current study is discussed. Findings highlight the important roles philosophy, theory, critical reflection and mentors played in my pedagogical decision- making and overall learning processes. The paper concludes with a discussion about implications for ESOL teachers, graduate students and educators in TESOL teacher education programs.

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