Reflective Journals: Making Constructive Use of the “Apprenticeship of Observation” in Preservice Teacher Education

Jul. 10, 2012

Source: Teaching Education, Volume 23, Issue 3, 2012, pages 323-340

In the author's introductory educational psychology course, students write biweekly journals reflecting on their own lived experiences in light of course concepts and ideas.

These reflections are then shared in a variety of ways, serving as a vital context for further investigation and discussion of how these concepts and ideas translate into the classroom.

In this article, the author shares typical journal questions and excerpts from the responses of two recent classes to show how students can engage journal questions at differing levels; how even the experiences of her mostly privileged and successful students have at some points echoed, and thus can illuminate, the struggles of the less privileged, the rebellious, and the failed students who most need good teaching; and how students’ own shared reflections can be used nonthreateningly to help them confront their unconsidered assumptions about teaching and learning.

Finally, the author discusses choice, respect, and agency as three essential conditions for effective use of student journals in preservice teacher education.

Updated: Nov. 25, 2013