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Reflective Writing for Language Teachers
Thomas S. C. Farrell
Reflective practice is now seen as a major component of teacher education and professional development programs worldwide. This book is one of the first to show how this technique can be embraced by language teachers. It makes sense that for those whose job it is to teach writing, a good way to be reflective is by writing regularly about their work. Reflective Writing for Language Teachersshows language teachers how they can use writing as a way to subject their beliefs and practices to critical reflection and offers them a means of using this type of reflective practice for professional development purposes.
When language teachers write about various facets of their work over a period of time, and then read over their entries looking for patterns, that is, seeing their own thoughts, they may uncover aspects of their practice that they had not realized before beginning to write reflectively. Reflective writing develops language teachers’ understanding of their practice and also leads to a clarification of the values and assumptions that underlie those practices.
Reflective Writing for Language Teachers explores the impact of regular writing as a reflective tool for teachers of English as a second language, other language teachers, and classroom English or language arts teachers. The book begins with a discussion on professional development and then outlines what reflective practice involves. It also addresses such issues as self-reflection, self-discovery through narrative reflective writing, the reflective journal, reflecting on the first and the later years of teaching, reflecting with the aid of teacher development groups, and reflecting for action.
Chapter 1. Professional Development
Chapter 2. Reflective Practice
Chapter 3. Writing as Reflective Practice
Chapter 4. The Reflective Teaching Journal
Chapter 5. Narrative Reflective Writing
Chapter 6. Reflecting in the First Year(s) and Beyond
Chapter 7. Reflecting For Action
Makes an important contribution to research regarding language teachers' reflective practice, all the while avoiding the typically rigid prose found in many academic books. I would highly recommend Farrell's Reflective Writing for Language Teachers, for it offers a refreshing perspective about how writing can be used for reflective purposes. ..He also infuses his book with interesting and humorous narratives.
The Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2013
'Farrell, a former teacher of English as a second language (ESL), is now a widely read author and a respected teacher educator and professor of applied linguistics. He grounds this study in his experience in the classroom as well as on research in his areas of professional expertise. Because his first career was in ESL, many examples are drawn from that field, but the issues and solutions he presents will resonate with teachers of other languages as well. Novice, mid-career, and longtime language teachers may find in this book ways to make their teaching more rewarding. By helping us to reflect on what we think we do, what we do, and what we think about what we do, this book can inspire and guide us to find within ourselves the tools to improve our teaching.'
The Modern Language Journal, 2014
'The book is well written and proceeds in a step-by-step fashion that is particularly useful for newly graduated school teachers about to step into their own classroom for the first time.'
'I found the book very well organized and really easy to dip into. Not something a teacher needs to read at one go. Each chapter is structured into short parts with writing tasks that a teacher could do in their teaching journal. Reflective writing while learning about reflective writing – a kind of loop feedback and an approach that would make the book suitable for a professional development course. Particularly strong are the “Preamble” sections beginning each chapter. I really enjoyed how the author kept things personal and related his own experiences as they applied to the topic at hand. I gobbled these up and in fact throughout the book, you’ll find a lot of personal backdrop and discussion based on experiences all English language teachers can relate to.'
Teacher Talk blog, March 2013