March 1: Dissertation Defense – Jay Tanaka


PhD in Second Language Studies Dissertation Defense

Jay Tanaka

Qualitative Content Analysis of Reflection in Language Teacher Practicum Settings

Chair: Elizabeth Gilliland

Friday, March 1, 1:30 p.m.– 3:30 p.m.
Moore Hall, 258



At least one element of second language teacher education (L2TE) permeates contextual differences: reflection. Farrell (2012) suggests that the terms reflection and reflective practice are now mandatory terms used within in L2TE program curricula. Teacher learners (TLs) commonly engage in reflective assignments such as teacher journals and group discussions. However, there has been a lack of sufficiently data-led investigations into the content and nature of TL reflections (Mann & Walsh, 2017), with most taking the form of self-reports or short extracts from teacher reflection journals. While such studies provide important insights from the perspectives of language teacher reflection researchers within unique contexts, more structured, qualitative content analysis (Schreier, 2012) provides the valuable ability to systematically compare reflection across contexts and individual cases. This is crucial for building a richer understanding of language teacher reflection generally.

The current study investigates the reflection of 17 TLs across two distinct practicums. Variation in the amount of reflection in different topics and the amount of reflection that included the act of referencing sources of information was analyzed across individual TLs, and across four different reflection assignments (reflective journals, final papers, group discussions, and observation debriefs). Findings revealed a generally high concentration of reflection on teaching actions related to the content and structure of lesson activities; however, reflection in final papers featured a greater variety of topics than in other reflection assignment data. With respect to referencing, TLs with professional teaching experience had low frequencies of references to their experiences as language learners. In addition, the general amount of referencing sources of information in reflection was found to be different across individual TLs. The overall findings illustrate that referencing is an important aspect of TL reflection, and I argue for an explicit focus on this concept within L2TE, encouraging the diversification of the kinds of sources TLs reference in their reflection. Similarly, I also argue for efforts toward the diversification of TL reflection among various topics related to language teaching.