Learning about teaching: the role of reflection in the work of English language teachers


  • Emina Jeleskovic International University of Sarajevo




reflection, teachers, teaching English


Teachers are pillars of education. Their lifelong learning is a prerequisite for improving their teaching practice. An important aspect of teachers’ learning is the reflection on their own experiences in the classroom, whereby they will acquire new knowledge and gain confidence which is especially important for novice teachers. The paper presents an overview of literature on the role of reflection for teachers in general and teachers of English as a foreign language specifically. The paper also includes the analysis of activities conducted by a group of 10 students, future teachers of English as a foreign language, who were taught the importance of reflection. The students were enrolled in English Phonetics course at English Language and Literature program – the teaching track at International University of Sarajevo. The qualitative method was applied, whereby activities conducted to raise students’ awareness of the importance of reflection for teaching were described and analysed. The approach may be described as action research aimed at examining students’ attitudes on reflection, as well as examples of good practice in teacher education. In order to familiarize future teachers of English as a foreign language with the importance of reflection for teaching, the following activities were conducted: microteaching, reflecting on one’s own microclass, peer review, and writing the reflection log. Firstly, students selected topics for 10-minute classes they held, which were related to English Phonetics. Students were free to choose the topic for their class and the age of students and their level of English proficiency, whereupon they tailored their classes to their students’ needs. The students video recorded their micro-classes with their own mobile phone cameras and were told to watch the video recording of their class prior to writing the reflection log. They commented on the classes they held, and other students in class also provided their feedback on each microclass. Finally, students filled-in a short survey in which they commented on the conducted activities and shared their impressions. The conclusion is that students have recognized the role and the importance of reflection for the teaching profession. Majority of them were happy to take on the teacher’s role and they demonstrated their autonomy, creativity and innovativeness.