A constructivist approach to the integration of systematic reflection in eap courses: An action research study


Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Education, Department of Foreign Language Education, Turkey

Approval Date: 2012

Student: HALE EREN KIZILCIK

Consultant: AYŞEGÜL DALOĞLU

Abstract:

The aim of the study was to investigate to what extent integrating systematic reflection into the academic English courses at the tertiary level fosters learning. To this end, the teacher-researcher designed an action research study and carried it out with seventy-one students in the three sections of ENG 101 she taught at the Middle East Technical University. In the course of the action research, the teacher-researcher developed an interactive reflection model in which the teacher and students engage in a collaborative process of reflection to improve their performance. For each writing and speaking task in the syllabus, a related reflective task was developed, and the reflective writing assessment rubric was created. Students wrote reflective paragraphs through which they explored their strengths and weaknesses in their performance. Moreover, the teacher-researcher and students engaged in reflective dialogue. In their reflections, students were expected to develop an action plan for further improvement. The teacher-researcher kept a reflective journal in which she reflected on the research and her teaching skills. At the end of the semester, the students evaluated the effectiveness of the reflective activities. The data collection tools were student questionnaire, student work, transcripts of the reflective dialogues, students’ evaluation of reflective activities and teacher’s reflective journal. The quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data revealed that the integration of reflection in the course increased students’ awareness of their strengths and weaknesses in relation to the tasks they performed, improved their self-assessment skills and increased their self-confidence. Reflecting with students and on students’ reflections became a journey of discovery for the teacher-researcher. She developed an action plan and put it into implementation.