University of Limerick
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Students engagement in reflective tasks: an investigation of interactive and non-interactive discourse corpora

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-08-07, 09:00 authored by Fion FarrFion Farr, Elaine RiordanElaine Riordan
Reflective learning, a practice carrying relatively high educational value, has been with us for some time. Its popularity has grown to the extent that it is often adopted unquestioningly by educational practitioners. However, there are some important questions to be asked in relation to reflective practice. In reality, its impact on improved and enhanced learning and practice, and ultimately its educational value, cannot be known without further examination, research and consideration. This paper uses evidence from a range of spoken and written corpora to gain some insights into the discourse of reflectivity as it is used by students and educators. The data, collected in a third-level educational context, involve students performing tasks widely believed to promote reflection. The spoken data come from student teachers discussing practice language lessons and their general studies, and the written data come in the form of student essays, online blogs and online discussions from student teachers, language students, and computer science multi-media gaming students. The corpora are firstly examined for engagement in reflection using levels of contribution and interactivity (quantitatively measured through word counts and utterance length). Secondly, comparative frequency lists are used to generate key lexical items (verbs, adverbs, adjectives, nouns) suggestive of reflective discourse. The analyses suggest that the amount and type of reflection is influenced by the discourse mode, the task, the participants and power dynamics. Ultimately, the objective of this paper is to take a first step towards suggesting a more tangible framework for examining the relatively elusive practice of reflection for educational purposes. In an attempt to do this, it raises some questions and generates further hypotheses for follow-up research investigation.



Classroom Discourse;3 (2), pp. 129-146


Taylor and Francis




This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Classroom Discourse 2012 © copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:



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