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Issues in Educational Research, 2021, Vol 31(1), 130-148.
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Using reflective journals for analysing pre-service, early childhood teachers' perceptions of practicum experiences

Zeina Hojeij, Lawrence Meda and Amir Kaviani
Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

This paper reports on the findings of a qualitative study conducted to explore the effects of reflective journal keeping by 30 female pre-service teachers studying at a university in the United Arab Emirates. At the onset of the study, the participants were trained on the principles of reflective journal writing and were asked to write in their journals during and after the completion of their weekly field experience over a period of ten weeks. Through content analysis, the qualitative data collected were analysed and four salient themes emerged from the data, i.e., "teaching using technology", "constructive learning", "experiential learning and play" and "class management". The data indicate that the teacher-trainees benefited greatly from writing reflectively as an important exercise that can help them develop professionally and ethically in their careers and aid their students to develop a good understanding of the subject(s) taught. The researchers believe reflective journal writing provides both the pre-service and in-service teachers with unique opportunities to examine and improve their teaching and their students' learning experiences. The researchers likewise believe in order to achieve optimal professional and practical results, teachers should be effectively trained by experienced and skilled educators on to how to write in their journals.
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Authors: Dr Zeina Hojeij (corresponding author) is currently the Chair of the Education Studies Department in the College of Education at Zayed University. She holds an EdD in educational leadership and administration from Saint Louis University, MI, USA. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, HEA. Additionally, she is a Certified Online Instructor (COI), CELTA & CELTYL certified. Her research interests include mobile learning technology, educational leadership, applied linguistics and teaching and learning.
Email: Zeina.Hojeij@zu.ac.ae
Website: http://www.zeinahojeij.com

Dr Lawrence Meda holds a PhD in curriculum studies. He has 10 years' experience of working in higher education and his research interests are in curriculum studies, educational technology, inclusive education and teacher education.
Email: Lawrence.Meda@zu.ac.ae

Dr Amir Kaviani has a PhD in language teaching and learning from the University of Auckland, New Zealand and teaches academic writing and applied linguistics courses in the College of Education at Zayed University. Amir serves on the editorial boards of several journals in the areas of linguistics and applied linguistics.
Email: Amir.Kaviani@zu.ac.ae

Please cite as: Hojeij, Z., Meda, L. & Kaviani, A. (2021). Using reflective journals for analysing pre-service, early childhood teachers' perceptions of practicum experiences. Issues in Educational Research, 31(1), 130-148. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/hojeij.pdf

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Created 4 April 2021. Last correction: 4 April 2021.
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