Dialogue journal writing: a tool for critical reflection in the adult ESL learner
Gifford, Pamela J. Barkwell.
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This study attempted to determine whether or not dialogue journal writing encouraged critical reflection in the adult ESL (English as a Second Language) learner. According to research in adult education and anecdotal evidence, the process ofdialogue journal writing can facilitate critical reflection in the adult learner. However, little research has been conducted to examine whether or not journal writing can facilitate critical reflection in the second language learner. As a result, ten low-intermediate level adult ESL students from Brock University's Intensive English Language Programme participated in a dialogue journal writing programme in their writing class. The participants wrote journal entries over a 10-week period, and were interviewed once throughout the process to determine their perceptions ofthe journal writing experience. They also were observed by the researcher throughout the journal writing sessions to establish whether any behaviours or intrusions might affect the participants' writing processes. After the content ofthe journals and the interviews, and the observations made by the researcher were analysed, it was confirmed that, for these participants, dialogue journal writing did not necessarily encourage critical reflection. Moreover, the participants' perceptions ofjournal writing were that it helped them to practise the syntax, vocabulary, and rhetorical patterns ofEnglish; nevertheless, it did not foster critical reflection or thinking.