Purpose: Reflective journal writing is considered as a form of reflective practice. The research studies suggested that journal writing allowed the teacher to reflect on their practices, improved their self-awareness and supported their professional development. Even though the research showed that journal writing as an effective tool for reflective practice, the need exists for the studies conducted in the area of early childhood teacher education. Thus, this qualitative study aims to gain a more in-depth understanding of early childhood preservice teachers’ experiences with reflective journal writing.
Research Methods: This study is a qualitative study focusing on the experiences of Turkish preservice teachers. The participants were ten preservice teachers attending an early childhood teacher education program. A demographic information form, semi-structured interviews, and reflective journals were used to collect data.
Findings: The findings of this study were reported on the basis of two focal points: the role of reflective journals and the content of reflective journals. For the role of reflective journals, three themes derived from data were as follows: (i) gaining insight, (ii) detailed evaluation, and (iii) developing strategies for the future. At the analysis of the content of reflection, meeting the real classroom environment and positive experiences gained from the field were the two themes that emerged from the data.
Implications for Research and Practice: This study showed that writing a reflective journal can be considered an important tool for self-evaluation and professional growth. In future studies, the role of reflective writing in teacher’s professional development, especially a variety of differing types of reflective strategies, can be addressed.
Keywords : reflective journals, reflective practice, early childhood, teacher education