Components of Reflection: A Longitudinal Analysis of Study Abroad Student Blog Posts
Reflection supports actively transforming perspectives regarding study abroad experiences. The current study examines the "how" of reflection. Content of reflections is dictated by questions posed. The process of reflection is less prescribed yet revealing of paths to student understanding. Students posted to a web log (blog) over six time periods during their study abroad sojourn. Five reflection components were identified and tracked via cognitively complex processes and emotional aspects of their writings as analyzed by linguistic inquiry computer software. Changes in language usage revealed patterns of how students reflected. A precipitous drop in identifying distinctions between self and the host culture during immersion seemed to indicate an intense struggle attempting to make meaning of their experience. Also, findings highlighted markedly conflicted feelings both at pre-departure and upon reentry. Linguistic analysis proved promising for both assessment and design of reflective prompts.
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