Can I see a sample reflection journal?

We encourage learners to use the Reflection Journal Rubric  and to check out our 5-minute Reflection Journal Video Guide before they submit their work.

Below you'll also find a few examples of well-written responses to help guide you. 

Remember that because each journal question is different, there is no prescribed word limit.  Try your best to connect your thoughts and answers to the classroom and English language teaching in general.

Courtesy of Alyssa Di Lazarro

2) An instructor can ensure that a learner feels safe by making them comfortable in the classroom, as well as with the instructors themselves. This will increase the likelihood that the learner will seek out the instructor for aid or assistance with the work, or any other possible issues in the class. By beginning with ice breakers the learners have a chance to get to know one another as well as the instructor, leading to friendships and a more relaxed atmosphere. Combining this with humour and addressing the students by name allows the learners to get to know the instructor, and makes them feel more comfortable in the class. Classroom routines and seating arrangements let the learners have stability in the classroom, which gives a more relaxed atmosphere as it diminishes the stresses of the unknown. By incorporating dual language resources the instructor allows the learners to still retain the comfort of being able to use and refer to their L1 language, while also learning English. Finally, by incorporating positive language and words of encouragement the instructor can encourage and prove to the learner that they are making progress, which can aid in their self-esteem as well as motivating the learner to want to carry on and continue expanding their grasp of the English language.

Courtesy of Rochelle Jacob, An Introduction to English Language Teaching

Q: 1) Think about this ‘iceberg’: You have a new student in your class. Student 1 is a ten year old refugee who arrived nine months ago from a war-torn country. Due to political conflict in her country of birth, she received very limited formal education prior to her move. Her teachers feel that she is making very little progress in her academics. How deep under the water does her ‘iceberg’ go? 2) Think about this ‘iceberg’: You have a new student in your class. Student 2 is seven years old and just arrived three months ago from a Western European country where she was enrolled in a highly regarded private school. Her academic skills in her first language are at the appropriate grade level. She has never received any English instruction and is unable to communicate in English whatsoever. What does her ‘iceberg’ look like?

Student 1 possesses more Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) language skills than Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) (Second Language Acquisition- Jim Cummins), her "iceberg" does not go too deep. There is more to her "iceberg" above the waterline. The fact that teachers are seeing that she is making very little progress in her academics is that she is better at social interactions and does not possess the appropriate language skills to participate in an academic setting; a result of her limited formal education. Her CALP skills need to be developed.

Student 2's "iceberg" has an L1 above the waterline (BICS) and an Academic L1 below the waterline (CALP) as she can effectively communicate both socially and academically in her native language. This student will now have to acquire a second language with the knowledge of her first language (languages share similar patterns) where both will interconnect under the waterline; Common Underlying Proficiency (CUP) (Second Language Acquisition- Jim Cummins) in order to have L1, L2 and Academic L1, L2.

Courtesy of Benjamin Murray, Unit 1

1) As displayed in these sentences, there are many difficult areas that can be encountered while learning English. One example of this can be seen with polysemes or words that have at least two different meanings, such as with 'winds' or 'invalid' as mentioned in the sentences in this prompt. It can be confusing to have to remember that a single word can be used to mean more than one completely different idea. This is something that absolutely must be pointed out to an English language learner, so as to avoid some major headaches down the line. Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs are also areas that can be very tricky for someone learning the language, and sometimes even for those of us who speak it natively. Homonyms describe words that have the same pronunciation and spelling, but have different meanings. Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but have different spellings and meanings. Homographs are words that are spelled the same but have different pronunciations and meanings. To make sure nobody has an easy time with the language, these words are not even seldom used, but actually pretty common. As an English language teacher, it is important to try to stress the different ways in which these words can be used so as to not leave students confused and unsure about the meaning, spelling, or pronunciation when they come across a homonym, homophone, or homograph.

 2) When it comes to sentences like this one, where there are more than one possible meaning or interpretation, it is extremely important to stress as an English language instructor that contextualizing the sentence is key to understanding the meaning. The sentences that come before and after would be able to key the students into the exact meaning of the potential problem sentence. Was a man cooking some fish for his lunch? Did the following sentence describe him sitting down to eat? Or was it someone feeding their fish? Or perhaps even a piece of writing about the life of a school of fish. A single sentence with no other contextualization may not be enough information to make the decision on the exact meaning, and students must be made to understand the importance of interpreting meaning based on the surroundings.

Courtesy of Chad Berryman, Adapting Subject Specific Material

Q: It is always difficult to find appropriate reading resources for English language learners when you're teaching a content subject. Create or adapt an existing reading resource from a subject area to make it more comprehensible for students. Incorporate the different strategies you have learned to make the text easier for language learners to comprehend.

Adapted from BBC article “Flooded New Orleans braces for possible hurricane,” BBC, last modified 11 July 2019,

New Orleans prepares for possible hurricane A slow-moving storm could become a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Meteorologists believe the storm will damage the already-flooded U.S. city of New Orleans. The storm is currently a tropical storm, which is not as dangerous as a hurricane, but it has already brought thunderstorms to the city and caused flash floods. A state of emergency is in effect and residents in some low-lying areas have been asked to leave the city before the storm arrives. The storm may cause the river to rise and spill over the levees protecting the city. The Mississippi River may rise as high as 20ft (6m) above sea level, officials warn, potentially exceeding the 20-25ft levees protecting New Orleans. "We're confident the levees themselves are in good shape. The big focus is height," Ricky Boyett, a spokesman for the US Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the fortifications, told the AP. Flash Flooding On Wednesday morning, New Orleans received as much as eight inches of rain over a three-hour period. Swamped streets saw rubbish bins overturned and vehicles flooded. In some parts of the city, streets turned into lakes as deep as four feet. Some people had to use boats to move around the city. The National Hurricane Center said on Thursday morning that the storm, which has been given the name Barry, was 95 miles south-east of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with maximum sustained windspeeds of 40mph (64 km/hr). If the winds reach 74mph, it will be declared a hurricane. Meteorologists think this will probably happen before it reaches land on Friday. The storm is predicted to drop 10-15 inches of rain on Friday and Saturday along the Louisiana coast and parts of Texas. Residents have been warned to stock up on drinking water and non-perishable food, as well as other emergency supplies. Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, has ordered residents to evacuate. Vermilion Parish, to the west of the city, has asked some people living in low-lying areas to consider moving to higher ground.

  • Accompany with map of U.S. Gulf Coast and definitions of new words.
  • New words: Hurricane: Large, powerful storm with lots of rain and wind. Meteorologists: scientists who study and predict the weather. Levees: tall walls that stop water from flooding cities. Fortifications: walls or other structures, often used to describe structures that protect people from war or natural disasters. Swamped: filled with water; flooded. Stock up: to buy a lot of something. Non-perishable: describes food that does not “go bad”, e.g. canned food. Evacuate: leave a place in order to escape a disaster.