The notion of reflection has become an object of attention in education, but the research on this topic is often reduced to mere reflective practice. A relevant part of educational literature portrays reflection as a wholly beneficial practice for practitioners, but also for researchers. In the nursing field, in particular, reflection is largely practised and deeply examined. Reflection is specifically encouraged in teacher education, where ‘how-to’ manuals are widely used to explain strategies for turning teachers into reflective practitioners. In some cases, a specific kind of reflective approach is proposed, such as critical reflection. From the analysis of this technical literature, I observe that a wide range of approaches for fostering reflection have been applied, but little research evidence shows how effective these approaches are. Taking this problem into account, this article presents a research study on reflection. It first introduces a specific and unusual concept of reflection that of phenomenological conception and then goes on to develop an empirical investigation that enacts a phenomenological method of inquiry and is aimed at exploring the potential of the use of journal writing as a tool for enhancing reflection, and documents the data that emerged. The research was developed in a university context where the student teachers were asked to reflect on the life of the mind, in order to learn how to take a reflective stance. The student teachers wrote entries in a reflective journal in which they were requested to describe the lived experiences of the mind as they came to their reflective attention. The data emerging from the experience were made sense of through a qualitative method of analysis. The findings of the research are useful for designing an effective method for enhancing reflective practice.
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