Exploring the pre-service teacher’s oral presentation anxiety and self-efficacy practice through self-reflection strategies

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Permission to Use

In presenting this thesis in fulfilment of the requirements for a postgraduate degree from Universiti Utara Malaysia, I agree that the Universiti Library may make it freely available for inspection. I further agree that permission for the copying of this thesis in any manner, in whole or in part, for the scholarly purpose may be granted by my supervisor(s) or, in their absence, by the Dean of Awang Had Salleh Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. It is understood that any copying or publication or use of this thesis or parts thereof for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. It is also understood that due recognition shall be given to me and Universiti Utara Malaysia for any scholarly use which may be made of any material from my thesis.

Requests for permission to copy or to make other use of materials in this thesis, in whole or in part, should be addressed to:

Dean of Awang Had Salleh Graduate School of Arts and Sciences UUM College of Arts and Sciences

Universiti Utara Malaysia 06010 UUM Sintok




Guru praperkhidmatan perlu melaksanakan pembentangan lisan bagi memenuhi komponen kelayakan profesional sebagai pendidik pada masa hadapan. Walau bagaimanapun, guru praperkhidmatan ini mempunyai masalah kebimbangan pembentangan lisan (KPL). Oleh itu, kajian ini menyelidik faktor yang menyumbang kepada masalah kebimbangan, mereka dengan melengkapkan Refleksi Kendiri (RK) dan Strategi Refleksi Kendiri (SRK). Objektif kajian adalah: i) meneroka faktor yang menyumbang kepada kebimbangan pembentangan lisan; ii) mengenal pasti amalan efikasi kendiri pembentangan lisan guru praperkhidmatan; dan iii) menjelaskan amalan pembentangan dan efikasi kendiri melalui Strategi Refleksi Kendiri. RK dan SRK akan mengenal pasti faktor yang menyumbang kepada KPL guru praperkhidmatan dan amalan efikasi kendiri dengan menggunakan teori asas, iaitu Teori Konstruktivisme Sosial, Kebimbangan Bahasa Asing dan Efikasi Kendiri. Data diperoleh melalui reka bentuk kajian kes yang diberikan kepada 16 orang guru praperkhidmatan di sebuah Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG) dalam tiga fasa. Dua orang daripada enam belas guru tersebut telah bersetuju melakukan persembahan lisan mengenai Tamadun Islam dan Asia. Dapatan kajian menunjukkan bahawa guru praperkhidmatan mengalami pelbagai faktor kebimbangan pembentangan lisan, iaitu kebimbangan ujian, ketakutan terhadap penilaian negatif, kebimbangan komunikasi serta kebimbangan terhadap topik dan kandungan. Dapatan amalan efikasi kendiri pula mendapati bahawa niat, pandangan masa hadapan, pengatur kendiri, pemeriksa kendiri dan peningkatan kendiri mempengaruhi pembentangan lisan. SRK telah menunjukkan bahawa kebimbangan guru praperkhidmatan dapat diatasi dan amalan efikasi kendiri mereka dipertingkatkan dalam pembentangan lisan menggunakan kitaran reflektif Gibbs (1988) dan adaptasi TRIPLESPEAK daripada Finn et al. (2009). Implikasi kajian menunjukkan RK dan SRK membantu guru praperkhidmatan dalam kemahiran pembentangan lisan. SRK membantu guru praperkhidmatan mengatasi kebimbangan pembentangan lisan dan meningkatkan amalan efikasi kendiri mereka. Ini menyumbang kepada perubahan amalan pelajar sepanjang hayat yang boleh berkomunikasi dan bekerja merentas budaya menggunakan garis panduan. Garis panduan tersebut boleh diamalkan dalam kalangan pelajar bukan sahaja di Malaysia tetapi juga di peringkat global melalui laman web Open Learning.

Kata kunci: Pembentangan lisan, Faktor kebimbangan, Amalan keberkesanan kendiri, Refleksi kendiri, Strategi penyampaian lisan.


iv Abstract

Pre-service teachers' oral presentation is a component of the professional qualifications to meet responsibilities as future educators. However, they encounter oral presentation anxiety (OPA). Therefore, this study investigated the factors contributing to their anxiety and self-efficacy by completing the Self-Reflection (SR) and the Self- Reflection Strategy (SRS). The research objectives were to i) explore the factors that contribute to the pre-service teachers' oral presentation anxiety; ii) to explore self- efficacy practice in oral presentation; and iii) to investigate the pre-service teachers' oral presentation anxiety and self-efficacy practice through the Self-Reflection Strategy. SR and SRS explored the factors that contribute to the pre-service teachers' OPA and self-efficacy practice by using the underpinning theories, namely the Social Constructivism Theory, the Foreign Language Anxiety, and Self-Efficacy. Data was obtained through a qualitative case study research design administered to sixteen pre- service teachers in an Institute of Teacher Education (ITE) in three phases. Two participants from those sixteen volunteered to do an Oral Presentation about Islamic and Asian Civilisations for SRS. The findings show they experienced a variety of oral presentation anxiety factors, namely test anxiety, fear of negative evaluation, communication apprehension as well as topic and content anxiety. Self-efficacy practices findings by the pre-service teachers were intentionality, forethought, self- reactiveness, self-reflectiveness and self-enhancement. SRS revealed that the pre- service teachers' anxiety feelings were overcome, and their self-efficacy practice was enhanced in the oral presentations using Gibbs (1988) reflective cycles and the adaptation of TRIPLESPEAK from Finn et al. (2009). The study's implications show that SR and SRS assisted the pre-service teachers in oral presentation skills. This contributes to turning them into life-long learners who can communicate and work across cultures using the guidelines. The guidelines can be practised among students not only in Malaysia but also globally through the Open Learning web page.

Keywords: Oral presentation, Factor of anxiety, Self-efficacy practice, Self-reflection, Oral presentation strategy




In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. Peace and Blessings of Allah SWT be upon our Prophet Muhammad (SAW). First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Allah SWT for His Blessings and for helping me to complete this thesis. Praises to Allah the Almighty for His shower of blessings to complete the research successfully. Alhamdulillah.

I would like to express my deepest thanks and sincere appreciation to my supervisors, Assoc. Prof. Dr Aizan binti Yaacob, Dr Faizahani binti Ab. Rahman and my belated supervisor, Dr Ahmad Azman bin Mokhtar for giving me the opportunity to do research and providing valuable guidance throughout this research. Their dynamism, vision, sincerity and motivation have deeply inspired me. It was a great privilege and honour to work and study under their guidance. I am extremely grateful for what they have offered me. I would also like to thank them for their friendship, empathy and warm- hearted. I am extending my heartfelt to their families for their acceptance and patience during the discussion I had with them on my research work.

The completion of my PhD journey would not have been possible without the financial support received from the Ministry of Education. I am also grateful for the support received from respective institutions as well as the participants who gave me valuable contributions. Special thanks go to the validators and evaluators of my instruments and the guidelines ‘The Guideline for Oral Presentation in Islamic Contents’ and ‘Oral Presentation through Self-Reflection: A Guide to Teaching and Learning Strategy’ for their keen interest shown in completing this thesis.

I am extremely grateful to my mother and mother-in-law for their love, prayers, caring and sacrifices for educating and preparing me for my future. I am very much thankful to my beloved husband Abd Aziz bin Hassan @ Yahya and my children; ‘Ainurraiefah,

‘Ainurroihanah, ‘Ainulmardhiyyah, Abdusshakur, ‘Ainulmawaddah and Ahmad Shahid for their love, understanding, prayers and continuing support to complete this research dissertation. I also express my thanks to my siblings, sisters-in-law, brothers- in-law and friends for their support and valuable prayers.



Table of Contents

Permission to Use ...ii

Abstrak ...iii

Abstract ...iv

Acknowledgement ...v

Table of Contents ...vi

Background of Study ... 1

Issues in Oral Presentation Anxiety ... 5

Issues in Self-Efficacy ... 6

Issues in Implementing Anxiety Coping Strategies ... 7

Research Context of the Study ... 8

Statement of Problem ... 9

Research Objectives ... 16

Research Questions ... 17

Definitions of Key Terms ... 17

Pre-Service Teachers ... 17

Oral Presentation... 18

Oral Presentation Anxiety ... 18

Self-Efficacy ... 18

Self-Reflection (SR) ... 19

Self-Reflection Strategy (SRS) ... 19

Significance of the Study ... 19

Self-reflection for Professional Development ... 19

Transferability Value ... 20

Structure of this Thesis: Overview of the Chapters ... 21

Introduction ... 23

Theoretical Framework ... 23

The Social Constructivism Theory ... 26

The Foreign Language Anxiety Theory... 30

The Social Cognitive Theory ... 32

Related Studies on Anxiety ... 35



Test Anxiety ... 37

Fear of Negative Evaluation ... 39

Communication Anxiety ... 41

Topic and Content Anxiety ... 43

Self-Efficacy Practice ... 46

Intentionality ... 47

Forethought ... 48

Self-Reactiveness ... 50

Self-Reflectiveness ... 53

Self-Enhancement ... 54

Strategies in Oral Presentation ... 55

Self-Reflection Models ... 61

Mentor and ‘Learner’ Model ... 62

Learning Rounds Model ... 63

Gibb’s reflective cycle Model... 63

Summary of the Chapter ... 65

Introduction ... 66

Epistemological Perspective of Qualitative Research ... 66

Case Study Research Design ... 68

Role of the Researcher ... 70

The Overview of the Methodology: Main Study ... 71

Research Setting: Main Study ... 73

The participants: Main Study ... 76

Data Collection Methods: Main Study ... 78

Instrumentation: Main Study ... 86

Data Collection Procedures: Main Study... 92

Data Analysis: Main Study ... 98

Trustworthiness: Main Study ... 103

Experts Validation ... 103

Triangulation ... 105

Critical friends ... 108

Member Checking... 109

Ethical Consideration: Main Study ... 110



Preliminary Study ... 111

Identifying the Levels of Oral Presentation Anxiety ... 112

Applicability of Gibb’s Reflective Cycle ... 118

Applicability of Cavanagh et al. Observation Checklists ... 121

Summary of the Chapter ... 123

Introduction ... 124

Test Anxiety ... 129

Language Barriers ... 130

Fear of Failure ... 134

Lack of Preparation ... 135

Lack of Confidence ... 136

Fear of Negative Evaluation ... 138

The Belief that Other People are Better ... 139

The Embarrassment of being Laughed At ... 141

The Embarrassment of Volunteering ... 141

Audience Evaluation ... 142

Communication Anxiety ... 148

Stage Fright ... 149

Wrong Information ... 150

Understanding Others and Making Oneself Understood ... 151

Forgetting What to Say ... 154

Communication Avoidance ... 155

Topic and Content Anxiety ... 156

Summary of the Chapter ... 160

Introduction ... 162

Intentionality in Oral Presentation ... 169

Intention to Overcome Anxiety ... 170

Intention to Build Confidence... 173

Intention to Present More Enjoyable Topics ... 174

Forethought in Oral Presentation ... 177



Stay Positive ... 178

Make a Joke ... 181

Self-Reactiveness in Oral Presentation ... 181

Practice... 182

Prepare ... 186

Self-Reflectiveness in Oral Presentation ... 188

Avoid Mistakes ... 189

Moral Support ... 190

Confidence ... 195

Self-Enhancement in Oral Presentation ... 199

Self-Control ... 200

Improvement ... 201

Summary of the Chapter ... 205

Introduction ... 207

Analysis of Oral Presentation Anxiety through Self-Reflection Strategy ... 208

Test Anxiety ... 212

Fear of Negative Evaluation ... 213

Communication Anxiety ... 215

Topic and Content Anxiety ... 215

Analysis of Self-Efficacy Practice through Self-Reflection Strategy ... 219

Intentionality ... 221

Forethought ... 222

Self-Reactiveness ... 225

Self-Reflectiveness ... 229

Self-Enhancement ... 234

Observation Analysis ... 238

Summary of the Chapter ... 245

Introduction ... 246

Revisiting the Research Questions ... 246

The Factors of the Oral Presentation Anxiety ... 246



The Pre-Service Teachers’ Self-Efficacy Practice in the Oral Presentation.

... 247

Exploring the Self-Reflection Strategy to the pre-service teachers’ oral presentation anxiety and self-efficacy ... 248

Discussions of the Main Findings ... 248

The Discussion on Factors of Oral Presentation Anxiety ... 248

The Discussion on Self-Efficacy in Oral Presentation ... 254

The Discussion on Self-Reflection Strategy ... 258

Practical Implications of the Study Conducted ... 262

Implications to the Pre-Service Teachers ... 262

Implications to English Language Teaching Strategy ... 265

Implications to the Institutes of Teacher Education and Other Organisations ... 267

Limitations of the study ... 272

Recommendation for Further Research ... 273

Conclusion ... 274



List of Tables

Table 1.1 An Overview of the Problem Statement ... 15

Table 3.1 The Oral Presentation Topics in Phase 1 ... 95

Table 3.2 The Oral Presentation Topics in Phase 2 ... 96

Table 3.3 The Oral Presentations Topics in Phase 3 ... 98

Table 3.4 The Preliminary Study Conducted ... 112

Table 3.5 Test Anxiety Result ... 115

Table 3.6 Fear of Negative Evaluation Result ... 116

Table 3.7 Communication Anxiety Result... 117

Table 4.1 Overview of the Pre-Service Teachers’ Factors that Contribute to Oral Presentation Anxiety Findings ... 128

Table 5.1 Overview of the Pre-Service Teachers’ Self-Efficacy Practice Findings .. 167

Table 6.1 The Summary of Participants Findings from the Self-reflection Strategy 209 Table 6.2 The Summary of Observation Analysis. ... 240



List of Figures

Figure 2.1 Theoretical Framework ... 25

Figure 3.1 The Data Collection Procedures: Main Study... 93

Figure 3.2 Self-Reflection (SR) Data Triangulation ... 106

Figure 3.3 Self-Reflection Strategy (SRS) Data Triangulation ... 107

Figure 4.1 Themes of the Factors that Cause Oral Presentation Anxiety by Horwitz et al. (1986) and study on TESL pre-service teachers ... 125

Figure 4.2 ATLAS.ti Tree Map Themes and Sub-themes for Factor of Oral Presentation Anxiety. ... 126

Figure 4.3 ATLAS.ti Tree Map of Test Anxiety Theme and Sub-Themes ... 129

Figure 4.4 ATLAS.ti Tree Map of Fear of Negative Evaluation Theme and Sub-Themes ... 138

Figure 4.5 ATLAS.ti. Tree Map of Communication Anxiety Theme and Sub-Themes ... 149

Figure 4.6 ATLAS.ti Tree Map of Topic and Content Anxiety Theme and Sub-Themes ... 156

Figure 5.1 Themes of the Self-Efficacy by Bandura (2006) and the study on TESL pre- service teachers ... 164

Figure 5.2 ATLAS.ti Tree Map Theme and Sub-themes for Self-Efficacy Practice 165 Figure 5.3 ATLAS.ti Theme and Sub-themes of Pre-service Teachers’ Intentionality ... 169

Figure 5.4 ATLAS.ti Theme and Sub-themes of Pre-service Teacher’s Forethought ... 177

Figure 5.5 Flow Chart of the Pre-service Teachers’ Self-Reactiveness ... 182

Figure 5.6 ATLAS.Ti Theme and Sub-Themes of Pre-service Teacher’s Self- Reflectiveness ... 188

Figure 5.7 ATLAS.ti Theme and Sub-Themes of Self-Enhancement... 200

Figure 6.1 Natrah's Oral Presentation Anxiety Findings from the Self-reflection Strategy ... 210

Figure 6.2 Batrishia’s Oral Presentation Anxiety Findings from the Self-reflection Strategy ... 211

Figure 6.3 Natrah’s Self-Efficacy Practice from the Self-reflection Strategy ... 219

Figure 6.4 Batrishia’s Self-Efficacy Practice from the Self-reflection Strategy ... 220



List of Appendices

Consent to Participate Form ... 287

Oral Performance Anxiety Scale (OPAS) ... 288

Self-Reflection Cycle adapted from Gibbs (1988) ... 290

Checklists adapted from Cavanagh et al. (2014)... 294

Validation Form 1 for OPAS from Dr. Noraini ... 296

Validation Form 1 for OPAS from Dr Julinamary ... 297

Validation Form 2 for Open-Ended Questions from Dr. Noraini ... 298

Validation Form 2 for Open-Ended Questions from Dr. Julinamary ... 299

Validation Form 3 for Interview Questions from Dr. Noraini ... 300

Validation Form 3 for Interview Questions from Dr. Julinamary ... 301

Validation Form for OPIC from Dr. Ahmad Sukari bin Mohamad ... 302

Validation Form for OPIC from Dr Mohd Nazri bin Hashim ... 303

Validation Form for OPIAC from Mr. Radzi bin Lebai Mat ... 304

Validation Form for OPIAC from Mr. Mohd Zakir bin Majid ... 305

Usability and Practicality of the Guideline from Dr Hj Asri bin Md Saman @ Osman... 306

Usability and Practicality of the Guideline from Dr. Wan Nornajmiwati binti Wan Ab. Rahman ... 307

Usability and Practicality of the Guideline from Dr. Norhayu binti Norany ... 308

Usability and Practicality of the Guideline from Dr. Noor Fadzleen binti Saadon ... 309

Excerpt of the Member Checking WhatsApp Chat for Self-Reflection (SR) ... 310

Excerpt of the Member Checking WhatsApp Chat for Self-Reflection Strategy (SRS) ... 313

Approval to conduct Research ... 315

Nomination Letter for Master Trainer IMPROVE WITH IPGM Workshop ... 316

IMPROVE WITH IPGM Second Workshop Letter... 317

IMPROVE WITH IPGM Third Workshop Letter ... 318



The Cover Pages for ‘The Guideline for Oral Presentation in Islamic Contents’ and ‘Oral Presentation through Self-Reflection: A Guide to Teaching and Learning Strategy’ ... 319

Open Learning Blog Post for the ‘The Guideline for Oral Presentation in Islamic Contents’ and ‘Oral Presentation through Self-Reflection: A Guide to Teaching and Learning Strategy’ ... 320



List of Abbreviations

ELSQC – English Language Standards and Quality Council ELT – English Language Teaching

ELTC – English Language Teaching Centre HIEPs – High Impact Educational Practices HLIs – Higher Learning Institutions

ITE – Institute of Teacher Education IPG – Institut Pendidikan Guru

IPGM – Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia L2 – Second learner

LMS – Learning Management System

MEB (HE) – Malaysia Education Blueprint (Higher Education) OPIC – Oral Presentation in Islamic Contents

OPIAC – Oral Presentation in Islamic and Asian Civilisations SR – Self-Reflections

SRS – Self-Reflections Strategy

TESL – Teaching English as a Second Language




Background of Study


O, my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness); Ease my task for me; And remove the impediment from my speech, so they may understand what I say. (Quran: Ta-Ha 20: 25-28)

In one verse of the Quran, Moses requested that the Lord ease his mission to the arrogant king on earth and his people. The Lord sent Moses to him as a warning, calling them to worship Allah alone. However, he did not ask Allah to remove his affliction, instead for Allah to remove his stammering such that people would be able to understand what he said for all he did was only delivering Allah’s message. Moses needed to be able to speak eloquently and confidently if the message was to be delivered in a way that people understood, Similar to the predicament that was faced by Moses, in the context of this study, the researcher chooses this verse to portray the importance of self-confidence and self-efficacy among the pre-service teachers who have the mission to effectively, confidently and most importantly, eloquently, deliver their teachings to the students.

Globally, the equally important challenges and benefits associated with oral presentation and self-efficacy have been a topic of controversy and debate among scholars. One issue that is very much a concern is oral presentations are often associated with anxiety and lack of confidence (Gürbüz & Cabaroğlu, 2021; Tailab & Marsh, 2019; Horwitz, 2010; Brown & Morrissey, 2004). Oral presentation anxiety has long attracted the interest of academics, language teachers and language learners alike. A




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Consent to Participate Form


Your signature below indicates that you have decided to volunteer as a research participant for this study and that you have read and understood the information provided above.

You have the right to ask questions about this research study and to have those questions answered by me before, during or after the research. If you have any further questions about the study, at any time feel free to contact me:

[MIMI RITA @ AISHAH BINTI TAJUDDIN] at [email 1. mimirita@ipgkda.edu.my 2. aishah.tajuddin@gmail.com] or by telephone at [0195577167].

No. Participants Signature



Oral Performance Anxiety Scale (OPAS)


Name: ____________________________________ Class: _______________

Gender: Male/Female

Please circle the number in the box to indicate your oral performance anxiety if you were to deliver in English language.

1= Strongly disagree 2= Disagree

3= Neither agree nor disagree 4= Agree

5= Strongly agree


1 2 3 4 5


disagree Disagree

Neither agree disagree nor

Agree Strongly agree

1. I never feel quite sure of myself when I am giving an oral performance in the English

language. 1 2 3 4 5

2. I don't worry about making mistakes in

oral performance. 1 2 3 4 5

3. I tremble when I know that I'm going to be

called on in the oral performance. 1 2 3 4 5

4. It wouldn't bother me at all to do more oral

performance. 1 2 3 4 5

5. I keep thinking that the other pre-service teachers are better at oral performance than I

am. 1 2 3 4 5

6. I am usually at ease during tests in my oral

performance. 1 2 3 4 5

7. I start to panic when I must speak without

preparation in oral performance. 1 2 3 4 5

8. I am worried about the consequences of

failing my oral performance. 1 2 3 4 5

9. I don't understand why some people get so

upset over oral performances. 1 2 3 4 5




1 2 3 4 5


disagree Disagree

Neither agree disagree nor

Agree Strongly agree

10. In oral performance, I can get so nervous

I forget things I know. 1 2 3 4 5

11. It embarrasses me to volunteer to do oral

performance. 1 2 3 4 5

12. I would not be nervous to do an oral

performance. 1 2 3 4 5

13. I get upset when I don’t do my oral

performance well. 1 2 3 4 5

14. Even if I am well-prepared for oral

performance, I feel anxious about it. 1 2 3 4 5

15. I often feel like not going to do my oral

performance. 1 2 3 4 5

16. I feel confident when I speak in my oral

performance. 1 2 3 4 5

17. I am afraid that my lecturer is ready to

correct every mistake I make. 1 2 3 4 5

18. I can feel my heart pounding when I'm

going to be called on in the oral performance. 1 2 3 4 5

19. I don't feel pressure to prepare very well

for oral performance. 1 2 3 4 5

20. I always feel that the other pre-service teachers do the oral performance better than

I do. 1 2 3 4 5

21. I feel very self-conscious about doing the oral performance in front of other pre-service

teachers. 1 2 3 4 5

22. I feel more tense and nervous in my oral performance session than in my other

sessions. 1 2 3 4 5

23. I get nervous and confused when I am

speaking in my oral performance. 1 2 3 4 5

24. When I'm on my way to oral performance

class, I feel very sure and relaxed. 1 2 3 4 5

25. I am afraid that the other pre-service teachers will laugh at me when I speak the

oral performance session. 1 2 3 4 5

26. I get nervous when I do an oral performance which I haven't prepared in

advance. 1 2 3 4 5



Self-Reflection Cycle adapted from Gibbs (1988)

Gibb’s (1988) reflective cycle is a popular model for reflection. The model presented below includes six stages of reflection.


In this section, you need to explain what you are reflecting on to your reader. Perhaps include background information, such as what it is you are reflecting on and tell the reader who is involved. It is important to remember to keep the information provided relevant and to-the-point. Do not waffle on about details that are not required – if you do this, you’re just using up valuable words.


Discuss your anxiety and thoughts about the experience. Consider questions such as How did you feel at the time? What did you think at the time? What did you think about the incident afterward? You can discuss your emotions honestly, but make sure to remember always that this is an academic piece of writing, so avoid ‘chatty’ text.


For your evaluation, discuss how well you think things went. Perhaps think about: How did you react to the situation, and how did other people react? What is good and what is bad about the experience? If you are writing about a difficult incident, did you feel that the situation is resolved afterward? Why/why not? This section is a good place to include the theory and the work of other authors – remember it is important to include references in reflective writing.


291 Analysis

In your analysis, consider what might have helped or hindered the event. You also have the opportunity here to compare your experience with the literature you have read. This section is very important, particularly for higher level writing.


In your conclusion, it is important to acknowledge: whether you could have done anything else; what you have learned from the experience; consider whether you could have responded in a different way. If you are talking about a positive experience…discuss whether you would do the same again to ensure a positive outcome. Also, consider if there is anything you could change to improve things even further. If the incident is negative…tell your reader how you could have avoided it happening and how you could make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Action plan

Action plans to sum up anything you need to know and do to improve for next time.

Perhaps you feel that you need to learn about something or attend some training. Could you ask your tutor or placement supervisor for some advice? What can you do which means you will be better equipped to cope with a similar event?

Adapted from: Gibbs, G. (1988) Learning by doing: a guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford: Further Education Unit.

Using Gibb’s (1988) reflective model in reflective writing

The following text is an example of a piece of reflective writing, following Gibb’s (1988) model. The task is to write a reflection about an incident which occurred during the first few weeks of a teaching placement (1000 words). Please note that the references used are fictional.


I am currently on a teaching practice placement in an adult education college in the southwest of England, learning how to teach GCSE maths to various groups of adults.

As my placement is in the early stages, I am mainly assisting the class tutors and have just started planning and delivering a small part of each lesson. The incident occurred in an evening class during which I am due to deliver my very first session. The class tutor had been teaching the learners about fractions, and my task is to continue with this instruction, looking specifically at how to multiply two fractions. However, when I am due to teach the session, I got to the whiteboard and became so nervous that I struggled to speak to the group. I felt myself visibly shaking and is unable to articulate my first sentence coherently. The students were quite understanding, as they are all mature students who are aware that I am new to teaching and am nervous, but the class teacher is unsympathetic and responded by taking over the lesson whilst I sat at the back of the room trying not to cry. I left the session as soon as the class is over and did not speak to anyone.


I felt extremely miserable at the time and even considered leaving my teacher training course. I am also embarrassed and upset by my own inability to speak in front of the group, but I am also extremely angry with the class teacher for her response in the presence of the learners. I felt afterward that she had not given me sufficient time to compose myself, and that she should have allowed me to address my nerves. The



situation left me very distressed and I rang in sick the following week; it is only when I reflected on the experience that I decided I needed to speak to the placement supervisor. I also realised later that feeling nervous is a natural reaction to speaking in public (Jones, 2000) which made me feel less embarrassed.


At the time, I did not feel that the situation had been resolved at all. I very deliberately left at the end of the class without speaking to the class teacher or the learners. However, after speaking to a fellow trainee about his own experience, I felt much more positive.

I realised that everyone feels nervous before their first few classes. This is clear in the relevant literature, as Greene (2006, p. 43) points out, saying that nine out of ten new trainee teachers found their first session “incredibly daunting”. It appears that most trainee teachers have moments of being “tongue-tied” and “losing their way with the lesson” (Parbold, 1998, p. 223).


The situation is made worse by both my own actions and those of the class teacher. I feel that I should have stood up to her, rather than letting her take control of the lesson and that I should have spoken to her immediately after the lesson about how I am feeling. Dealing with situations like this immediately is preferable, as Cooper (2001) points out.

Instead, I spoke to my placement supervisor several days later and did not see the class teacher again until a formal meeting consisting of myself, the teacher and the supervisor. Daynes and Farris (2003) say that, by not dealing with situations immediately and personally, and instead of taking it to an authority figure, the situation can be made worse. The class teacher could have felt that she is being “ganged up on”

(Thomas, 2003, p. 22), which could lead to future problems. The teacher’s actions also made the situation worse, because she did not give me time to overcome my fears and she deliberately embarrassed me in front of the class. She claimed that she had thought she is helping me to overcome my anxieties, but I do not believe that to be the case.

However, as we only spoke about the incident over a week later in the meeting with the supervisor, she rightly argued that I should have said something to her at the time.


In retrospect, I would do several things differently. I should have spoken to the class teacher immediately after the session and voiced my opinions. I should also have been more assertive by advising the tutor that I could continue with the lesson. However, the incident made me realise the importance of building up a relationship with the teacher, a skill that Jackson (1999) stresses as fundamental to a successful placement. I feel that, had I developed a professional relationship with the teacher in the preceding weeks, I would have been able to explain how nervous I am beforehand. This would have provided the opportunity to discuss strategies for dealing with nerves and perhaps the incident could have been avoided entirely.

Action Plan

In the future, I will ensure that I build up a relationship with colleagues. I am working alongside several different teachers during my placement, and I intend to speak to each of them about my nerves. I have already had a beneficial conversation with one teacher



and together we have developed a program of team-teaching for the next few weeks so that I do not feel so pressurised. I plan to do this with the other class teachers, as it will help them to understand how I feel. I also need to speak to my fellow trainees more often about how they feel, as I think I will be able to learn from them. In terms of training, I have booked onto a presentation skills workshop at University, and intend to follow it up by attending the practice sessions afterward. This experience has made me realise that I need to gain more confidence with presenting and I feel addressing my presentation skills will help me to do this.

Extract adapted from: www.salford.ac.uk




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