Mental Processes in Teachers’ Reflection Papers: A Transitivity Analysis in Systemic Functional Linguistics

Leonardo Orevillo Munalim


The tradition of reflective teaching has been around for thirty-four years since Schӧn (1983) first proposed the notion of reflective practice. Many studies heavily rely on written genres in the investigation of teachers’ reflective practices. Thematic categories were threshed out through content and descriptive analyses. However, these themes were not culled from the clauses of mental processes employed by the teachers to express their inner world of experiences. This exploratory study proposed the transitivity model in Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) to generate the mental processes from reflection papers. Initial papers with 17,937 word tokens were produced by 28 teachers of English enrolled in a writing course. All processes were generated by UAM Corpus Tool. The themes generated from the Phenomena felt, thought of, sensed, desired, and perceived by the Senser were culled using content analysis. Results show that teachers are still boxed within the default material and relational processes. Results demonstrate that they employed higher mental types of sensing such as cognitive and desiderative. Based on the Phenomena, the top themes include: (1) commendations for the course professor, (2) writing process, its challenges, nature, and concepts, and (3) actual classroom experiences, learnings, and the subject. Although the results corroborate with the themes identified in previous studies, these present themes may be treated as valid and more realistic views and dimensions of reflective practices. This exploratory study suggests that the Phenomenon in the mental processes may be an ideal situs of looking into teachers’ human internal affairs as reflective practitioners.


Keywords: reflective pedagogy; reflection; transitivity; Systemic Functional Linguistics; teacher education

Full Text:



Astika, G. (2014). Reflective teaching as alternative assessment in teacher education: A case study of pre-service teacher. TEFLIN Journal. Vol. 25(1), 16-32.

Baker, P. (2006). Using Corpora in Discourse Analysis. New York: Continuum.

Cengiz, C. & Karataş, F.Ö. (2015). Examining the effects of reflective journals on pre-service science teachers’ general chemistry laboratory achievement. Australian Journal of Teacher Education. Vol. 40(10), 125-146.

Chan, L.K. & Shum, M.SK. (2011). Analysis of students’ reflective essays on their first human dissection experience. Korean Journal of Medical Education. Vol. 23(3), 209-219.

Costantini, R. (2008). The influence of professional learning communities on teachers' levels of self-reflections. Dissertation from University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Available from ProQuest Education Journals. (230671266).

de O Malatér, L.S. (2004). Looking at the "mental picture of reality" of an EFL teacher: A systemic functional analysis. Ilha Do Desterro: A Journal of English Language, Literature in English and Cultural Studies. Vol. 46, 179-210.

Dewey, J. (1933). How We Think: A Restatement of Reflective Thinking to the Educative Process. Boston: Heath.

Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Eltinge, E. M. & Roberts, C. W. (1993). Linguistic content analysis: A method to measure science as inquiry in textbooks. J. Res. Sci. Teach. Vol. 30, 65-83. doi:10.1002/tea.3660300106

Eggins, S. (2004). An introduction to systemic functional linguistics. New York: Continuum.

Farrell, T.S.C. (2013). Critical incident analysis through narrative reflective practice: A case study. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research. Vol. 1(1), 79-89.

Fatemipour, H. (2009). The effectiveness of reflective teaching tools in English language teaching. The Journal of Modern Thoughts in Education. Vol. 4(4), 73-90.

Fatemipour, H. & HosseingholiKhani, F. (2014). The impact of reflective teaching on the EFL teachers’ performance. Journal of Educational and

Management Studies. Vol. 4(4), 796-799.

Halliday, M.A.K. (2014). In Introduction to Functional Grammar. (3rd ed.). London: Edward Arnold.

Harper, D. (2009). Preface. In Stedmon, J. & R. Dallos (Eds.), Reflective Practice in Psychotherapy and Counselling (pp. 7-13). New York. McGraw Hill, Open University Press.

Hyacinth, T. & Mann, S. (2014). Reflective practice in Nigeria: Teachers' voices and experiences. The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language. Vol. 3(18).

Impedovo, M.A. & Khatoon, M.S. (2016). Becoming a reflective in-service teacher: Role of research attitude. Australian Journal of Teacher Education. Vol. 41(1), 100-112.

Jay, J. K. & Johnson, K. L. (2002). Capturing complexity: A typology of reflective practice for teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education. Vol. 18, 73-85.

Johnson, K.E. (2000). Understanding language teaching: Reasoning in action. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.

Kaur Mehar Singh, M. (2016). An emic perspective on academic writing difficulties among international graduate students in Malaysia. GEMA Online® Journal of Language Studies. Vol. 16(3), 83-97.

Lakshmi, B. S. (2012). Reflective practice through video recording and journal writing-A case study. 3L: The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies. Vol. 18(4), 193-201.

O’Donnell, M. (2015). UAM Corpus Tool (Version 3.2j) [Computer Software]. Available on

Reid, L.L. (2009). Reflection among preservice teacher candidates: Understanding what matter-- A journey of discovery. Published Doctor of Education dissertation, University of Northern Colorado. MI: Proquest.

Roberts, P. (2016). Reflection: A renewed and practical focus for an existing problem in teacher education. Australian Journal of Teacher Education. Vol. 41(7), 19-35.

Roux, R., Mora, A. & Tamez, A. (2012). Reflective writing of Mexican EFL writers: Levels of reflection, difficulties and perceived usefulness. English Language Teaching. Vol. 5(8), 1-13.

Stedmon, J. & Dallos, R. (2009). Biological and development foundations of reflections. In Stedmon, J. & R. Dallos (Eds.), Reflective Practice in Psychotherapy and Counselling (pp. 23-42). New York. McGrawHill, Open University Press.

Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Walsh, S. (2011). Exploring Classroom Discourse: Language in Action. New York: Routledge.

Walsh, S. & Mann, S. (2015). Doing reflective practice: A data-led way forward. ELT Journal. Vol. 69(4), 351-362.

Wright, J. (2009.) Reflective practice through a psychodynamic lens. In Stedmon, J., & R. Dallos. (Eds.), Reflective Practice in Psychotherapy and Counselling (pp. 58-72). New York. McGrawHill, Open University Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.




eISSN : 2550-2247

ISSN : 0128-5157