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Contrary to Watson , Andrew analyzes how learners embody learning, and literacy practices in their out-of-school settings, by presenting cultural observations as heterogeneous in nature. In other words, their observations were tied with their unique meaning making practices. Johansen and Spinthourakis enact the same research idea by contrasting students' experiences with one another, taken into account the extent of their self-exploration.

In other words, the researchers internalize the process of self-inquiry on the basis of contrastive analysis. Indeed, Johansen empirically constructs a collaborative deep-learning environment in the Web CT program to inspect how students reflected on personal frames of reference by comparing them with alternative perspectives.

Accordingly, Spinthourakis discovers that dialogical reflective journals enhanced the extent of self-engagement in order to recapture personal cultural peculiarities to construct a shared cross-cultural meaning. Based on the literature examined, I believe that the conceptual focus of encountering reflective journals in academic settings may be shifted from conquering the level of assessment Issa et al to the level of individualized self-exploration in particular cultural situations in line with personal linguocultural meaning making Andrew , but still keeping them in the dialogical format Johansen ; Spinthourakis ; Watson As previously stated, there are five levels of sophistication to analyze the depth of reflexivity in writing Bain at al by means of discourse and logical analyses.

However, the other researchers established the reverse empirical results of using reflective journals. Consequently, the purpose of implementing this tool into teaching extensively depends on teachers' agenda. However, if the purpose is to provide in my case, EFL learners with opportunities to inquiry personal ethnocentric stances in light of international educational experiences, then scholars should not feel obligated to increase the level of sophistication, rather than create a fruitful trustful atmosphere for students' self-inquiry Andrew ; Genc , as well as to discover new perspectives on the same phenomena see Byram Andrew in reflecting journaling.

For instance, Issa et al demonstrates how postgraduate students managed to synthesize multipurpose research activities through reflective writing p. Moreover, based on the empirical evidence, the participants emphasized that reflective journals facilitate applying new knowledge, and improving academic writing skills. From a cross-cultural perspective, reflective writing fosters students to apply relating, contrasting, and revising skills of cross-cultural aspects Andrew ; Spinthourakis in relation to the academic, and personal experiences.

To accomplish this goal, students should be considered not as deficient, but as sensible and multicultural in new compelling cross-cultural circumstances. Hopefully, reflective journaling penetrated with intercultural skills of interpreting and relating Byram might become the case. Pedagogically wise, a structured way of incorporating reflective journals facilitates the students' deepest self-perceptions in analyzed academic studies. However, insufficient instructional composition makes Spinthourakis' and Zahra's research not fully reliable, even though they attempt to present cultural and identity dynamics within participants' behavior.

Thus, such limited scope of implementing reflective journals within international educational settings is addressed in the next section. Gleaned from the current literature review, the following feature matrix helps organize and systematize the conceived data pool extracted from abovementioned academic studies based on the corresponding criteria Figure 2.

Figure 2 The matrix of structuralizing and systematizing academic articles according to specific criteria. As calculated in the matrix, even by working with instructed reflective activities in most studies, the participants in Johansen's , Baker's , Spinthourakis' studies obtain descriptive reflection. Specifically, Johansen and Spinthourakis achieve the scientific goals of engaging students into deep self-examination by means of contrasting their experiences with others. As for the study conducted by Baker, the participants shift in learning perspectives by using reflective narrative journaling as a supplement tool for rigorous phenomenological exploration.

However, as indicated in the matrix, features like Addressing the sophistication level in writing reflective journals 5 out of 11 studies and Utilizing specific skills to write RJ 4 out of 11 have not been extensively implemented through reflective journaling to trigger students' critical and reflective self-inspection in the learning process. Those empirical results generate some suggestions on how to implement guided reflective journaling activities to improve intercultural skills of interpreting and relating learning events or documents in learning settings.

As follows, the section to follow suggests some implications from other academic disciplines in order to establish a comfortable and trust-based atmosphere in learning settings filled with EFL students. With that, students may become appropriately instructed and equipped to internalize their ethnocentric perspectives. This conceptual analysis suggests that reflective critical journals may facilitate students' rigorous self-investigation while studying abroad. Hence, there are four critical findings to consider in the context of international programs for examining ethnocentric standpoints of EFL students when dealing with learning events or documents.

However, these findings could be also applicable in a broader educational spectrum with other groups of students. First, EFL students may trigger their self-assessment by writing reflective journals to prevent themselves from being subjective about learning events or documents of another culture.

Generally, students interpret learning assignments or practices with their subjective ethnocentric account. It is worth mentioning that EFL students face enormous amount of problems because of insufficient cross-cultural experience in their home countries. For example, the academic article assigned to an international class, may activate divergent interpretations for EFL students comparing with L1 counterparts.

Therefore, EFL students may feel neglected perceiving and discussing the problem from another academic angle, and having no common cultural references to rely on. At some point, students, being unaware of ethnocentric effects this situation might provoke, start building prejudices and stereotypes during the interaction revolved around this academic paper.

Presumably, EFL students may devalue their sociocultural background as not reliable and valid for the class majority L1 or ESL classmates. Second, activating metacognitive and affective skills for reflective writing mediate the process of meaningful self-engagement as they help maximize students' abilities to study their cultural entity in depth and to expand their potential to think critically.

Thus, in the situation described above, EFL students may find the rationale of having uncomfortable feelings by describing the situation in a detached critical manner, and by identifying the cultural roots of misunderstanding. Here, living through the moment of cross-cultural negotiation becomes crucial for affirming diversity of perspectives.

Such a hermeneutic approach might help in modifying already existed epistemologies. Third, assessing L2 writing sophistication levels and corresponding taxonomies in writing will indicate students' extent of self-engagement. If to go back to the example with EFL students described above, by self examining the sophistication level in reflective journaling, they may analyze the extent to which they are capable of describing the situation in a detached critical manner, thus identifying the cultural roots of misinterpretation.

Fourth, writing reflective journals according to guided instructions may systematize a new body of academic knowledge for EFL students. However, I believe it is also crucial to humanize this way of using reflective journals, as students have their own linguistic and sociocultural idiosyncrasies that need to be encountered. Although the study reveals benefits of implementing reflective journaling for interrogating ethnocentric frames of reference, instructors might face some challenges if it were implemented.

Besides, the essential question still remains open regarding the system of assessing reflective journaling in the given context. It goes without saying that this reflective practice may serve as a stepping stone for students' motivation to explore their unique cultural entity and, more importantly, to share this sensitive information with other classroom practitioners. However, there is a dilemma whether such reflective critical journaling should become an assessed practice, or remain as part of students' independent writing. In the former case, grading reflective practices would organize and systematize students' self-inquiry exercises.

Yet if reflective journaling remains a part of independent writing, instructors should provide opportunities for learning experience to be internalized idiosyncratically. Ultimately, those problematic issues need to be taken into consideration while planning to incorporate reflective critical journals for identifying their ethnocentric standpoints in intercultural studies through cultural self-engagement. The purpose of the study was to explore how reflective journals may facilitate EFL students' exploration of unconscious ethnocentric perspectives through cultural self-inquiry, while studying abroad.

The theoretical assumption of the study based on the sociocultural theory of EFL learning, coupled with intercultural educational objectives to identify ethnocentric effects of their behavior in international learning practices. For that, in the zone of intercultural development, EFL students were described to internalize learning activities and challenges with mediating support of interlocutors or artifacts in order to interpret intercultural documents assignments or instructions and events L1 correspondence.

By analyzing their ethnocentric perspectives on the issues raised in those documents or events, students may explain their cultural references and deeply anchored values, which predispose their behavioral patterns. Framing the study within sociocultural theory of learning, the researcher introduced reflective critical journaling as a mediating tool for acquiring intercultural skills of interpreting and relating.

The literature review on the related topic has presented four issues discussed above, which pertained to the efficacy of using reflective journals for meaningful self-exploration of different groups of students. The empirical findings were logically organized and systematized in the feature matrix Fig. Accordingly, the research analysis further suggested that reflective journals might be implemented in international educational settings constructed in terms of sociocultural learning Fig.

The purpose was to fully engage EFL students into their cultural self-exploration for identifying unconscious effects of ethnocentrism influencing their behavioral patterns. In sum, this academic paper has highlighted the importance of using reflective critical writing by EFL students to acknowledge their culturally rooted beliefs interfering with their perception and interpretation of international educational events or documents. When students acquire intercultural skills of interpreting their ethnocentric perspectives, they become interculturally mature to mediate conflicting moments and difficulties happened in the process of communicating between cultures, communities, etc.

As a final comment, it is crucial that this kind of research be conducted in the near future. Indeed, the combination of two pedagogical aspects such as assessing components of intercultural competence and second language acquisition in international educational settings by means of reflective practices seems paramount for reducing stereotyping and ethnocentricity.

Finally, the identified pedagogical insights propel the following research in the direction of covering other groups of students, who also participate in the process of intercultural communication in all fields of international educational programs. Andrew, M. Bain, J. Using journal writing to enhance student teachers' reflectivity during field experience placements.

Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice , 5 1 , Baker, W. The use of journaling in the development of student engagement and confidence with the teaching of music in an Australian early childhood and primary teacher education degree: a new perspective of an old problem.


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Australian Journal of Music Education, 1, 40 - Byram, M. Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Canagarajah, A. Critical Academic Writing and Multilingual Writers. Dewey, J. Boston: MA: D. Genc, Z. Teacher autonomy through reflective journals among teachers of English as a foreign language in Turkey.

Teacher Development, 14 3 , - Greiman, B. Reflective thinking and journal writing: examining student teachers' perceptions of preferred reflective modality, journal writing outcomes, and journal structure.

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Career and Technical Education Research, 32 2 , - Gunn, C. Language Teaching Research, 14 2 , - Hanauer, D. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 60 1 , 69 - Meaningful literacy: Writing poetry in the language classroom. Language Teaching, 45 1 , - Hattan, N. Reflection in teacher education: Towards definition and implementation. Teaching and Teacher Education, 11 1 , 33 - Issa, T. Reflective journals for the enhancement of postgraduate students learning: an Australian case study. The International Journal of Learning, 18 3 , - Johansen, P. Using reflective online journals to create constructivist, student-centered learning environments in undergraduate social work education.

The Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 11 1 , 87 - Lantolf, J. Introducing sociocultural theory. Lantolf, P Ed.

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Byram, Fleming, M Ed. The symbolic dimensions of the intercultural. Language Teaching, 44 3 , - Meira, L. Find out more. When you think of Leonardo Da Vinci, what's the first thing that comes to mind? It probably isn't the science of climate change — but Da Vinci's insight into an ancient mystery has provided today's scientists with a simple yet effective tool for understanding climate change and its effects.

When you look up at a crescent moon, you'll see the crescent in white, lit up by the sun. You'll also see the rest of the Moon, less bright but still visible. The cause of this phenomenon puzzled astronomers for years, and went by many names. It has been called 'ashen glow' and more poetically 'the old moon in the new moon's arms'.

After Da Vinci's discovery that it's the Earth lighting up the dark side of the Moon, this light was named 'the Da Vinci glow'. It is sometimes referred to as 'earthshine', and when it occurs on other planets' moons: 'planetshine'.


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  • Earthshine is when the sun's light is reflected by the Earth's surface and illuminates the dark side of the Moon. Since the light has been reflected, it is much dimmer than the sunlight visible in the crescent moon. The brightness of the light is also affected by the Moon's 'albedo'. This is a measurement of a celestial object's reflectiveness, and ranges from 0 to 1. The Moon's average albedo is 0. This means that the Earth seen from the Moon would look about times brighter than the Moon seen from the Earth.

    Da Vinci wrote in his Codex Leicester circa that he believed the Moon's "ghostly glow" to be a result of the sun's light reflecting off the Earth's oceans, and that the Moon is so reflective because it is itself covered with water. Although he was right about earthshine, he wasn't quite right on the detail. It is in fact clouds, not oceans, which make the Earth so reflective — that's why when Earth is seen from space, the clouds are white and the oceans are dark.

    Scientists are also fairly certain that there is no water on the Moon; its 'seas' are made of ancient hardened lava. However, since Da Vinci was writing at a time when humanity had yet to discover parts of the Earth, let alone the Moon, we can cut him some slack. One of the most important implications of earthshine is in the observation and study of climate change. Having previously helped to provide conclusive evidence of the greenhouse effect, Thejll is now using the concept of earthshine to monitor one of the greatest threats to our planet.

    Dr Thejll is currently working on a global automatic system to measure and observe changes in the Earth's reflectivity, by observing Earthshine. Because the main factor in the Earth's reflectivity is cloud, and cloud is a climate indicator, the hope is that scientists will be able to record climate change over time, simply by observing the moon.

    This is an incredibly cost-effective option compared to satellites, which cost millions to design, build and launch. Satellites also deteriorate over time, and can occasionally go off course or malfunction. By drawing on the simple wisdom of the past, climate scientists have found a way to work towards protecting our future.

    When Leonardo Da Vinci wrote his Codex Leicester and drew his sketch of the crescent moon, could he have imagined that, years later, we would be using his beautifully simple theory to address one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced? Monthly issue: What causes recessions, and can we predict them? Tis but a scratch: has the Eurozone economy really suffered permanent scarring? Aberdeen Standard Investments is a brand of the investment businesses of Standard Life Aberdeen plc, its affiliates and subsidiaries.

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