Introduction to the Column: Reflective Practice

Kie Yamamoto, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan

Yamamoto, K. (2019). Introduction to the column: Reflective practice. Relay Journal, 2(1), 42-44.

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Welcome to the third reflective practice column. The second column of Reflective Practice in Advising in Volume 2(1) focused on advisors’ professional development through reflective dialogues. In particular, it disseminated fruitful ideas for ongoing mentoring sessions among new advising professionals. The necessity of peer-supported advisor training has been discussed not only to acquire a set of advising skills but also a philosophical background (e.g. Kato, 2012; Mozzon-McPherson, 2003) to effectively support learner autonomy. The prominence of professional development through intentionally-structured reflection with others is also remarked as the core of changing a thinking process or an existing belief, which leads to transformational learning (Argyris & Schön, 1974; Brockbank, McGill, 2006; Kato, 2012).

In this third issue, the reflective practice column begins with an insightful piece of teacher reflection drawing on intentional reflective dialogue. Ewen McDonald shares his experience of a mentoring session with his colleague, illustrating in-depth analysis of their dialogues. He provides a description of the intentional reflective dialogues broadened perspectives by using an advising tool, “Wheel of Reflection”. He particularly highlights the affective dimension of reflective dialogue as a crucial element of promoting further reflection. The author concludes with the significance of reflective dialogue as an opportunity for mutual growth among teaching professionals.

Additionally, we have launched a new project under this column to disseminate advising practice and expand research in advising in language learning. Following the primary aims of the experiment, Kie Yamamoto introduces three emerging themes, “advisor as an empowerer”, “advisor as a significant other” and “shifting roles in continuous advising sessions” drawing on advisors’ firsthand experiences. A group of learning advisors at Kanda University of International Studies share short reflections related to the theme “The most memorable advising experience”. Taking a narrative approach, the author sheds light on advisors’ selves and identities as crucial aspects of professional development for advisors.

There are three papers in this section, starting with accounts by Curtis Edlin and Amelia Yarwood, who share their experience of being “an empowerer” when working with at-risk students. Whereas the degree of directiveness becomes a concern in advising, their stories underline the importance of scaffolding learner autonomy with supportive intervention. In the second paper, Yuri Imamura and Scott Shelton-Strong reflect on their experience of being “a significant other” when their advisees were willingly sharing their personal stories. They provide illustrative examples of the socially-constructed nature of advising dialogues and the advisor’s reflexivity. Lastly, Huw Davies, Robert Stevenson and Isra Wongsarnpigoon describe their shifting roles in continuous advising sessions. Their stories illuminate the value of spending ample time to build rapport with learners, which leads to promoting deeper reflection.

The Reflective practice column welcomes reflective papers from teaching professionals as well as advisors related to mentoring sessions, written dialogues and group reflective practices. For the sub-column exclusively designated for advisors, the call for contributions will be announced on the Relay Journal website prior to the submission deadline. Please contact Kie Yamamoto ( for further information. New ideas are also always welcome.

Notes on the Contributor

Kie Yamamoto is a learning advisor at Kanda University of International Studies. She holds an M.S.Ed from Temple University Japan, and is currently pursuing an Ed.D at the University of Bath in the UK. Her research interests are language learner identity, social learning theory, student engagement, and narrative analysis.


Argyris, C., & Schön, D.A. (1974). Theory in practice: A theory of action perspective, Reading, Mass: Addison Wesley.

Brockbank, A., & McGill, I. (2006). Facilitating reflective learning through mentoring and coaching. London, UK: Kogan Page.

Kato, S. (2012). Professional development for learning advisors: Facilitating the intentional reflective dialogue. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 3(1), 74-92. Retrieved from

Mozzon-McPherson, M. (2003). Language learning advising and advisers: Establishing the profile of an emerging profession. IX Trobada de Centres d’Autoaprenentatge , 11-30.  Retrieved from