What Does Reflection Look and Feel Like for International Students?

An Exploration of Reflective Thinking, Reflexivity and Employability





reflection, reflective thinking, reflexivity, international students, employability


Reflection, reflective thinking and reflexivity have received significant attention in the scholarly literature on higher education yet there is limited research that explores these concepts in relation to international students. This paper consequently explores what reflection and reflective thinking might look and feel like for international students. We theorize the importance of supporting international students in becoming reflexive practitioners in their chosen area of study; particularly in respect to graduate attributes including reflection and employability. The paper attends to this theorization by sharing Rodgers’ (2002) four functions of reflection, a reflective thinking model – the 4Rs – as well as Archer’s (2000, 2012) notion of reflexivity. We explore how higher educators might consider these frameworks comprehensively when working with international students particularly in the area of workplace experience.


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Author Biographies

Georgina Barton, University of Southern Queensland

Georgina Barton, PhD, is a Professor and Associate Head – Research in the School of Education at the University of Southern Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Before being an academic, Georgina taught in schools for over 20 years including teaching English in South India with Australian Volunteers International. Georgina also has extensive experience in teaching the arts in schools and universities and often utilizes the arts to support students’ literacy learning outcomes. She has over 130 publications including as the lead editor of a book titled Professional Learning for International Students: Exploring Theory and Practice. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. Email: georgina.barton@usq.edu.au

Mary Ryan

Mary Ryan, PhD, is Professor and Dean of Education at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Her research is in the areas of teachers’ work in, and preparation for, diverse classrooms, reflexive learning and practice, writing pedagogy and assessment and reflective writing. She led a highly successful Australian Learning and Teaching Council grant (2010/11) on reflective learning across disciplines in higher education. Her current Australian Research Council Discovery projects are in the areas of classroom writing and preparing reflexive teachers for diverse classrooms. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. Email: mary.ryan@macquarie.edu.au


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How to Cite

Barton, G., & Ryan, M. (2020). What Does Reflection Look and Feel Like for International Students? : An Exploration of Reflective Thinking, Reflexivity and Employability. Journal of International Students, 10(S2), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10iS2.2848



Special Issue |Reflection and Reflective Thinking