In the Philippines, there are few, if any, studies of student compositions that investigate the use of language as an effective, efficient, and creative means of expressing the self. This study is an attempt to contribute to knowledge about student writing in the Philippines. In particular, the study aims to describe the various ways freshman students from a private university in Manila represent themselves in their reflection essays, a writing task required in the core humanities courses of the university. Two sets of compositions, one written in the English language and another in the Filipino language, are analyzed for ways in which self-representation is realized by the student writers. As the study focuses on how the Filipino students represent themselves in their essays, both English and Filipino compositions were examined for grammatical/ lexical features and for the types of speech act verbs employed in the essays. More specifically, the study investigates the use of (1) first person referencing, (2) modals, and (3) types of illocutionary points. The results of the investigation reveal that for both English and Filipino compositions, student writers have a tendency to (1) limit their use of first person referencing, with fewer first person pronouns employed in the Filipino corpus; (2) limit the use of modals, with fewer modals observed in the Filipino corpus; and (3) employ more assertive illocutionary points than declarative points, and fewer commissive and expressive points in both English and Filipino compositions. From the results, one may conclude that (1) the student writers involved in the study do not seem to present themselves as active subjects or agents in the writing process, and (2) the reflection essay may be a useful tool for writing pedagogy and student formation.
Martin, M. (2011). Representations of Self in Reflection Essays of Philippine University Students. Reflections on English Language Teaching Journal, 10(1), 55-66.