Shifting the Absent Present: Pedagogical Approaches for More Inclusive Spaces

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

This session seeks to use the concept of the absent present (that which is embodied by students but unacknowledged) within the classroom as a method of disclosure. Such a method is dedicated to both the literal and figurative spaces that foster agency for students and instructors as they embody and articulate multiple critical identities. Particular focus will be placed on the ways student backgrounds and identities are erased or ignored through various means including syllabi, modeled language, instructor feedback, and assignment and assessment structures. Attention to that which is present within our students but goes unacknowledged or undervalued allows for the exploration of ways to better foster more inclusive spaces. Using various lenses, presenters may explore culture, identity, relationships, race, class, and language, as well as methods of application.

Presenters are asked to consider the potential impact of making that which is embodied by students (present) but unacknowledged (absent) a more central component of the course by way of approaches and assignments. How do we create a classroom ecology that is centered on listening and writing to create change? In what ways do we engage or dismiss the absent present of our students? How do our pedagogical practices transform students as members of diverse communities, cultures, classes, and spaces? Attendees can walk away with tangible and practical examples of ways of applying these approaches in their own classrooms.