Disclosure, Performance, White Noise? Reflective Assignments in Theory and Practice

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA 2021
contact email: 

Link for submissions: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/18658

Reflective writing assignments have long been a part of courses on writing and teacher education and are making their way increasingly into foreign language classes in the form of language logs, content journals, or self-evaluations for portfolio assessments. What these assignments have in common is that they ask the writer to disclose their personal thoughts and perform reflexivity. Two main purposes of reflective assignments are to scaffold learner self-awareness and agency, and to provide real-time feedback to (and potentially one-on-one interaction with) the instructor. However, they can also be interpreted as a performance designed to satisfy the teacher's expectations of progress; they may privilege students who feel they can safely disclose parts of their personal lives and thoughts; and they may become what Harney and Moten ("The Undercommons") call gregariousness or "white noise": the expression of mandated self-management, an effluent of governance, rather than genuine communication and fragility.

This panel invites papers on all kinds of reflective assignments, particularly in foreign language, pedagogy, and writing classes: How do we design, introduce, and assess them? How much agency do students have in completing them? Where do we see degrees of freedom, where do they become rote? Can we make out patterns in the way students complete and derive benefits from them? Who are they designed for? (How) do they create community? How would we place our experience of reflective work within the matrix of possible interpretations sketched out above, or beyond it?

Please submit abstracts of max. 300 words and a short bio. For more information, contact Silja Weber at svw2108@columbia.edu.