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Reviewed by:
  • A Rhetoric of Reflection ed. by Kathleen Blake Yancey
  • Anthony DeGenaro
A Rhetoric of Reflection Kathleen Blake Yancey, Ed. Utah State UP, 2016, 328 pp.

The research and theorizing contained within A Rhetoric of Reflection relies on Kathleen Yancey's key terms for reflective practices. The terms "reflection-in-action," "constructive reflection," and "reflection-in-presentation" frame the critical conversations between Yancey, Anne Beaufort, J. Elizabeth Clark, Jeff Sommers, and Kara Taczak (4). Harkening back to Yancey's 1998 Reflection in the Writing Classroom, this collection takes as foundational the work of philosopher Donald Schön to conclude that reflection is "the dialectical process by which we develop and achieve, first, specific goals for learning; second, strategies for reaching those goals; and third, means of determining whether or not we have met those goals or other goals" (6). Yancey uses the collection's introduction to provide a brief history for reflection's role in rhetoric and composition, and how this not only relies on but also builds upon Schön's work.

First Yancey defines reflection as "tightly focused on the mental activities of the composer in the process of composing" (3). This focus, citing Sharon Pianko and Sondra Perl, identifies the syntactic, linguistic, and structural choices made by the composer. Yancey notes that in the late 80s and into the 90s, reflection scholarship took on a new life, citing her own work (1992), Nancy Sommers' "Writer's Memo" portfolio (1988), and Roberta Camp's "biography of a text" (1992) as all involving ways to incorporate reflection into pedagogy. These arguments contend that reflective pedagogy should: "(1) elucidate student composing activities in students' own descriptions so as to see what was otherwise invisible and (2) provide a context for an instructor-student conversation about the draft itself" (4). Yancey next elaborates on the framework for the thirteen chapters collected in A Rhetoric of Reflection. She claims that "the scholarship on reflection is in a third phase or generation" (5). This claim is supported in a long summary and justification of sequence and selection of the chapters in the collection. She organizes the collection into three parts, first "beginning with the classroom," next providing a "field-specific context for reflection," and finally "outlining promising practices" (14). In the first section, the authors articulate [End Page 110] various theories on reflection and then apply that theoretical knowledge to practices examining teaching for transfer in academic contexts.

This section alone should attract many readers in the field of rhetoric and composition, especially readers whose research interests and teaching methods include reflection. Readers of Community Literacy Journal may especially enjoy Taczak and Robertson's discussion of "reflection" that "must serve as both process and product" as students attempt to make sense of transferring knowledge learned not only into other academic genres and contexts, but into the different contexts and writing situations present within their communities (14). Additionally, as Yancey elucidates, "Leaker and Ostman consider the various kinds of reflective knowledge, especially that created by participants in communities of color," which prior learning assessment practices "may be excluding" (15).

The opening section thoroughly prepares the reader to advance into A Rhetoric of Reflection's second act, "address[ing] the relationships among reflection, language, and difference" (15). A fascinating case study made by Asao Inoue and Tyler Richmond concludes that faculty "tend to ignore the possible racialized nature of the discourse of student reflection assigned and expected in US writing classrooms" (15). Yancey situates Inoue and Richmond's important call to action after Bruce Horner's "Reflecting the Translingual Norm" to illuminate the pressing issues in the field.

It is in the third section of A Rhetoric of Reflection that research on reflection comes into its own. Elizabeth Clark's essay begins this section and she draws connections between selfie culture, reflection, and self-involvement. Clark discusses social media culture with empathy for student populations that are immersed in this culture, while also focusing on the ways students' engagement with social media simulates the kind of multimodal reflection that often occurs in ePortfolios at her home institution. Clark argues that "while the selfie is a sporadic and brief connection to an audience, reflective writing...


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pp. 110-112
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Will Be Archived 2020
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