Role conflation in the writing of undergraduate Law students

In the course of their study, undergraduate Law students are often asked to assume professional roles when writing their assignments. For example, students may be asked to assume the role of a Judge and write a decision on an appeal, or they may be presented with the facts of a problem situation and then asked to assume the role of a professional lawyer and provide legal advice to one or more persons involved in that situation. Students are aware, however, that while the assignment attempts to simulate a professional task, the assignment is set within the university and they are writing for their lecturer. Demonstrating the heteroglossia Bakhtin recognised in all language use, there is a jostling of the student and professional voices, with the positioning of the writer as student bearing on the text in two ways; not only does it find representation in the text in is own right, but it is also the condition necessitating the production of the professional voice. Drawing on the schema established by Tim Moore and Brett Hough (see paper 1 above) this paper will briefly outline instances of such role conflation in set assignments. It will then comment briefly on the judgments made by students as they decide in what ways and the extent to which the written assignment should reflect these different roles. In particular, it will attempt to give a brief account of the constraints that seem most compelling for the students as they make their judgments.

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Price, Steve
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Critiquing and reflecting: LAS profession and Practice. Non-refereed Proceedings from the National Biennial Conference, ANU, Canberra
Milnes, Stephen
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