Mindfulness in the Writing and Literature Classroom
Abstr. due: 30.09.2018
Dates: 21.03.19 — 24.03.19
Organizing comittee e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This roundtable session will discuss practical strategies for implementing techniques of mindfulness in the writing and literature classroom, and it will consider the advantages and disadvantages of such techniques.
In recent years, the utility of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) has gained significant attention in the study of pedagogy. Inspired by Eastern practices of concentration and attention, techniques that fall under the category of MBI prompt both students and instructors to become increasingly aware (without judgment) of the present moment and their reactions to it. Some instructors lead students in brief meditation as a preparation for writing exercises; others encourage students to free write their initial reactions to texts, observing and recording their inner monologue; still others employ descriptive writing assignments that require students to pay close attention to common objects, including the smallest details that might normally escape their notice. In my own teaching, I ask students to use their smartphones to record themselves reading short texts out loud and commenting on them in real time. Another assignment requires them to photograph things they see in their everyday lives that remind of them of literary texts we are studying. Such assignments leverage technology to encourage students to become more aware of their surroundings and connect them to our class.
Participants of this roundtable are welcome to discuss the theory and especially practice of mindfulness with attention to its benefits and drawbacks in the classroom. Topics include strategies for stimulating mindfulness; examinations of which techniques work well and which are less effective; methods for dealing with student resistance to mindfulness; reflections on the relationship between mindfulness and writing and/or literary studies; the potential for mindfulness practices to open discussions about ethics within and beyond the classroom; and ideas for resisting the recent commercialization and commodification of mindfulness in popular culture and the corporate world (sometimes called “McMindfulness”).