Mindfulness in the Writing and Literature Classroom: In-person, Online, in the Moment (Roundtable -- NeMLA 2021

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Matthew Leporati / The College of Mount Saint Vincent

This roundtable session will discuss practical strategies for implementing techniques of mindfulness in the writing and literature classroom, considering the advantages and disadvantages of such techniques. Participants are especially welcome to discuss how mindfulness techniques can be utilized in online spaces, especially for in-person classes that have suddenly become remotely taught online as of the Spring 2020 semester.

In recent years, the utility of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) has gained significant attention in 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.

As online and remotely taught classes gain popularity—and as in-person classes have been making the transition to online spaces in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic—the question of how to incorporate mindfulness techniques into our pedagogy has acquired a new urgency, as well as a new set of challenges and opportunities.

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, including the online remotely taught classroom or in-person classrooms that incorporate online elements. Topics include strategies for stimulating mindfulness; techniques for creating a sense of “presence” in a digital environment; examinations of which techniques work well and which are less effective; methods for dealing with 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”).

Please submit short (300 words or so) abstracts to https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/CFP by September 30, 2020.

For more information, please contact Matthew Leporati at matthew.leporati@mountsaintvincent.edu

The NeMLA conference will be held March 11-14, 2021 in Philadelphia, PA.