Mindfulness in the Academy: Multitasking and Attention (Roundtable -- NeMLA 2024)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Matthew Leporati / Donetta Hines / Northeast Modern Language Association

NeMLA 2024 Roundtable: Mindfulness in the Academy: Multitasking and Attention

This roundtable session will discuss mindfulness practices that instructors of writing and literature can incorporate into classrooms, and it will focus especially on mindfulness' ability to assist instructors and students alike in juggling their many tasks, roles, responsibilities, and deadlines.

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.

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 and in their professional lives, particularly in regard to managing many tasks at once, a constant challenge both for professors and students. Topics include lesson planning and scheduling; teaching and practicing time management; the benefits of mindfulness for instructors and/or students; the potential drawbacks of incorporating mindfulness; 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; ideas for resisting the recent commercialization and commodification of mindfulness in popular culture and the corporate world (sometimes called “McMindfulness”); and ideas for preventing mindfulness from becoming a mere tool to increase (capitalist) productivity.

Please submit short (300-400 word) abstracts online at https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/CFP by September 30, 2023.

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

NeMLA will be held March 7-10, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts.