Here's information on a new graduate course on mindful writing that I'll be teaching at Salem State University. If you live in the Boston area and are interested in a course on mindful writing theory (or know someone who might be) both for practicing writers and English teachers, please see below. The first offering of this course will occur during the spring semester 2020.
ENG 835: Mindful Writing: Theory and Practice
This course explores mindfulness as writing theory and practice and examines the impact of present awareness on the writing process and rhetorical situation. It studies rhetorical factors of impermanence, audience, internal rhetoric, verbal emptiness, mindful invention, and the embodied and material conditions of writing. Present-moment awareness is applied to writing to reduce obstacles that come from mindlessness or future- or past-oriented approaches. Students practice mindful writing techniques for use in the classroom and their writing. 3 credits.
Week 1: Mindful Learning. Mindlessness versus Mindfulness
Week 2: Theories of Writing Block. Writing Block as Form of Mindlessness
Week 3: Present Temporality and Writing. Overview of Present Rhetorical Factors.
Week 4: Intrapersonal Rhetoric
Week 5: Intrapersonal Rhetoric
Week 6: Incorporating Intrapersonal Rhetoric into Writing Instruction
Week 7: Impermanence and Groundlessness
Week 8: Impermanence: Revision and Feedback for Personal Writing and for the Classroom
Week 9: Audience Theory
Week 10: Audience Theory
Week 11: Preverbal Emptiness: Prewriting and Non-Writing
Week 12: Preverbal Emptiness: Prewriting and Non-Writing for Personal Writing and for the Classroom
Week 13: Embodied Writing for Personal Writing and for the Classroom
Week 14: Affective Responses to Writing Occasions, Preconceptions, Mind Waves and Mind Weeds
Week 15: Affective Responses to Writing Occasions, Preconceptions, Mind waves and Mind Weeds for Personal Writing and for the Classroom
Global Goals and Instructional Objectives:
1. Students develop focus on the immediate, real-time rhetorical situation of writing, including rhetorical context, intrapersonal rhetoric, and embodiment, observing the fluctuations of the writing moment with detachment.
Objective: Students complete exercises focused on these rhetorical factors, including exercises in disposable and private writing, as well as meditation and writing logs.
2. Students identify the ways in which they depart from present awareness while writing and learn to notice their past- and future-oriented mental formations.
Objective: Students explore mindful awareness and mindlessness through in-class activities, freewriting, and writing exercises.
3. Students gain insight into how mindlessness causes writing apprehension and writing blocks and learn methods to prevent these problems in their writing or that of their students in order to develop metacognition and a calm outlook for writing.
Objective: Students analyze literature and research on apprehension and writing blocks and develop annotated bibliographies and analysis papers.
4. Students notice the physical and emotional aspects of writing to develop awareness of the rhetorical moment for the purposes of metacognition and invention.
Objective: Students engage in activities and exercises during and outside of class that provide them with experiences in the physical and emotional aspects of writing, including private and freewriting exercises, mindful eating, mindful walking, yoga for hands, and felt sense.
5. Students put present-based approaches to writing in the context of established pedagogies and theories in the discipline of rhetoric and composition as well as in the context of mindful learning theory in higher education.
Objective 1: Students compose annotated bibliographies, essays, and research projects that critically respond to assigned scholarly articles and books on composition pedagogy and theory and mindful learning theory.
Objective 2: Students develop exercises, activities, and lessons for implementing mindful writing theory in the classroom.