Mindfulness in the Writing Center: A Total Encounter
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The use of mindfulness or contemplative-based approaches has escalated across many sectors and has been the subject of increasing research interest, so it’s not surprising it is now finding its way into education. This paper reports some key insights gained from a quarter-long mindfulness project implemented over eight weeks in a large community college writing center in Omaha, Nebraska. This paper will describe the initial professional development day when the writing center consultants learned about the pedagogical and theoretical value of mindfulness and its relevance to higher education. This paper will then present the quarter-long project, during which the theories behind mindfulness were put into daily practice in the writing center. Writing center consultants were asked to take part in weekly mindfulness exercises both in the writing center and at home. Questionnaires were administered by the Writing Center Coordinator to collect anonymous consultant feedback each week, in addition to a final questionnaire to measure the project’s effectiveness. This cowritten paper will describe each phase of the project from both the Writing Center Coordinator and the consultant perspectives. The findings of this project have led the Coordinator to incorporate a mindfulness-based foundation into their Writing Center philosophy and enforced their commitment to student-driven pedagogy.