As part of our professional staff development, writing center tutors work in groups over the course of each year to study a topic relevant to writing center practice or theory that is of particular interest to the group members. In the fall semester, we research and discuss; in the spring semester, we share our work with the rest of the staff during our Friday staff meetings. This series, What Does it Mean to Work in a Writing Center, is dedicated to sharing the important work of our tutors with the public. Our first installment in the series is Mindfulness and Self-Reflection in the Writing Center.
by Savannah Barnette and Emily Sedlacek
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of actively being aware of the “present moment.” This is a natural skill that all people possess; however, we can cultivate this skill through daily practice.
What is Self-Reflection?
By looking back on one’s day or week, they are provided with the opportunity to improve relationships, create greater clarity of thought, and improve decision making. This practice, when applied to writing, promotes better planning and organization as well as new solutions to problems.
When one participates in self-reflective writing, they are able to hone in on their individual strengths, weaknesses, problems, and achievements. This writing tool promotes practical skills that typically provide students with greater success than if not attempted at all.
How Can They Help in the Writing Center?
In the midst of a busy session, we often find ourselves getting lost in everything we want to accomplish in 45 minutes. This can lead to frustration in both the writer and the consultant.
By taking a moment to center ourselves using mindfulness practices, coming into the present moment, we can better assist the writer with self-reflection and the problems at hand. In turn, a self-reflective writer is better prepared to “monitor their own thinking process” (Wardle 771) in regards to their writing and responding to future problems.
More than this, since our goal is to create better writers, not just better writing, modeling these behaviors can provide examples for writers going forward.
- Getting Started with Mindfulness
- Dwelling On The Past: The Importance of Self Reflection (Part 2)
- “Got Guilt? Consultant Guilt in the Writing Center Community” - Jennifer Nickaly
- “Blogging as a Tool for Dialogic Reflection” - Mark R. Hall
- “‘Mutt Genres’ and the Goal of FYC: Can We Help Students Write the Genres of the University?” - Elizabeth Wardle