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Building a Contemplative Research Writing Course: Theoretical Considerations, Practical Components, Challenges, and Adaptability
Across the Disciplines
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: Submitted
Source ID: shanti-sources-83576
Abstract: Responding to the call for the contemplative teaching of writing initiated by O’Reilley (1993) and extended by Kirsch (2008; 2009), Kroll (2013), Kroll (2008), Wenger (2015), and Harrison (2012), among others, this article explores the theoretical considerations, practical components, challenges, and adaptability involved in teaching a contemplative research writing course. This article takes up the theoretical considerations of teaching a contemplative research writing course by examining the growing need for contemplative writing as a practice of mindfulness in an increasingly de-selfed academic culture (Hurlbert, 2012). Relatedly, this article examines the challenges involved when a pedagogy makes attendant assumptions about students, knowledge creation, the role of mindfulness in higher education, and the holistic decentering of the classroom space. Concerning the practical components of a contemplative research writing course, this article describes the central roles of contemplative silence (Kirsch, 2009) and freewriting, sustained inquiry writing projects, stable writing groups, and cycles of revision and reflection. Following this, this article takes up the challenges often engendered by the deployment of contemplative pedagogies in the context of higher education. Finally, this article describes the use of this course as a model for fostering writers’ engagement with their own disciplinary knowledge that is adaptable for sustained writing courses across the disciplines.