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Teaching writing as practice: A collaborative inquiry into the development of a mindful writing pedagogy in the era of accountability

Daniel Eric Boster, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation focuses on the work of a group of middle school, high school, college, and university English teachers in Omaha, Nebraska, as they worked to develop a writing pedagogy that is based on principles of mindfulness and that enacts principles of mindfulness. The context for this inquiry is an educational climate driven by the accountability agenda and standardized writing assessments that make being a writing teacher a great challenge. Our work explores how a mindfulness practice and a mindful approach to teaching writing can serve as a way to deal with the pressures of our teaching contexts in a way that serves both teachers and students, and I present a framework for applying many aspects of mindfulness to writing pedagogy. Our work was guided by our developing mindfulness practice and our conversations about four aspects of teaching writing: whole-class writing instruction; facilitating student writing groups; conducting student-teacher writing conferences; and reading, responding to, and grading student writing. In discussing all of these aspects, I explore how some best practices of writing pedagogy enact mindfulness and report on the mindful ways of teaching writing that teachers in this group found effective. In my conclusion, I argue that this type of cross-institutional teaching inquiry and collaboration are crucially important in an educational climate that devalues authentic learning for students and genuine collaborative work for teachers.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Boster, Daniel Eric, "Teaching writing as practice: A collaborative inquiry into the development of a mindful writing pedagogy in the era of accountability" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3713874.