Marlen’s manuscript “The Power of ‘No’: Considering Buddhist Mindfulness when Providing Feedback in the Teaching of Composition” has been published at Writing on the Edge, a UC Davis peer-reviewed journal. The Power of No presents the narrative of a young writing teacher’s profound struggle offering critical feedback to research students and juxtaposes the experience with Buddhist mindfulness principles as discussed by Thich Nhat Hanh. Abstract below, full manuscript here.
By using Thich Nhat Hanh’s Buddhist “mindfulness trainings” as a framing device, the author examines the challenges he faced as a new college-level writing instructor in the USA. Specifically this text is constructed as textual performance exploring a teacher’s anxieties, concerns about student-writers’ linguistic and rhetorical choices, and the great difficulty inherent in telling a student “no” – as in “No, your writing is not correct.” The text explores the racial identities of a teacher and his students in a western Pennsylvania public university and ultimately recounts the teacher’s experiences of learning to include discussions about genre, audience and linguistic rights in his curriculum. Intended as an ethnographic account of writing pedagogy development, the author asks readers to consider how they face such challenges and formulate responses in any teaching environment where students’ understandings of their linguistic rights are also key to helping them understand their choices and practices as writers.
Keywords: writing pedagogy, Buddhism, identity, classroom practices, linguistic rights, genre, audience