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This thread kind of took a turn I've not seen on this list before, but that
notwithstanding...

I don't ever think of myself as filling our tutors minds with anything but
perhaps some best practices on how to approach the students as human beings
and get the most out of the tutor-student exchange (I refuse to use the
word tutee, but that is for another discussion thread).  There are many
techniques to help tutors get there, but I think one thing we really lose
track of is that the students recommended to us as tutors are top
performers who not only have a ton of content knowledge, but knowledge of
how to study - they are our campus' most self-actualized students with
excellent metacognition.  They do not exist in a vacuum - as top performing
members of an academic community, they hear learning concepts from many
sources.  They are tuned into the zeitgeist and we need to respect that,
otherwise our lessons or training just seem like busy work.

If someone feels that "mindfulness" is the path to enhancing a tutor's
ability to reach students, that's great.  If others find a different
technique more helpful, that's wonderful, too.  Doing this job for thirty
years has taught me that tutors are the best resource not just for our
students, but for their own learning and their own understanding.  Most of
what I do is just remind them that in every tutoring session, there is an
important, complicated, interested, valuable and precious human being on
the other end of the tutoring equation and that following certain best
practices, they can be more effective in their work through the respect
they show for their students.

I didn't mean to lecture - ya'll know this stuff already.
.

Michael B. Kassel, Ph. D.
Tutorial Coordinator
Student Success Center
285 University Pavilion
(810) 766-6773
[log in to unmask]


On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 2:08 AM Ray Sanchez <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Nic,
>
> In fact I do know about mindfulness well enough and my statements stand. I
> only said that I did not read that particular article. No caricature was
> intended but a little humor, perhaps. Do I want my tutors to be present and
> responding to the person and situation in front of them? Indeed! But I
> won’t be using “mindfulness” to try and accomplish this.
>
>
>
> I really do want to fill the minds of my tutors with knowledge and skills
> so that they can, in turn, learn how to fill the minds of their tutees.
> Think of the phrase, *pouring into someone’s life*. This is what I want
> my peer tutors to do. This doesn’t mean they pour their knowledge of Human
> Biology into the mind of their tutees by means of a one-way, Human Biology
> funnel. In fact, I’m speaking less about content (the what) and more about
> learning strategies and academic virtues (the how). Tutors ought to
> personalize instruction and provide a student perspective, and this is
> largely about equipping their tutees with the skills and strategies to be a
> successful student in general and successful in the particular discipline
> of Human Biology.
>
>
>
> I do agree, however, that tutoring involves, “deep listening and
> observation, purposeful interpretation of students’ actions and statements,
> and strategic response in the form or questions, prompts, and silence.” I
> don’t believe I need to train my tutors in the principles and practices of
> mindfulness to get them there. You state:
>
> *That they are particularly popular now (and thus a bit of a fad) in the
> US  and in colleges says to me that we as a society need strategies for
> directing our minds, for being present with our (often difficult) emotions
> and in our exhausted bodies—that the strategies we currently have are not
> sufficient. (It’s not difficult to see why we are in this predicament, in
> my view.)*
>
> …and I agree whole heartedly (or whole mindedly!). The author of the
> article states that one benefit of training tutors in mindfulness
> techniques is to, *[reduce the]** mental noise and [improve the] ability
> to self-regulate attention, a tutor can remain focused on the
> collaboratively established goals of the writing center session*. This is
> just not something I see as a priority and where there has been focus
> issues on the part of tutors I address it in other ways. I’m agreeing with
> you, please understand, on the matter of the tutors, tutees, me, and just
> about every person in 2020 America: we are all oversaturated in screens,
> frazzled at times with the pace of things, and enduring non-stop
> information overload. I just won’t use meditation in my tutor training to
> address these things.
>
> I like your: “students some of the time, people all of the time.” An
> example of how I mold my Centers in the direction of this axiom is to allow
> tutees (and sometimes tutors) to bring their children into sessions.
>
> Best,
>
> ~Ray
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *From:* Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <
> [log in to unmask]> *On Behalf Of *Nic Voge
> *Sent:* Wednesday, February 19, 2020 5:12 AM
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* Re: Training on tutoring and mindfulness
>
>
>
> Hello Ray,
>
> I encourage you to learn more about mindfulness and meditation before you
> make statements about what they are, and how they can shape experience and
> performance in any realm, including tutoring. Simplistic caricatures of
> “full” and “empty” in a material, literal sense are not helpful in
> understanding the psychological processes that these ancient and widespread
> practices entail. There are many well-researched books and empirical
> research articles and a vast literature about the practice of meditation
> and mindfulness you can look into.
>
>
>
> More specifically, you might think of “mindful”, for instance, as
> “present”. Do you want your tutors to be present, responding to the person
> and situation in front of them? This takes both a kind of preparation and
> practice for which mindfulness and meditation are well-suited. There are
> many, many approaches (strategies?) to meditation even in the Buddhist
> tradition—Zen is but one. You might think of meditation as intentional
> practice of directed attention with the aim of gaining insight both about
> oneself and how the mind works. Most start—in their Western adaptations—by
> asserting, actually,  that the aim is NOT to stop thinking or to
> intentionally empty the mind. There are direct analogues in this kind of
> practice to the notion and practice of metacognition, so crucial to the
> autonomous, self-regulated, adaptive learning required in college.
>
>
>
> It seems that your stated objection to mindfulness is that you want to put
> things in your tutors minds so that tutors can, as you put it, ‘fill the
> minds of their tutees.” I was struck by how this description differs from
> your other posts to the listserve about tutoring and learning. That is a
> view of tutoring and tutor training as “banking” I do not share and which I
> do not think is widespread in the field. Perhaps that is why others see the
> value of mindfulness for tutors and you do not—there are different models
> of tutoring underlying this discussion. But, if for you as it does for me,
> tutoring involves deep listening and observation, purposeful interpretation
> of students’ actions and statements, and strategic response in the form or
> questions, prompts, and silence, then mindfulness training can enhance
> these ‘skills’ in my experience. Why is not to say that it is the only way
> to do so or that any training focused on mindfulness will transfer to
> tutoring. I think we all know learning is not so simple.
>
>
>
> I do take your point that mindfulness can seem—and probably is in some
> cases—faddish. But, I don’t know how you would know that in this article we
> are getting a faddish treatment without having read it. Mindfulness and
> meditation have eon-long histories in many traditions (including Western,
> Christian, etc.) of usefulness for personal and mental transformation. That
> they are particularly popular now (and thus a bit of a fad) in the US  and
> in colleges says to me that we as a society need strategies for directing
> our minds, for being present with our (often difficult) emotions and in our
> exhausted bodies—that the strategies we currently have are not sufficient.
> (It’s not difficult to see why we are in this predicament, in my view.)
> Getting to a state of present mindfulness and engagement is crucial to deep
> learning of difficult content and skills that often evoke confusion,
> frustration and other emotional and cognitive responses that hinder
> immersion and learning.  If the students (and tutors) on your campus are
> not challenged by these issues, in a society where our attention is bought
> and sold and stressors on our bodies and (especially) minds are great, then
> I can assure they are ubiquitous elsewhere. Attention, concentration,
> purposefulness in the face of distraction, divided attention, relentless
> stimulation and input are huge issues in the learning of the students I
> work with—and more than ever. Research on engagement and the new field of
> “academic emotions” might be interesting to look at.
>
>
>
> Students—and tutors—are human beings. Meditation and mindfulness are
> unique skills for being human, for living a meaningful, purposeful life
> each and every moment--much like music, art, conversation, breathing, and
> prayer. I like to point out that in our Center we recognize that students
> are “students some of the time, and people all of the time.” We explicitly
> strive for academic and holistic thriving for our students and staff. In my
> view, quite often students are not experiencing their colleges as
> humanizing, actualizing places; they are not finding time and ways in this
> crucial developmental period to acquire the ‘skills, strategies, and
> mindsets’ for living well (i.e. ‘wellbeing’), any more than they are
> acquiring the  ‘skills, strategies, and mindsets’ in their courses for
> effective life-long learning—as we know as learning support professionals.
>
>
>
> I, for one, am open to new ways of doing our work and meeting the needs of
> the students in our institutions and Centers while simultaneously fiercely
> defending our unique community and body of knowledge. Disciplines
> frequently grow by engagement with other disciplines. I also think that we,
> ourselves, have a “discipline” of our own as learning professionals that
> has great power (and is often under-appreciated) and that we should
> interpret, select and adapt what other disciplines have to offer us, not
> simply  uncritically incorporate the tools and theories of other
> disciplines. This brings to mind a quote (by Amos Bronson Alcott) my
> former professor P David Pearson shared recently, “The true teacher
> defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires
> self-trust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens
> him. He will have no disciples.” This is what I aspire to. No disciples, no
> gurus.
>
>
>
> Best,
>
> Nic
>
>
>
>
> ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
>
> Dominic (Nic) J. Voge  || Senior Associate Director || he, him, his
>
> *McGraw Center for Teaching & Learning* ||  Princeton University
>
> 328 Frist Center
>
> (609)258-6921  || https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__mcgraw.princeton.edu_undergraduates&d=DwIFaQ&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=tkAACBgX69zH9b8QGasKbhgWu8w0Arh-QhL0xf_Y95k&m=RUtGuT_4fwdd8ANPqq8UDRsQNQ4p8rSxe6831wzQ4GY&s=fYWzK6-ha0q0jwQAIOkR2yi8GCUz_RD-tOQY0-DTbAA&e= 
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>
>
>
> *Life Beyond Grades: Designing College Courses to Promote Intrinsic
> Motivation
> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.cambridge.org_us_academic_subjects_psychology_psychology-2Dgeneral-2Dinterest_life-2Dbeyond-2Dgrades-2Ddesigning-2Dcollege-2Dcourses-2Dpromote-2Dintrinsic-2Dmotivation-3Fformat-3DPB-26isbn-3D9780521805230&d=DwMGaQ&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=tkAACBgX69zH9b8QGasKbhgWu8w0Arh-QhL0xf_Y95k&m=7xNvg_G_XT_ltrBZDSfsvYZoNxdpZt9WfvkELVDyAdc&s=h8nVjPleREPUUmVdaJuO2BgOWhN37ibPJoMULhPd_pc&e=>*
>
> The Key To Overcoming Procrastination | TEDx PrincetonU
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> "A university is, according to the usual designation, an alma mater,
> knowing her children one by one, not a foundry, or a mint, or a
> treadmill."--John Henry Newman
>
>
>
>
>
> *From: *Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <
> [log in to unmask]> on behalf of Ray Sanchez <[log in to unmask]>
> *Reply-To: *Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <
> [log in to unmask]>
> *Date: *Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 2:39 AM
> *To: *"[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
> *Subject: *Re: Training on tutoring and mindfulness
>
>
>
> I’m no fan of mindfulness in tutor training. I haven’t read this article,
> but I do know that mindfulness is rooted in Zen Buddhist tradition and
> methods (meditation!) and I prefer to have my tutors fill their minds with
> something specific, rather than clear or empty their minds—which could lead
> to a filling of their mind with things I don’t want there!
>
>
>
> You know, like when people say, “Have an open mind,” and I say, “No
> thanks, I want to keep a colander on my brain to filter out the garbage.”
> Okay, I know, perhaps I’m being a little too critical or literal. Relaxing
> and breathing can definitely help us all slow down and reflect and it is
> proven to ease stress and is a counter to self-flagellation. That’s good.
> But I really don’t need my tutors to have fullness of mind, but fullness of
> solutions and strategies to fill the minds of their tutees.
>
>
>
> ~Ray
>
>
>
> *From:* Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <
> [log in to unmask]> *On Behalf Of *Mabrey, Paul - mabreype
> *Sent:* Tuesday, February 18, 2020 9:39 AM
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* Re: Training on tutoring and mindfulness
>
>
>
> Dear Ira and others,
>
>
>
> Jared Featherstone is a colleague here in the James Madison University
> Learning Centers that specializes on researching and integrating
> mindfulness into learning, tutor training, tutoring, and life. Below is an
> article on this, with resources linked, from WLN A Journal of Writing
> Center Scholarship. He has also presented on this across conferences and
> keynote addresses. I have copied him here if you would like to connect.
>
>
>
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__wlnjournal.org_digitaleditedcollection1_Featherstoneetal.html&d=DwIFaQ&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=tkAACBgX69zH9b8QGasKbhgWu8w0Arh-QhL0xf_Y95k&m=RUtGuT_4fwdd8ANPqq8UDRsQNQ4p8rSxe6831wzQ4GY&s=wALMSrMwU1lNdzDVd8UNsrMNaZV-J5rJjyyp4Hazaok&e= 
> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__wlnjournal.org_digitaleditedcollection1_Featherstoneetal.html&d=DwMGaQ&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=tkAACBgX69zH9b8QGasKbhgWu8w0Arh-QhL0xf_Y95k&m=EJRR0Ku-rUFC1T1EObV6syf1JWxFvl_Uy67lQ1bwuWI&s=EzuVtbCtqxUbAHTs7HrsMY6jBu2tNjw_d0QkljmmB3A&e=>
>
>
>
> Paul
>
>
>
>
>
> --
>
> Paul E. Mabrey III, Ph.D. (he/him/his)
>
> Communication Center Coordinator
>
> Assistant Professor, School of Communication Studies
>
> Co-Editor, *Communication Center Journal*
>
> James Madison University
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *From: *Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <
> [log in to unmask]> on behalf of "Fenton,Jennifer" <
> [log in to unmask]>
> *Reply-To: *Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <
> [log in to unmask]>
> *Date: *Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 11:32 AM
> *To: *"[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
> *Subject: *Re: Training on tutoring and mindfulness
>
>
>
> We have used the article "The Mistake I Made with My Grieving Friend" by
> Celeste Headlee and discussed the idea of shift vs. support focus in that
> article to show tutors how to frame more mindful conversations.
>
>
>
> Our Level 3 tutors have also expanded presentations on self-regulation
> theory using metacognitive work by Leonard Geddes and Saundra McGuire. We
> also dabble in Brave Space Theory in order to cover topics related to
> diversity awareness, too. I have some of their presentations on file as
> well if you'd like them.
>
>
>
> We emphasize the concept that how you regulate your own emotions as a
> tutor affects your tutoring strategies as well as choices. Yet, from the
> student angle, we highlight the idea that there is no way to know the depth
> of feelings and struggles of the person in front you, so the best response
> is the most compassionate one.
>
>
>
> Hope this helps.
>
>
>
> Sincerely,
>
>
>
> *Jennifer Fenton *
>
> *She/Her/Hers*
>
> Learning Specialist - Writing & Adjunct Professor
>
> MCC-Longview
>
> Office: 816-604-2208 at LR 220
>
> 500 SW Longview Road, Lee's Summit, MO 64081-2105
>
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>
>
> *Preparing Students, Serving Communities, Creating Opportunities*
> ------------------------------
>
> *From:* Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <
> [log in to unmask]> on behalf of Ira Fabri <[log in to unmask]>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, February 18, 2020 10:24 AM
> *To:* [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
> *Subject:* Training on tutoring and mindfulness
>
>
>
> Hello, All.
>
>
>
> I hope you All are having a great week.
>
>
>
> I am preparing a training session for my CRLA Level 2 tutors on
> mindfulness and tutoring.
>
>
>
> Does anybody have materials to recommend or share?
>
>
>
> Thanks in advance.
>
>
>
> Ira
>
>
>
> --
>
> Ira Fabri
>
> *Pronouns: She, Her, Hers*
>
> Associate Director, Tutoring Services
>
> Academic Success Center
>
> Division of Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA)
>
> UMBC
>
> Sherman Hall East, 342
>
> 1000 Hilltop Circle
>
> Baltimore, MD 21250
>
>
>
> 410-455-3905
>
> [log in to unmask]
>
>
>
> [image: Image removed by sender.]
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