Implementing Mindfulness-Based Interventions in the First-Year Composition Classroom as an Embodied Multimodality

Patricia Flores Hutson, University of Texas at El Paso


Mindfulness is rapidly increasing its popularity amongst instructors and administrators in higher education (Bush, 2011; Egras, 2015; Egras and Hadars, 2019; Wenger, 2019). The simplicity of mindfulness makes it an inclusive practice that can be performed by every individual. Further, it is time and cost effective as it only requires a couple of minutes of class time. Studies focusing on implementing mindfulness specifically in writing and composition classes are scarce (Wenger, 2019; Consilio & Kennedy, 2019). This dissertation hopes to add to the growing research of mindfulness in higher education, specifically in writing classes, by exploring the ways in which mindfulness can be implemented in the first-year composition (FYC) classroom as an embodied multimodality. Further, this study also explores the perceptions that students have on mindfulness-based interventions in their classroom. The study consisted of two different phases. Phase I consisted of a quantitative study that sought to understand if a minimal-scale mindfulness-based intervention can have an impact on undergraduate students’ self-awareness. The Mindfulness Attention Scale (MAAS) (Brown & Ryan, 2003) was used as a quantitative screening tool. Phase II of the study consisted of a qualitative approach that entailed semi-structured face-to-face interviews. Qualitative data was analyzed through theories of multimodality (Arola, Ball, and Sheppard, 2014; Mills & Exley, 2014; Jewitt, 2013; Shipka, 2011; Chandler, O’Brien, & Unsworth, 2010; Lenters, 2008; Zammit, 2007; Anderson et al., 2006; Self ; 2004) and embodiment (Peary, 2016; Johnson et al., 2015; Arola & Wysocki, 2012; Elbow, 2012; Knoblauch, 2012). This theoretical framework serves as the foundation and lens for analyzing the collected qualitative data. These sub-fields of RWS advocate for, and shed light on, the urgency for developing the learning scope within the traditional classroom. Phase I of the study indicated that UTEP’s FYC students have the same average levels of mindfulness that are on par with other college students. Further, quantitative data suggest that there was no change in students’ awareness throughout the 10-week mindfulness intervention period. Lastly, there was no significant difference in mindfulness scores between the control and treatment groups. However, Phase II of the study suggests that mindfulness-based interventions impact students’ levels of awareness. Further, FYC students are open to learning mindfulness practices in their classrooms. The qualitative data also helped in understanding how mindfulness can function as a an embodied multimodality in the FYC classroom.

Subject Area

Rhetoric|Higher education|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Hutson, Patricia Flores, "Implementing Mindfulness-Based Interventions in the First-Year Composition Classroom as an Embodied Multimodality" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI29207009.