- The ongoing project that excites me the most is teaching, which I have been doing since 1996. My primary interests are in education, philosophy, and religion. These disciplines frame three essential questions that animate my instruction: How do we learn? What is the meaning of life? and How should I live my life? My overarching aim as a teacher is to challenge students to think carefully about these questions, examining their own, often implicit, answers, as well the answers offered by the larger culture. With that process under way, we then question and examine the ideas and practices proposed by seminal thinkers.
- In terms of scholarship, I am working on a text that makes a case for liberal education as a prophetic stance vis-à-vis a culture of efficiency, hyper-consumption, and a blind love of technology without direction. For insight I draw from a variety of sources that are both mystical and prophetic, including the writings of Emmanuel Levinas, Abraham Heschel, Simone Weil, John Dewey, and T.S. Elliot. Rather than the development of neutral autonomy and maximal freedom, a liberal arts education (especially within the Anabaptist tradition) should be an education for commitment that challenges the status quo, providing a constructive alternative.
- Related to the above project, I continue to find ways to integrate place-based learning into my curriculum. A liberal education for commitment must be engaged with the local community if it hopes to transmit meaningful and enduring civic engagement in students.
Foundations of Education
How do we learn? What is meaningful learning? What constitutes an educative experience? This course introduces aspiring teachers to the major theories and philosophies that inform the dynamics of teaching and learning. Students are challenged to become reflective practitioners, as they begin to articulate their own applied philosophy of education . It includes both campus and field study of learning environments, classroom management and instructional methods that meet the needs of diverse student populations. The course emphasizes race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, family structures, language and exceptionalities from a social justice, critical perspective in light of the historical, philosophical, and social foundations of education.
Introduction to Philosophy
What is the meaning of life? What is knowledge? What is a morally exemplary way to life? What kind of practices are needed to properly balance the intellect, the passions, and the will? More than simply developing sound arguments, philosophy is way of life. Guided by this perspective this course offers an introduction to the major problems of philosophy such as the nature of knowledge and reality, the relation of faith and reason, and moral reasoning. Discussion of the problems is driven by self-examination of each student’s reasoned ideas and the contributions of major philosophers from a variety of traditions.
Middle School Curriculum and Instruction
How do schools transform students? How do they incite curiosity or anesthetize potential learners? Why does the performance of diverse and poor students drop precipitously in the middle grades? How do teachers create and sustain a strong culture of learning, wonder, and achievement? How might teaches enlist local resources into their curriculum? This class includes both campus and field study of learning environments, classroom management, and instructional methods that meet the needs of diverse student populations, particularly as they pertain to 5th – 8th grades. Class sessions emphasize lesson planning, classroom management, multicultural teaching, instructional strategies, and school reform.
How do we learn? What is normal? What is abnormal? How are answers to the previous questions conditioned by culture, and what is culture? What is human nature? What inspires learning and the hunger to learn more? What stamps out that desire? This course examines human developmental theories, learning processes and individual preferences within the classroom. It seeks to shed light on the mystery of learning. It offers theoretical frames that enable teachers appreciate student diversity and regard it as asset. It equips students to identify research-based teaching practices for teaching diverse learners. Observation, hypothesis testing and social scientist techniques are used to develop reflective teachers both in theoretical knowledge and practice in a field placement. Classroom management, motivation, and behavior analysis are emphasized.
Senior Seminar is an intensive three-week seminar immediately following student teaching. It serves three major purposes:
1. Successful completion of all documentation towards state licensure (portfolio and SSTL).
2. Discerning more deeply your call to teach, considering the many possibilities available in the world of teaching.
3. Becoming ready to enter the profession of teaching by developing your interview portfolio and your interview skills.
It focuses on educational philosophy, classroom management and discipline, evaluation, integration of faith and teaching. Includes student projects and presentations, group work, variety of approaches to individual reflection on teaching, and preparation of the licensure and interview portfolio.
Lectures & Presentations
“Boredom, Contemplation, and Liberation,” presentation at the annual meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, Portland, OR, March, 2013.
“Multicultural Encounters: Reading for Transformation vs. Reading for the Gist,” presentation at the annual meeting of the National Association of Multicultural Education, Chicago, IL, November, 2011.
“Reading and Teaching for Edification,” presentation at Calvin College’s Education as Formation: Christian Approaches Conference, Grand Rapids, MI, October, 2011.
“The Art of Conversation: Avoiding Bores, Therapists, and Nietzsche’s Will to Power,” presentation at the Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Conference, Dayton, OH, September, 2011.
“Liberal Education and Reading for Meaning” presentation at the annual meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, San Francisco, CA, March, 2010.
“Spiritual Practices that Sustain the Virtues of Excellent Teaching;” presentation with Prof. Robert Reyes, PhD., at Calvin College’s Teaching, Learning, and Christian Practices Conference, Grand Rapids, MI, October 2009.
“Disability and Our Moral Transformation,” presentation at the Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Conference, Dayton, OH, September, 2009.
“Teacher Dispositions, Multicultural Education, and the Good Life” presentation at Goshen College. Sponsored by the Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning, March, 2009.
“Educating for Faith and Reason,” Response to Jon Fennell at the annual meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, Montreal, Canada, March 20-23, 2009.
“Boredom, Contemplation, and Liberation,” Philosophy of Education Yearbook, (2013).
“Liberal Education and Reading for Meaning,” Philosophy of Education Yearbook, (2010).
“Educating for Faith and Reason” Response to Jon Fennell, Philosophy of Education Yearbook, (2009).
“Kierkegaard and Liberal Education as a Way of Life,” Philosophy of Education Yearbook, (2007).
“Leisure, Freedom, and Liberal Education,” Educational Theory (2006).
Grants & Fellowships
2011 Mininger Research grant from Goshen College
2009-2010 CITL Research Fellows grant from Goshen College
2008-2009 CITL Research Fellows grant from Goshen College
2007 Mininger Research grant from Goshen College
2006 Mininger Research grant from Goshen College
2004-2005 Awarded research sabbatical grant from Loyola Academy
2001 Nominated in the seventh edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Educators
2001 Received a summer Fulbright grant to study the classics in Italy
1999 Loyola Academy Technology Grant Recipient
1997 Awarded Loyola Academy’s O’Donnell Grant to study at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to develop curriculum that integrates art
Memberships & Associations
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society Meeting (2012-2013 program chair; 2007-present; reviewer 2009-2011; session chair 2011)Studies in Philosophy and Education (reviewer 2013)
Philosophy of Education Society (2003-present; session chair 2008; Special Interest Group chair 2009-present;)
American Educational Research Association (2004-2007; reviewer 2006-2007)
North Central Association (2005-2007)
National Association of Multicultural Education (2008, 2011-12)
Leadership of Study Service Term Units
Directed and planned intercultural immersion in Perú for three semesters. Responsibilities included curriculum design, including coordination of study and service field trips throughout Perú, as well as assessment, evaluation students in terms of intercultural awareness and sensitivity.