August 4th, 2008

A Brief Statement of My Philosophy of Teaching

By:

I am committed to the liberal arts ideal that education should familiarize students with the intellectual, spiritual, artistic, and scientific traditions that women and men have turned to in order to better understand their lives and their world.

I believe it is important to be curious about and alert to the interrelationships among the various things we study, see, hear, and think about; the lives we lead; the world we live in and; those who share this world with us. Doing so, as openly as possible, enables us to pursue together the questions that are evoked by Socrates’ statement that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

I hope that my classes and interactions with students will serve to help each of us come closer to achieving a personally exciting connection with the kinds of knowledge, skills and habits of the mind that help one to meaningfully and joyfully live the “examined life.”

I share with others the notion that “an educated human being is one who combines skepticism with reverence, who will question everything but the dignity and worth of others” and who recognizes the importance of serving the larger community.

[I have borrowed this quotation as well as some other phrases/ideas from the Sarah Lawrence College catalog, to which I am indebted.]

Thus, I encourage you..

  • to be actively engaged in your learning by bringing to bear on your education your own interests, skills, passions, and potential as keys to your involvement with the subject matter of this course
  • to take both intellectual and creative risks
  • to actively engage with me and the other students in this course to create a classroom environment that promotes respect, meaningful dialogue and trust
  • to keep in mind that what you gain from this course depends on your effort and involvement. As much as I wish for each of you to succeed, my role is necessarily limited to that of facilitator, encourager, guide and cheerleader.

I look forward to our time together.