Doritos and Discipline


I still recall a conversation I had early in my student-teaching career. My supervisor and I were talking about a recent class that had gone pretty well, although I had been dealing with some boisterousness in my classes. (Typical first-year teacher things, and typical 9th grade things.) I asked her if she had any ideas for classroom management, and she replied in her typically straightforward way, “Yes. Teach better.” Continue reading

Questioning Questioning


Socrates, from Raphael’s “School of Athens”

Recently, I was talking to a friend (and fellow blogger) who teaches Physics. In the course of our conversation after I observed her (inspiring) class, she said to me, “I never ask students a question they don’t have the tools to answer.” This statement gave me some pause. I thought to myself – only half in jest – I never ask my students a question they are able to answer.

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Three Tough Things

From Deborah Meier’s The Power of Their Ideas (cited in Vilardi and Chang, Writing-Based Teaching):

“For the kinds of changes necessary to transform American education, the work force of teachers must do three tough things more or less at once: change the way they view learning itself, develop new habits of mind to go with their cognitive understanding, and simultaneously develop new habits of work — habits that are collegial and public in nature, not solo and private, as has been the custom in teaching.”

Final Projects: The Perils and the Potential


Buddhist meditation in religious and secular contexts. The iconography of the Bodhisattva of Compassion in Nepal, Tibet, and China. An analysis of Hindu art and allusion on M.I.A.’s new album. A creative art triptych about students’ views of religion. A comparison of Mallik’s “The Tree of Life” and Prince Siddhartha’s story, with some help from Joseph Campbell. An exploration of race and identity in contemporary Buddhist practice.

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The Taught Curriculum and the Learned Curriculum

The distinction between the taught and the learned curriculum – something I was first introduced to at the Klingenstein Summer Institute – has been one of the more valuable ones for reflecting on my own pedagogy and teaching. In brief, this idea points to the difference between the taught curriculum – the words, ideas, themes, images, etc. that come out of the educator’s mouth – and the learned curriculum – the words, ideas, themes, images etc. that make it into the students’ minds and memories. Each time I reflect on this distinction, I find myself newly humble in the face of the challenging endeavor of teaching and learning.  Continue reading