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1. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 4
Andrew M. Winters Experiential Learning Within and Without Philosophy
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Philosophy has made substantive contributions to education, going at least as far back as to well-known figures such as Plato and Aristotle. Along with disciplines like psychology and sociology, philosophy has helped shape some of the core features of experiential learning. The central aim of the present introduction is to illustrate how developments in experiential learning are the result of contributions from both within and without philosophy. Some secondary goals include discussing the historical and contemporary developments in experiential learning as a way of framing the essays that make up this special issue.
2. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 4
Derek McAllister Aporia as Pedagogical Technique
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In this essay, I muse upon aporia’s value as a pedagogical technique in the philosophy classroom using as a guide examples of aporia that are found in Plato’s Socratic dialogues. The word aporia, translated as “without passage” or “without a way,” is used metaphorically to describe the unsettling state of confusion many find themselves in after engaging in philosophical discourse. Following a brief introduction in which I situate aporia as a pedagogy amicable to experiential learning, I examine various ways in which aporia appears in certain Platonic dialogues, which enables us to draw out some paradigmatic features of aporia. I then discuss how I apply aporia as a pedagogical technique in the contemporary philosophy classroom, taking up three specific concerns in detail: aporetic discomfort, right use, and potential misuse.
3. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 4
Jonathan A. Buttaci Aristotle on Learning How to Learn: Geometry as a Model for Philosophical Inquiry
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I consider a more generic goal teachers have for students in addition to learning some determinate content: that they learn how to learn anything whatsoever. To explain this process, I draw on two insights from Aristotle’s account of learning: first, that in every case students learn by doing the very things they are learning to do; and second, that it is possible to achieve a general educatedness whereby someone can make intelligent judgments and intellectual progress even in previously unfamiliar subject areas. In both cases, Aristotle’s account of the teacher as thinking-facilitator rather than knowledge-infuser is illuminating. This connects with recent literature on Experiential Learning. Having developed this broadly Aristotelian account of learning how to learn I offer some concrete strategies for putting the theory into practice in the philosophy classroom. These strategies include targeted reading guidance and mystery text assignments, both of which develop incrementally throughout the course.
4. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 4
Sean Blenkinsop, Chris Beeman The Experienced Idea: Using Experiential Approaches to Teach Philosophical Concepts
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The central focus of this article is to share several experiential activities we have designed in our teaching careers that we use to help education students, primarily undergraduates and teacher candidates, access philosophical ideas and enter philosophical discussions. The examples shared below come from our attempts to help students reach key concepts and abstract ideas in some well-known educational philosophical discussions, through engaging in experiences relating to them. They are based on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, John Dewey’s scientific method, and Martin Buber’s philosophy of dialogue. The focus for this article is not so much on the specific content or philosophical interpretation of these works but instead on the activities themselves as a means towards better understanding the concept of experiential learning itself. The three examples we present serve to show ways in which well-designed and thoroughly-considered experiences can serve as a bridge to difficult and abstract material while also honoring a more expansive range of learning styles.
5. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 4
Julie Loveland Swanstrom Embedding Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in a Philosophy Course
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I explore methods for the explicit instruction of critical thinking in a topics-based philosophy course (topically or historically organized courses designated neither as Critical Thinking nor Logic). These methods make the classroom more experiential and less didactic and involve students in the philosophical process, allowing them to learn content while using the methods of philosophy to work through, explain, or produce similar content. Experiential learning—approaching learning as a “continuous process grounded in experience” involving the acquisition of practices, the specialization in those practices, and the integration of oneself into the learning process—enhances traditional philosophy classrooms, and explicitly teaching critical thinking skills involves the methods of experiential learning. After an overview of relevant aspects of experiential learning and addressing how experiential learning methods can be used for the explicit teaching of critical thinking skills, I explain four methods I use to explicitly teach critical thinking in my introductory classes.
6. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 4
Lisa Cassidy Nine Ideas for Including a Civic Engagement Theme in an Informal Logic Course
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A class in informal logic can be an opportunity to do more than just cover the basic material of the subject (such as fallacies, induction, and deduction). Critical Thinking can also foster civic engagement as experiential learning—in the course’s readings, assignments, in-class activities and discussions, and tests. I favor an inclusive understanding of civic engagement: the course theme is engaging (from the French, pledging with) with the concerns of the civis (Latin for the citizenry). The argument made throughout here is that the civic engagement theme is a way of doing experiential learning in informal logic. I offer nine ideas for instructors here, which could be adopted wholesale or piecemeal, including how to do CSI (that’s Civic Scene Investigation).
7. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 4
Craig Derksen Reflections on Teaching Applied Environmental Ethics in a Philosophy Course
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I designed and executed an environmental ethics course intended to provide a useful product to a municipal partner. In teaching the course I had an opportunity to get concrete experience in experiential teaching. I share my experiences with being a philosopher in an applied program and tie it to the models of experiential learning. My experience indicates that the important work is not the abstract conceptualization or the concrete experience, but the bridging between them.
8. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 4
Jessey Wright Playing Games and Learning from Shared Experiences
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One way for an experience to provide an effective scaffold for learning is when the concepts and theories it is intended to help students grasp and understand can be used to productively analyze, make sense of, and discuss the experience itself. In this essay I propose that games and game mechanics can be used to create learning experiences amenable to this kind of scaffold.
9. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 4
Lee Beavington, Jesse Jewell GPS Ecocache: Connecting Learners to Experience and Place
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The Global Positioning System (GPS) has been used as an experiential educational tool for nearly twenty years. Innovative educators have expanded the educational use of GPS devices beyond the geocache. This essay uses Leopold’s land ethic as a philosophical framework for relational education, and outlines the practical application of the GPS ecocache. The experiential, place-based ecocache has learners navigate to sites of ecological significance (e.g., plants, animals, landforms), where they must answer a question or riddle related to this site. We discuss the contradictory nature of using a gadget to connect with the outdoors, and integrate the GPS ecocache with Kolb’s model of experiential education. Ultimately, we hope to cultivate the values of Leopold’s land ethic through the use of a ubiquitously available device, and for learners to engage in relational pedagogy relevant to ecology, geography, environmental ethics, philosophy of science, philosophy of education and other courses concerned with human-nature connection and the nature of space.
10. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 4
Andrew M. Winters Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Experiential Learning and Education
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11. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 4
Notes on Contributors
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12. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Kelly A. Burns Teaching Inclusively: An Overview
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13. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Caroline Christoff Beyond Providing Accommodations: How to be an Effective Instructor and Ally to Students with Learning Disabilities
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In this essay, I provide some insights on how to instruct students with learning disabilities. The first half of this essay deals with the theoretical issue of equal opportunity. I begin by examining the question of access and consider the various ways philosophy remains inaccessible to students with learning disabilities. Then, I use the legal definition of accommodation to argue that it is possible to make philosophy courses accessible to students with learning disabilities without fundamentally altering the nature of these courses. Finally, I point out several reasons for preferring the accessibility model of equal opportunity in education over the accommodation model. The second half of this essay proceeds to highlight several pedagogical practices an instructor can employ to create an inclusive college-level philosophy course under the accessibility model. Specifically, I provide recommendations for how to write effective accessibility statements, develop inclusive course design, ensure equal assessment opportunities, utilize technology in the classroom, and maintain strong academic relationships between instructors and students.
14. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Carmen Adel, Joseph Ulatowski Breaking the Language Barrier: Using Translations for Teaching Introductory Philosophy
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Some students who possess the same cognitive skill set as their counterparts but who neither speak nor write English fluently have to contend with an unnecessary barrier to academic success. While an administrative top-down approach has been in progress for many years to address this issue, enhancement of student performance begins in the classroom. Thus, we argue that instructors ought to implement a more organic bottom-up approach. If it is possible for instructors to make class content available in other languages, such as Spanish, without thereby compromising something of comparable pedagogical value, then they ought to do so. In fact, we provide here Anselm’s Ontological Argument rendered in Spanish to show how, when translated, it provides native Spanish speakers with greater accessibility to difficult material. Then, we consider the possible beneficial implications of doing so for university students.
15. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Kristin Schaupp Diotima and the Inclusive Classroom
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Despite a growing awareness that the philosophical canon consists almost exclusively of white male philosophers, it can be tempting to ignore the problem—especially for those who lack either the time or the expertise to fix it. Yet philosophical practice regularly requires us to raise questions and acknowledge issues even when we lack solutions. Engaging students in a discussion about dismissive or exclusionary comments that they notice (or ought to have noticed) in the reading is a good place to start; it provides insight into the origins of the problem and acknowledges its wide-reaching impact. For example, analyzing an editorial comment about Diotima during a class on Plato’s Symposium allows us to recognize and reconsider our assumptions about the impact of women on philosophy, a reflection that becomes even more salient when we realize that neither Plato nor the Socrates depicted in his dialogues seem to find anything ridiculous about the suggestion that the theory stems from a woman. This easy intervention provides us with a blueprint for envisioning similar responses in other courses.
16. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Cathleen Muller Journaling and Pre-Theoretical Discussion as Inclusive Pedagogy
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When one thinks about inclusive pedagogy, it is tempting to focus solely on adding more diverse voices to one’s syllabus. While this technique is valuable and important, one can also promote inclusivity by encouraging and supporting the diverse voices of one’s own students. In this paper, I argue that two practices—low-stakes journal assignments and the pre-theoretical discussion of student thoughts about a topic before any readings have been assigned—promote inclusivity by encouraging and supporting a wide range of perspectives in the classroom, because such methods foster the students’ individual voices, experiences, and beliefs and demonstrate that they are valued and respected.
17. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Ruthanne Crapo, Matthew Palombo Postcolonial Pedagogy and the Art of Oral Dialogues
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This paper explores postcolonial pedagogy and the use of oral dialogues as a way to assess college students and cultivate intellectual virtues in philosophy courses. The authors apply the theories of postcolonialism, particularly the emerging work of “poor theory,” to affirm the academic validity of oral dialogues and subaltern philosophy for a pedagogical framework of equity that goes beyond inclusion. Oral dialogues utilize an epistemology of the body in contexts of scarcity to increase student success and retention. The authors offer two case studies that exemplify the promise and complications of oral dialogues. The paper does not argue for the replacement of written philosophical work, but rather, draws attention to the symbiotic relationship between oral and written philosophy.
18. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Patrick Clipsham Using Small-Group Discussion Activities to Create a More Inclusive Classroom
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This paper is meant to engage with philosophy teachers who are interested in creating a more inclusive environment by using small group discussion exercises. I begin this paper by describing the connections between the inclusive classroom and the collaborative classroom. I then articulate two learning goals that group discussion exercises can help students accomplish and define these learning goals as philosophical discovery and philosophical creation. Finally, I discuss a number of activities that encourage students to accomplish these learning goals in small groups and describe how the incorporation of these exercises has affected the inclusivity of my own classes.
19. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Sarah K. Donovan Challenging Privilege in Community-Based Learning and in the Philosophy Classroom
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Community-based learning is one way to bring discussions about diversity and inclusion into the philosophy classroom, but it can have unintended, negative consequences if it is not carefully planned. This article is divided into four sections that utilize courses and projects in which I have participated, as both co-architect and instructor, to discuss potential negative outcomes and how to avoid them. The first section introduces the projects and courses. The second section discusses practices that nurture positive relationships between institutions of higher education and communities, and pedagogical strategies to prevent reinforcing negative student perceptions about vulnerable communities. The third section discusses how curricular and pedagogical choices can challenge privilege and power both in the classroom and community experience. The final section focuses on what to do when a student resists the learning experience. I conclude with a brief reflection about the community side of this partnership.
20. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Danielle Lake, Hannah Swanson, Paula Collier Dialogue, Integration, and Action: Empowering Students, Empowering Community
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Hoping to expand upon public philosophy endeavors within higher education, the following captures the story behind the course Dialogue, Integration, and Action. The course has yielded a number of innovative pedagogical tools and engagement strategies likely to be of value to philosophy instructors seeking to explore a more participatory, experiential educational approach. As a transdisciplinary, community-engaged philosophy class, it engages students in the theories and practices of deliberative democracy and activism, encouraging the development of dialogic skills for their personal, professional, and civic lives. By documenting the community-instructor-student collaborative design of the university course; the feminist pragmatist philosophic commitments underlying its design; the community-led and student-facilitated dialogue and the subsequent public report, as well as the impact of this work on the students, the community partner, and the instructor, the article highlights the benefits and the challenges of undergraduate philosophic engagement that emerges from and responds to place-based needs.