I regard my teaching as a process of exploration and as an attempt to confirm the wisdom of Winnie the Pooh when he asks Piglet in the Tao of Pooh "‘But isn’t the Knowledge that comes from experience more valuable than the knowledge that doesn’t?’ It seems fairly obvious to some of us that a lot of scholars need to go outside and sniff around-walk through the grass, talk to the animals, that sort of thing” (Hoff, 1982, p. 29). I have spent a number of years trying to heed Pooh’s advice to engage in experiential forms of knowledge acquisition through reading, writing, researching, serving on boards of professional associations, teaching, learning, and guiding wilderness trips. I have begun to form a conclusion that Pooh was right, in part. The learning that comes from experience is valuable. But education and learning do not always result from experience alone. John Dewey (1938) argues that the ultimate goal of education is to create an experiential continuum where the process of education, that is how a student learns, and the content of education receive equal footing. Learning combines books, lectures, reading, writing, and experience as components of the learning process. Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning model begins with concrete experience but includes observation and reflection, the formation of concepts, and the application of these concepts. These beliefs lie at the heart of experiential education theory and my teaching praxis.
I intentionally engage students (by invitation and with their permission) to explore a counter-hegemonic teaching and learning praxis that attempts to put into practice Freire’s (1970) liberatory pedagogy (e.g. engaging students in hegemony treasure hunts that encourage them to explore the ways in which hegemony influences curriculum). I attempt to develop students’ critical thinking skills and encourage them to consider the ways in which pedagogy can be a praxis of resistance against the more "traditional” banking model of education whereby students exist as open repositories to whatever knowledge the educator deposits on any given day (Freire). As a result, I believe that I encourage students to explore the potential for post-secondary learning to be engaging, liberating, intellectually rigorous, and focused on both educational theory and practice.
I impel students (and myself) to "live with/in” and explore the world that is while working toward a vision for a just world that ought to be or could be through transformative engagements.
If you would like more detailed information about my teaching activities, including talks and lectures I've been invited to give, please view my full CV.
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