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1. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 5
David W. Concepción From Research to Learning: Introduction
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2. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 5
Gwen Daugs Rancière and Pedagogy: Knowledge, Learning, and the Problem of Distraction
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In this essay, I analyze the pedagogical system contained within Jacques Rancière’s , paying special attention to the conceptions of knowledge and learning that follow from the presupposition of the equality of intelligence between teachers and students. From this, I show how the Rancièrian pedagogical system introduces the problem of distraction and suggest that the phenomenon of distraction in learning presents a problem for emancipatory teachers. I conclude by considering the role that pleasure plays in learning and suggest that cultivating pleasure minimizes the problem of distraction.
3. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 5
Juli K. Thorson Drawing for Understanding, Insight, and Discovery
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The literature on drawing provides a justification for using drawing in the teaching of philosophy. The aim of the essay is to show how drawing as a pedagogy, though unusual in philosophy, fulfills high-quality teaching desiderata: make it personal, go beyond the text, allow students to show and explain their work, and unify the work of the course. I explain these four desiderata and how students complete drawing exercises to develop understanding, generate insights, and make philosophic discoveries. I begin by explaining and justifying the pedagogical desiderata. I discuss the literature on drawing-to-learn and concept mapping and apply its insights to teaching philosophy. Finally, I describe my exercises on color theory, two-point perspective exercises, my modifications to concept mapping, and the use of summative drawings.
4. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 5
Russell Marcus Scaffolding for Fine Philosophical Skills
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Philosophy students often struggle to master the complex skills needed to succeed in their work, especially in writing thesis-driven essays. Research over the past forty years on instructional scaffolding, both generally and as applied in philosophy, has helped teachers to refine both instruction and assignment design to improve students’ performance on complex philosophical tasks. This essay reviews the fundamentals of scaffolding in order to motivate and support some innovative in-class exercises and writing assignments that can help students develop even finer-grained skills. These skills are useful both intrinsically and for their transfer to longer-form essays, to other philosophical work, and to the general academic and intellectual development of our students.
5. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 5
Andrew P. Mills Letting Students Choose: Investigating the Menu Approach to Graded Work
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Traditionally, students have no choice over which assignments they must submit to receive the grade they desire in a course. An alternative “menu approach” (developed by Maryellen Weimer in 2002) provides students with a list of possible assignments and lets them select which to submit. This approach is demonstrated to increase student engagement with course material, motivate students to engage in creative work, and allow students to choose assignments that allow them to best demonstrate their learning. Student reaction is mixed: some like the choice but others are stressed and overwhelmed by it. This may result from the increased responsibility they must shoulder under the Menu Approach. Some questions remain about the link between increased engagement and student learning, questions that may form the basis for future research on the Menu Approach.
6. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 5
J. Robert Loftis Beyond Information Recall: Sophisticated Multiple-Choice Questions in Philosophy
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Multiple-choice questions have an undeserved reputation for only being able to test student recall of basic facts. In fact, well-crafted mechanically gradable questions can measure very sophisticated cognitive skills, including those engaged at the highest level of Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy of outcomes. In this article, I argue that multiple-choice questions should be a part of the diversified assessment portfolio for most philosophy courses. I present three arguments broadly related to fairness. First, multiple-choice questions allow one to consolidate subjective decision making in a way that makes it easier to manage. Second, multiple-choice questions contribute to the diversity of an evaluation portfolio by balancing out problems with writing-based assessments. Third, by increasing the diversity of evaluations, multiple-choice questions increase the inclusiveness of the course. In the course of this argument, I provide examples of multiple-choice questions that measure sophisticated learning and advice for how to write good multiple-choice questions.
7. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 5
Maralee Harrell Developing Engineering Students’ Moral Reasoning Skills Using Problem-Based Learning
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Problem-Based Learning has become an increasingly popular instructional method for a variety of disciplines at all levels. Many studies and meta-analyses of these studies have shown the efficacy of this method for developing knowledge and skills. I adopted this method for teaching Engineering Ethics at Carnegie Mellon University, which has as its main course objectives the development of moral reasoning skills, as well as collaboration and communication skills, with special attention given to ethical dilemmas that may arise in the normal course of an engineer’s professional career. In the most recent iteration of the course, I used the Engineering and Science Issues Test as a pretest and posttest to test the development of my students’ moral reasoning skills over the course of the semester. Based on the results of these tests, I argue that the students in my Engineering Ethics course did in fact significantly develop their moral reasoning skills.
8. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 5
Julie Walsh, Sara M. Fulmer, Sarah Pociask Cross-Year Peer Mentorship in Introductory Philosophy Classes: The Home Base Mentoring Program
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Philosophical writing is challenging for students new to philosophy. Many philosophy classes are populated, for the most part, by students who have never taken philosophy before. While many institutions offer general writing support services, these services tend to be most beneficial for helping to identify problems with style and grammar. They are not equipped to help students with the particular challenges that come with writing philosophy for the first time. We implemented the Home Base Mentoring Program in two introductory-level philosophy courses to target the specific challenges that novice learners have when learning how to write philosophy. Through the program, students had access to writing mentors who were undergraduate senior philosophy majors. Based on surveys given to the students who have participated in this program, we found that the program boosted student confidence in writing and also worked to develop a welcoming, judgment-free, and encouraging environment in the philosophy department more generally.
9. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 5
Helen Meskhidze, Claire A. Lockard, Stephen Bloch-Schulman An Invitation to Scholarly Teaching: Some Annotations on the Scholarship of Teaching and (Especially) Learning for Philosophers
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10. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 5
Notes on Contributors
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11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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).
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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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