Innovation & Program Development | Adolescent Education | Education Philosophy & Pedagogy | History, & Civics | Saving the Free World
I have presented and designed learning engagements at over 100 conferences, programs, and discussions on a wide variety of topics, including history, civic learning, and pedagogy, student assessment philosophy, the development of school culture. For a full list of my presentations at conferences, professional development programs, and parent education events, please see my Media and Talks page.
“An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking: it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.”-Maria Montessori, Education & Peace
My focus is on creating authentic learning environments, where students find joy in their own rigorous thinking. By incorporating Socratic practice and the history of ideas into threshold-concept learning modules I endeavor to foster an environment of open inquiry and connection. I truly believe that “[the learner] should be able to do things with his hands, with his intelligence.” (Maria Montessori, Third Lecture) and, therefore, heavily incorporates experiential/project-based learning into my pedagogy.
Key Pedagogical Frameworks
I grew up self-educating in the endless stacks of my county library. From an early age, I was frustrated with my education and struggled to find academic motivation for most of my K12 career. Eventually, I found the Great Books program at the Socratic-based St. Johns College and fell in love with learning again. Following that love of learning, and that love has continued to propel me learn about pedagogy and motivation and the works of Maria Montessori. My energy and enthusiasm and deep respect for adolescents led me to develop environments and authentic experiences that pushed them intellectually, socially, and sometimes physically, to discover their capacities and explore the boundaries of their knowledge.
I now take that enthusiasm and passion for human flourishing into all my learning environments. Every course and program is participatory. I deeply understand that my own knowledge and experience is limited and endeavor to access the deep well of experiences of the learners that are part of the environment. Part of this participation includes meta-cognitive feedback sessions that allow for continuous improvement throughout the session and the course, analyzing not only content but the group dynamics as we work to think well together.
This growth and improvement mindset permeates every aspect of my pedagogical outlook and requires that I am constantly innovating, experimenting, and adapting to create the best learning environment for the particular group of students in any course. This means that my syllabus and course design is a framework that adapts to the student interests and needs throughout the discussions and projects. Assessments lean heavily of reflection and self-evaluation supported by rubrics.
Ultimately my goal for every learning engagement is the same: to create a community of learning around a profound idea and explore the transformative potential of that idea with others.