I am in the process of drafting a new teaching statement, but same philosphy; I figure to rework this a number of times. I have finished 1/3 of it, as noted below. I am adding this to my teaching and research page on my webpage. Thoughts?
My teaching philosophy is shaped by the tenets of Marxism, Pragmatism, and Reconstruction-ism. It was my reading of Cornel West’s and W.E.B. Du Bois’s works as a high school, undergraduate, and graduate student that shaped my sense of intellectual and practical purpose. West’s synthesis of Christianity, Marxism, and pragmatism promulgated my construction of theodicy that finds its premise in the writings and thought processes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and John Dewey. My courses look to inculcate the point of view of the oppressed and alienated class, as it is this class that has traditionally been neglected among the privileged and in the literature of study. I find the teachings of Christ and Marx to be synonymous in that both look to eradicate social vice and poverty, racism and hate, as well as greed and materialism.
Through the teaching of history, it is my objective to first deconstruct a false knowledge of history by teaching students to build a new synthesis that challenges their prior knowledge (parents, minister, etc.). It is at this point in which a teacher and a student work collectively to reconstruct a new historical synthesis. Reconstructionism contends that society is in need of constant reconstruction and change, and such social change involves both a rebuilding of knowledge and how society uses that knowledge to transform the teaching and learning of materialism. Mortimer Adler, who reflects some of the qualities of the realist school of thought, proposed a Paideia method of instruction, which emphasizes a discussion/seminar style of teaching and learning. As opposed to lecture, I find the discussion/seminar method of instruction to be more liberal, hence invoking greater academic freedom of thought. Furthermore, it is here that students focus more on logic, process, synthesis, and analysis over rote memory and conclusion.
I am currently involved in multiple writing projects. The Western History Association recently accepted a paper of mine that examines European actors and their shift from the Atlantic market. This work looks at Eastern European states and the North Atlantic market during the period of the 18th and 19th century. I am set to present my work at the WHA’s annual conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Also, I am engaged in a long term research and writing project that looks historically at race and independent schools. The United States witnessed one of its greatest historical increases in private day schools between 1950 and 1980. Much of this increase is credited to the rise of Supreme Court rulings on matters such as religion, de jure segregation, and abortion. Unlike other historians who look at political policy and de facto segregation in explaining the rise of religious Christian schools and nonsectarian independent schools, I am reviewing their work to explain demographic developments of schools and communities while my work concentrates more on the historical experience of black students in private schools. I must address this question: How do I narrow the scope and focus of a goal that is not too broad…but one that can be geographically extensive? I will continue to look at three categories of schools: 1.) Christian schools that emerged after 1954. 2.) Nonsectarian independent schools. 3.) Boarding Schools. I am also writing a book review that compares David Lewis’ conclusion of Du Bois to Edward Blum’s American Prophet.
This summer I am presenting a week long Advanced Topics European History seminar at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth. After this event, I will prepare to deliver a lecture at the National Conference of Social Studies (NCSS) conference that will be held in Houston, Texas during the month of November.