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41. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 1
Paul Green How to Motivate Students: A Primer for Learner-Centered Teachers
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Learner-centered pedagogy defines successful teaching in terms of student learning—and a necessary condition of learning is the motivation to learn. The purpose of this paper is to provide learner-centered teachers with the basic information they need in order to be able to successfully motivate their students. In particular, I focus on three beliefs that are important to students’ motivation to learn: (1) beliefs about the subjective value of the learning goals; (2) beliefs about their ability to achieve these goals; (3) beliefs about how well their learning environment supports their learning. I provide concrete suggestions about how we can strengthen these beliefs to increase student motivation. One important implication of the relevant research is that the traditional motivator—the desire for good grades—can be relatively ineffective and, in fact, counterproductive.
42. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 1
Kristin Schaupp Trading in Values: Disagreement and Rationality in Teaching
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Should we teach from a value-neutral position or should we disclose our positions when in the classroom? How should we approach disciplinary values, commitments, and procedures? Recent work in the epistemology of disagreement could have a profound impact on our response to these questions. While some contemporary epistemologists argue that it is possible to have rational disagreement between epistemic peers (Kelly, van Inwagen), many argue that such disagreement is indicative of a lack of rationality for one or both parties (Kornblith, Feldman, Christensen, Elga). Yet, if there is something inherently irrational about peer disagreement—even amongst philosophers, then our pedagogical approaches will need to undergo significant revision.
43. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 1
Frances Bottenberg Power-Sharing in the Philosophy Classroom: Prospects and Pitfalls
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Many of our students learn to approach their college education as yet another system of external control that places authority and decision-making power in the hands of others. This attitude carries consequences for young people’s growth as independent learners, critical thinkers, and participants in democratic community, which in turn has repercussions on personal, professional and political agency. One of the chief benefits to power-sharing in the philosophy classroom is that it disrupts students’ sense of passive complicity in their own schooling. However, as I explore in this essay, there are many ways we can fail as instructors to create deeply engaging scenarios in our classrooms, not least in part because our methods and manner can unintentionally and subtly continue to encourage student passivity. Drawing on insights emerging from my own experience with classroom power-sharing, in this essay I will both examine the value of classroom power-sharing activities as well as offer ideas for implementing them responsively and effectively in a standard college setting, with particular emphasis on the philosophy classroom.
44. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 1
Christine Wieseler Thinking Critically about Disability in Biomedical Ethics Courses
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Several studies have shown that nondisabled people—especially healthcare professionals—tend to judge the quality of life of disabled people to be much lower than disabled people themselves report. In part, this is due to dominant narratives about disability. Teachers of biomedical ethics courses have the opportunity to help students to think critically about disability. This may involve interrogating our own assumptions, given the pervasiveness of ableism. This article is intended to facilitate reflection on narratives about disability. After discussing two readings that illustrate the medical and social models of disability, I share my own approach to teaching on disability in my biomedical ethics course. I include student responses to the readings and ways that they report their thinking about disability changed through engagement with the medical and social models.
45. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 1
Christina Hendricks Teaching and Learning Philosophy in the Open
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Many teachers appreciate discussing teaching and learning with others, and participating in a community of others who are also excited about pedagogy. Many philosophy teachers find meetings such as the biannual AAPT workshop extremely valuable for this reason. But in between face-to-face meetings such as those, we can still participate in a community of teachers and learners, and even expand its borders quite widely, by engaging in activities under the general rubric of “open education.” Open education can mean many things, from sharing one’s teaching materials openly with others, to using and revising those created by others, to asking students to create open educational materials, and more. In this article I discuss the benefits and possible drawbacks of such activities, and I argue that the former outweigh the latter.
46. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 1
Theodore Bach Going Live: On the Value of a Newspaper-Centered Philosophy Seminar
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For the last several years I have made the daily newspaper the pedagogical center piece of my philosophy seminar. This essay begins by describing the variations, themes, and logistics of this approach. The essay then offers several arguments in support of the value of this approach. The first argument references measurable indicators of success. A second argument contends that by “going live” with philosophical concepts, the newspaper-centered approach is uniquely well-positioned to motivate and excite the philosophy student. A third argument claims that the newspaper-centered approach is well-positioned to construct an individualized bridge between the student and the world of philosophy.
47. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 1
Andrew M. Winters Some Benefits of Getting It Wrong: Guided Unsuccessful Retrievals and Long-Term Understanding
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What might be called the “common approach” to teaching incorporates traditional retrieval exercises, such as tests and quizzes, as tools for evaluating retention. Given our course goals, many educators would recognize that the emphasis on retention is problematic. In addition to understanding information in the short-term, long-term understanding is also desirable. In this paper, I advocate for a new use of quizzes in philosophy courses that is intentionally designed to enhance long-term understanding of course material as well as to develop skills that are applicable outside academic settings. These skills include learning to confront problems that do not have obvious solutions and revise beliefs in light of new information. I will specifically consider three iterations involved in developing this method.
48. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 1
Monique Whitaker Updating Syllabi, Reimagining Assignments, and Embracing Error: Strategies for Retaining Marginalized Students in Philosophy
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One of the significant problems for philosophy’s development into a more diverse discipline is the familiar sharp reduction in the proportion of women and students of color after initial, introductory-level courses. This contributes to a lack in the breadth of perspective and experience that both upper-level students and faculty bring to philosophy, which in turn undermines the strength of the discipline as a whole. Much of the transformation of philosophy must necessarily happen at the departmental, and even university, level; but there are, nonetheless, a number of strategies available to individual teachers of philosophy to help to retain marginalized students—from the composition of course syllabi and assignment choices, to increased awareness of challenges within the discipline to students’ success and embracing error as a learning tool. This variety of pedagogical tools provides a means to help to make philosophy more broadly inclusive.
49. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 1
Paul G. Neiman, Linda V. Neiman Engaging Students in Philosophy Texts
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One of the most common and frustrating experiences for philosophy instructors is teaching students who have not read the assigned text prior to coming to class. This chapter proposes three specific strategies, supported by the literature on student learning, that encourages and enables students to read and understand assigned texts. Each strategy activates students’ prior knowledge, sets a purpose to read and uses novelty to engage students’ attention. Evidence from experience with these strategies is provided to further support their effectiveness. The chapter concludes with examples of how strategies can be presented to students and templates that instructors can use to create their own strategies for use in any class or assigned text.
50. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 1
Daryl Close Teaching the PARC System of Natural Deduction
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PARC is an "appended numeral" system of natural deduction that I learned as an undergraduate and have taught for many years. Despite its considerable pedagogical strengths, PARC appears to have never been published. The system features explicit "tracking" of premises and assumptions throughout a derivation, the collapsing of indirect proofs into conditional proofs, and a very simple set of quantificational rules without the long list of exceptions that bedevil students learning existential instantiation and universal generalization. The system can be used with any Copi-style set of inference rules, so it is quite adaptable to many mainstream symbolic logic textbooks. Consequently, PARC may be especially attractive to logic teachers who find Jaskowski/Gentzen-style introduction/elimination rules to be far less "natural" than Copi-style rules. The PARC system is also keyboard-friendly in comparison to the widely adopted Jaskowski-style graphical subproof system of natural deduction, viz., Fitch diagrams and Copi "bent arrow" diagrams.
51. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
J. Robert Loftis, Andrew P. Mills Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Teaching Plato
52. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Notes on Contributors
53. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
J. Robert Loftis Introduction
54. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Robert Colter, Joseph Ulatowski Social Dexterity in Inquiry and Argumentation: An Apologia of Socrates
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While Euthyphro and Apology are widely taught, they do not offer a complete picture of the variety of ways in which Socrates interacts with his interlocutors in Plato’s dialogues. Perhaps the most important point we wish to bring home is that most, if not all, of Socrates’ discussions are carefully calibrated according to a certain social awareness. Through careful analysis of sections of the dialogues, we argue that aspects of discussions between Socrates and his interlocutors should serve as lessons for students and instructors. Students should see that learning to philosophize is a matter of skill development, Instructors should see that one ought to be cognizant of students’ abilities, as well as other relevant information. The upshot of paying attention to Socrates’ interactions is to augment instructors’ and students’ understanding, facilitating the cultivation and development of philosophical skills.
55. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Audrey L. Anton Teaching Plato’s Cave through Your Students’ Past Experiences
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Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is both a staple in the philosopher’s diet and the lesson that is often difficult to digest. In this paper, I describe one way to teach the Sun, Line, and Cave analogies in reference to students’ personal past experiences. After first learning about Plato’s metaphysics and epistemology through reading Republic VI-VII, students are asked to reflect upon a time in their lives when they emerged from a particular “cave of ignorance.” In reflecting on this experience, students are encouraged to consider how each aspect of the line analogy might be represented in their own experience. Students also consider the epistemological experience turning towards that which is more real. In so doing, students gain a deeper understanding of these lessons by connecting new, abstract, and difficult information (Plato’s Theory of Forms) to information that is so familiar, it is remembered and not merely imagined. Putting Plato’s theories into the context of their own learning experiences facilitates students’ comprehension of the different levels of being and cognition, their interrelation, and the psychological process of increasing understanding.
56. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Glenn Rawson Critical Thinking in Higher Education, and Following the Arguments with Plato's Socrates
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In spite of his reputations as an impractical skeptic or dogmatic idealist, Plato’s Socrates is often an impressive example of a critical thinker, and we can use Plato’s dialogues to promote such skills in the college classroom. This essay summarizes recent institutional motivations for promoting critical thinking in a student-centered, active-learning pedagogy; compares Plato’s core model of education and fundamental rationale for it; shares an essay–presentation–discussion assignment that serves those modern and ancient goals; and discusses how this flexible type of assignment is especially well suited for Plato’s dialogues, serving students and teachers in a Socratic manner. The first two sections thus situate Plato’s dialogues in relation to the heart of critical thinking in higher education generally. The later sections and Appendix explain a way to “follow the arguments” with Socrates that’s informed both by recent best practices and by much of what we see in Plato’s dialogues.
57. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Carla A. H. Johnson Finding Philosophy in Plato’s Apology
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Students in introductory philosophy courses bring with them varied preconceptions about philosophy and its place in their education and their lives. Rather than assuming we all agree on what it is we are doing when we do philosophy, it can be effective to problematize the discussion from the start. Plato’s Apology of Socrates is a useful tool for this. While interpreted by some philosophers as not particularly philosophical, recent approaches by Sellars and Peterson suggest that the Apology is rich with philosophy. Here Plato’s Socrates reveals much about himself and his own understanding of the love of wisdom. By engaging in a process of mutual disclosure and active discovery of what matters to Socrates, we give students an excellent opportunity to find philosophy for themselves. As a result, students not only retain an understanding of key themes from Plato but also develop skills and attitudes well-suited to life-long philosophical engagement.
58. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Patrick Lee Miller Leaving Plato’s Cave
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In Republic, Plato presents a pedagogy whose crucial component is the conversion of the student’s soul. This is clearest in the Allegory of the Cave, where the prisoner (the student) begins her liberation (her education) by turning herself away from the images on the wall. Conversion is not something we professors typically seek to provoke in a philosophy course, even when we teach Plato. But if this were our goal, what could we do to achieve it within the limits of the modern university? I present one such effort, a paper that uses the Allegory to focus on two questions: who are you (your self), and how did you become that way (your education)? After presenting both the prompt and its rationale, I summarize six student submissions and discuss how I evaluated them. I conclude by considering the risks and possibilities of addressing the whole soul and not simply the intellect.
59. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
José A. Haro Teaching the Trial and Death of Socrates
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This paper discusses an assignment used to teach the trial and death of Socrates that asks each student to give a tour for someone of personal significance (a partner, family member, friend, loved one, etc.) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to view and discuss two pieces of art about Socrates. The overall aim of the task is for the students to engage the texts and conceptual material and emulate philosophical practice outside of class and in public. The paper focuses on preparing the students to partake in such an endeavor, laying out a historically contextual approach to the study of Socrates, the varied texts that are used, as well as the general pedagogical framework employed. More importantly, the paper explores how one might adapt the assignment to their particular classroom.
60. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Robin Weiss Definitions vs. Ideals: Beyond the Standard Interpretation of the Forms
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Traditional pedagogical approaches to the Platonic forms pose problems that can be best addressed by presenting students two rival interpretations: one that understands the forms in terms of definitions, and another in terms of ideals. The second, if not the first interpretation, models, for students of even a relativistic stripe, how one can conceive the existence of thought-objects about which no consensus exists. It also serves to illustrate how knowledge of such thought-objects may be attained nonetheless. This approach is to be preferred, therefore, to traditional approaches that tend to reinforce, rather than counteract, relativism in students.