Volume 39, Issue 1, March 2016
Karen L. Hornsby
The Pedagogical Imperative
Achieving Areté in Philosophy Graduate Programs
This article is a commentary response to the study results outlined in “The State of Teacher Training in Philosophy.” In recognition of the study’s determination that 70 percent of the jobs new philosophers will apply for are non-tenure track, our graduate programs must provide training in teaching excellence and the fostering of student learning, or what I call pedagogical areté. I will argue that achieving this teaching excellence requires 1) Familiarity with cognitive neuroscience advancements on how people learn, 2) Knowledge of today’s college students, and 3) Practiced methods for scaffolding and assessment of student learning. My claim is that pedagogic excellence is both a role-related moral obligation and a duty we owe to society—what Lee Shulman characterizes as the pedagogical imperative. This increased focus on pedagogical proficiency creates an opportunity for philosophy to establish and solidify its disciplinary value.