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Why Do Professors Teach the Way They Do? How do I Teach a College Course?

Updated on July 8, 2012

Exploring the World


Introduction and Information

I recently posted a Hub about an Essay Study Guide to be used with the film Three Kings in an upper level college history course. I show the film during the final week of a 15 week course entitled, “War and Society.” The course examines a number of wars which took place around the world during the twentieth century. I had previously posted two Hubs about Essay Study Guides and about how I use other films in my classes.

Note: There are no free rides in my courses. The pleasure and privilege of watching a good film in class comes with the effort and responsibility of producing a well written, analytical essay. Most of my students find this to be a fair exchange. If they don’t, they simply don’t take additional courses with me and gravitate toward the courses offered by the four other historians at Reinhardt University.

Wandering the Halls of Academia


Portfolios and Teaching Philosophies

Shortly after posting the Hub, I received a lengthy, thoughtful, and gratifying response from one of our newer Hubbers. (It is well worth reading…you might want to check it out.) He posed an excellent question.

Answering his question encouraged me to think once again about my “Teaching Philosophy.” What is a formal Teaching Philosophy and why do I have to have one? When professors are ready to apply for promotion, we have to complete a Portfolio, an assessment of all our work for the previous 4 to 7 years.

The Portfolio , is then reviewed by our School Dean, several committees, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the President of the university. The Promotion Portfolio usually fills three to six large three-ring binders and is divided into three sections.

I. Teaching and Advising Students (course syllabi and materials, copies of exams and research papers, information on developing new courses, student evaluations of your advising).

II. Service to University and Community (committees, projects, ad hoc study groups, presentation-speeches-activities outside of the classroom - many of them even off-campus).

III. Professional Development and Publications (attendance at teaching workshops, disciplinary conferences, research projects, papers presented at state, regional, and national conferences, articles published in academic journals, a book in your field).

Start to finish the review process can take six to nine months. At the end, the President can veto the promotion even if everyone else approved it. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen. Some people think Tenure is a gift too easily bestowed on undeserving faculty.

So why am I telling you all this? Because In the first section of the Portfolio a professor places a copy of their personal Teaching Philosophy explaining why they teach the way they do; what underlying principles and objectives they rely upon to guide and shape their teaching. The question below gave me the opportunity to rethink, in a very concrete way, what it is I believe about teaching and learning and to articulate why I teach the way I do.

Visiting Other Lands and Cultures


The Question and the Aswer

"Just out of curiosity's sake, what is it you hope to teach your students by having them view films concerning the topic of study?"

That is a very good question. My answer, however, applies to everything the students and I study in a course throughout the semester, not just the films I ask them to watch and write about. It applies to the books, articles, lectures, group discussions, student presentations, outside lectures, art exhibits, and FILMS I use in constructing the course. I try to teach using a variety of approaches, techniques, and materials.

So, in everything I do in the classroom, what do I hope to "teach my students?" My four primary objectives are to improve their ability to read carefully, to think critically and analytically, to write logically and persuasively, and to speak clearly and confidently.

Eighteen years ago when I first entered the classroom I thought my job was to teach a specific subject, history. But I learned that I could actually teach all sorts of subject matter and that the subject is the vehicle or process through which I can accomplish those four goals.

I have students who are business majors and they don’t like history and will never take another history course. So, yes, I would like them to "know" the causes of WW I. But more than that, I want them to be better readers, thinkers, writers, and speakers for the rest of their lives.

Searching the Heavens - the Astrolabe


Secondary Goals and Onjectives

I have secondary objectives for students of course: expand geographic, political, cultural, and intellectual understanding; enrich their vocabulary; broaden interests; develop tolerance and understanding of other cultures and religions, encourage interest in and commitment to th larger surrounding society, developing disciplinary and general competence which leads to self-confidence and self-actualization.

I don't write these goals into my syllabus. We seldom discuss them in class, unless the students bring these issues up. But fortunately all these things are accomplished incidentally as I focus on my four main objectives - reading, thinking, writing, and speaking.

As students become more and more competent in these areas and in the course subject matter, the other secondary goals will likely be accomplished as well. Do I think all teacher's think this way? No. Do I think the world would be a better place if all teachers did? Yes, I do.

Some people might see this as the height of arrogance on my part? I don't think so, because I believe we all teach and mentor (for good or for bad) the people around us all the time, whether we call it that or not (and they teach and mentor us—it’s called relationship, it’s called community).

I had teachers who knew their subjects well and I learned from them. But I also had transformative teachers who taught me more than the subject, who in some small way changed how I thought and improved the trajectory of my life. I am grateful to them and I model my teaching after theirs.

Teachers and Mentors - Plato and Aristotle


Universities and Learning

Comments -- Why Do We Teach? How Do We Teach?

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    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hello ocfireflies - You are very welcome - we were all neophytes at one time. :) Your teaching experience is certainly broad and it does make all the difference when you have excellent administrators. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 5 years ago from North Carolina

      As a HP neophyte, thanks for the advice regarding how to make the most of the HP experience. As one who has taught 5th grade - remedial college courses, my experiences in the classroom were made the most positive when I was lucky enough to have administrative support.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi PDX - Thank you. So glad you loved it. I think the fact that you are watching your teachers closely, learning from them (not the subject matter - of course you learn that, but how to teach, figuring out what works and what doesn't and a very good thing. It will make you a better teacher and mentor.

      At 32, I planned to get a BA in History, finish raising my three sons, and do lots of volunteer work for the rest of my life. I never dreamed of graduate school of teaching as a profession and I had several very good English (my minor BTW) and History professors. Then I took a course with Dr. Keene , great professor, great course.

      A few weeks into the course and the Eureka moment came. It suddenly hit me with such clarity. "I can do what he is doing, (and without a trace of arrogance I promise you) and I can actually do it better than him. This is "so me!"

      His style, his approach, his way of teaching so perfectly suited my strengths, my personality, my way of thinking and speaking. I had never ever had such a thought before. I had never before been able to see and hear myself handling a class, orchestrating the discussion, facilitating learning. I could see it!

      Well four years of graduate school later, when I was handed a course and a classroom, frankly, it went beautifully, smoothly. I was meant to do this...all the personality traits from my parents combine perfectly in the classroom, everything I had done my whole life had been building toward this.

      Its been fifteen years and every semester I teach three sections of the same basic intro course and one "cool" upper level course of my choice for our History majors. And I still love it, I look forward to going to work. I make them work very hard, but as you suggested I am interesting and entertaining. There are twenty faculty in the School of Arts and Humanities and my classes fill up first. I feel so fortunate to be doing what I was meant to do. :)

      Keep observing...maybe you will end up being a combination of the best traits of several professors. Meanwhile I will speak to the president about when we might get around to offering doctorates in the Humanities, specficaly English and History. :)

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      LOved this, Theresa. As I may have told you, I'm pursuing my PhD with the hopes of teaching college, at least as an adjunct or part time professor. As such, I watch my teachers critically and see how they teach (especially those teaching English and creative writing, since this is what i want to teach): what do they do well? What could they improve on? While no teacher is great at everything, are these teachers aware of their shortcomings and do they do their best to work around them? Are they fair? Did I learn from them?

      I think you'd be a very entertaining teacher and I do love history. Maybe, if you have a doctoral program in English at your school, I'm mosey on out there...

      Great hub!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Southern Muse - Thank you for your encouraging comments. :) I find that many of my freshmen and sophomores have virtually no background in or understanding of history. I like how you enable your students to connect the work they do in your class to something important and relatable from their own life. That is such an important task that all history professors should work at accomplishing.

      I particularly like your statement, "it's also about making a connection between the student's primary interests and history: showing that history is all around us, in us, and will always be a part of our lives, however minor." Well said! :)

      I simply ran out of time today. I will answer your email tomorrow. I am happy to have made your acquaintance. :)

    • Southern Muse profile image

      Tiffany R Isselhardt 6 years ago from USA

      A very good analysis of a problem that I encounter often in graduate school. During my first semester as a teaching assistant, I was assigned to a freshmen-level course that had absolutely no history majors in it. The exciting part, however, was that I got students interested in it. My professor gave a lot of freedom in my interactions with students (and grading their assignments), so I found that I was able to mentor many of them who traditionally struggled with history classes. My advice? Find a way to relate history to your major. One girl had a Moravian family history, and I helped her find a way to do her final paper on Moravian contributions to American history. Another preferred music, and she accomplished a paper on music trading on the Silk Road. Many other examples followed. History is about teaching other skills - many of which are severely lacking in students coming out of high school - but it's also about making a connection between the student's primary interests and history: showing that history is all around us, in us, and will always be a part of our lives, however minor. Very good hub on teaching philosophy - something I'll keep in mind when I finally go for the PhD!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      You and I had strong teachers who taught us how to learn...such valuable skills. I fear those skills are becoming something of a lost art. I am stunned at the high percentage of high school and college teachers who never have their students do anything but multiple choice and fill in the blank tests. And I appreciate your congratulations. Thank you for stopping by to read and to comment.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 6 years ago from California

      I have three post-Bachelor's degrees, including one professional degree. And I love learning. One of the things I learned early on was how to learn--how to think critically and how to express and defend my thoughts. I am so thankful to my teachers--to all of them--and I am humbled by those called to teach--congratulations to you on many levels my friend--

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      It is funny in a way, I suppose. What we do as college professors is very complex and requires a lot of training and study on our part, but on the other hand, it is also quite simple. The skills are what last, and the subject (although we would love for them to remember it and care about as we do) is the vehicle we use to deepen their innate intellectual abilities and build those skills.

      I can't even imagine teaching ethics to the recent generation...changing conceptions and all. It wa a difficult stretch conveying ethical concepts to my three sons fifteen years ago. :) Thanks for commenting. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      As a college professor I agree with your teaching philosophy. We teach to impart knowledge that will help students to think logically, write constructively and to think beyond what they know - critical thinking. It is a thrill to see students catch the vision and tell you later that it was the best class they ever had.

      I had a real challenge this last teaching mod with my Ethics class. It seems that the new generation has a different concept of what is right and wrong. However, after presenting the beginning of ethics and why we have ethics, they were challenged to develop a personal philosophy. Great hub topic and very well written.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thank you. I appreciate your encouraging comment. :)

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 6 years ago from United States

      Awesome hub...keep the work going

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Rebecca - Actually, I hadn't thought about it that way, but you are right. We really do need the same basic skills all our lives. We just need to get better and better at them and apply them to more and more complex activities and projects. Excellent observation! :)

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I found this interesting because it sounds as though what you hope students gleen are so similar to teaching much younger students....reading, speaking,thinking and writing.I used to use a lot of 'thematic teaching" in the lower grades and this reminded me of that...even though this is higher education!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Suzette - You were fortunate to teach at a high school that taught on an advanced many of our students now (at most colleges - between 15% and 35% of those admitted have to take one or more remedial math or English classes before they can start on their real "college level" courses.

      There are two reasons I have time for HP. I am divorced and my three sons are grown and have started their own families, so it is just me and the four cats. And I don't publish many Hubs; there are people who have been on HP less time than I have and they have 2 or 3 times as many Hubs.

      But that is OK. I am not trying to make money....I really don't want to concern myself with SEO and traffic and other media sites (I am not good at any of that, it stresses me out, and I need to keep my day job.) I am happy that others can produce an income stream, but its not for me.

      So if I manage one good Hub every other week, occasionally one a week that is fine with me. I also don't do the forum or questions...did lots of that twenty-five years ago on the old BBS systems and that eats up a lot of time. So I read some hubs, make good comments if I can and occasionally write a hub. That's about my sped, but thank you for your kind comments. :) Theresa

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

      phdast7: I am so interested in your hubs on teaching as it is so good to hear how another teacher teaches. I find your writing especially interesting as you teach on the university/college level. The high school where I first taugh actually did teach at the college level even though it was a high school. I was quite lucky to teach there and have this experience. We have two universities near by so our students really had it easy freshman year if they attended either one of these universities. They were already used to the university approach to teaching. So, I am always interested in hearing how you approach things. How you have time to write on hubpages is amazing to me. You must be a great organizer of time!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Suzette - I am so glad you liked it and that you so much for all the encouraging comments. And it is so affirming to get the perspective of another teacher and know that you tried to accomplish the same things in your classroom. And I so agree with you, using a variety of teaching techniques and approaches reaches the most students and results in the most effective learning environment.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

      What a wonderful, wonderful, hub. You explain your teaching philosophy so succinctly. I agree with you wholeheartedly! A really great teacher does not just teach their subject matter - they take it a step further and really teach about life and how their subject affects life. You are to be highly commended for your teaching approach. When I taught, I always tried to teach as you do and had a very similar teaching philosophy.

      I know the criticism that is out there if you choose to show a film in your class. But, you always make your students think about what they are viewing and to have a critical view of the subject/topic. I have done this, too. I think videos add so much to a course of study and can really visualize the subject so well for our students. Some students need the visualization, some don't. But, a variety of teaching approaches is the sign of a great teacher. Keep up the good work!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi James - I have no doubt that had things been different you would have made a n excellent teacher/scholar or a preacher/scholar. You have all the requisite interests and skills. I think in a previous comment many weeks ago I even asked you if you had ever considered teaching. :) Thanks for the comments and for using the lovely word "explicate." :)

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed reading your very interesting Hub that explicates your teaching philosophy. If I hadn't gone into the music business at an early age, I might have become a teacher. Or a preacher. :-)

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      gjfalcone- Thanks for your comments. I agree with you. Jobs and careers change, even disappear. Think of the jobs available today that no one had heard of 25 or 30 years ago. To stay competitive, to get the new jobs our kids may need some special tech skills...but they will always need to be able to think critically and analytically to stay on top of the requirements in the ever-changing job market. You are doing your children a great service by focusing on those areas.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi White Wolf - Like you I can read or I can listen, but I need to take notes. What I don't write down is likely to get lost in the shuffle. I would have a very hard time listening to lectures on computer, disc, whatever, unless I was scrupulously taking notes at the same time.

      I think the reason the films work for most students, is because I lecture the first day and they take notes. The day of the film they receive a sheet full of questions and some basic information. So they watch the film AND take notes which they use later to build an analytical essay around.

      I do love what I do (except for grading papers and writing reports, but no job is perfect and this comes pretty close) which is fortunate since I spent ten years getting the degrees that allow me to do what I do. :) What a tragedy if after all that, I had discovered I disliked the classroom or research and writing.

      But I appreciate your comments on this teaching practice :) which works well with college juniors and seniors. More on our other topic in the next few days. Be well. :) Theresa

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      The picture has never been as vivid regarding the importance of a quality education.Critical and analytical thinking have always been my primary objective toward the education of my children. This has been a hub on my to read list for far too long. So much to little time

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hello Mrs. Theresa,

      I came back here to comment regarding showing films for classes. I think it is a great way of diversifying the study material. I am saying this, even though I personally do terrible at learning from viewing things. I personally need to read, take notes and ... read some more, in order to learn.

      Even recently I have tried doing some studying by watching lectures on the computer ... it is very difficult for me. Nonetheless, I am sure other people may do very well at learning from watching videos/clips/etc.

      Either way, I appreciate creativity and diversity.

      Cheers and thank You for taking on a job which You enjoy doing - it makes a world of a difference (for all of us - especially in teaching)! Thank You.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thank you Natashalh - Glad the article was helpful. How wondrful to be teaching history. I absolutely love it. Good to know that my Hubs can be helpful. About using films - I always make sure that I schedule the class I hope to use films with in a two or two and a half hour block -- I just hate to stop a film in the middle and then continue it the next day.

      Don't know if you will have that option or not, but it sure does help. I lecture and do the background on Monday afternoons for example -- give them a essay study guide to read -- and then show the film on Wed with their paper due the following Monday. Nice of you to visit. :)

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 6 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you for the insightful article. As someone who hopes to be teaching history in about a year (and currently does teach history, just not in a traditional classroom setting), I always enjoy reading your articles for ideas. I love the film idea and hope I will have the opportunity to use this tactic in my future classes.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      If anyone should be following this discussion or find the topic interesting, it has been moved. You are welcome to join us.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Morning Mrs. Theresa,

      Indeed I can easily be confused with an anarchist but as I mentioned much earlier I do follow a Law, the "Law of One". Thus, I cannot possibly be an anarchist (lol).

      My frustration with laws and punishment exists because I see their failure in trying to establish a fluid and harmonious society. The same may be said of institutionalized religions, for they tried doing much the same thing: control masses of people. The failure can be seen just by simply looking around.

      Of course, punishment bothers me because I see it as revenge. Shoving someone in jail is revenge and has nothing to do with rehabilitation or healing. Therefore, jails have revolving doors. Prisons and Jails are now on the Stock Exchage as well so, the more inmates the higher the shares. We have a system where more inmates equals more profit ... Inmates are also used as slave labour (or very close to slave labour ...).

      The revenge system does not work. It does not deter either, for as I also mentioned I spent over a decade in the underground economy and nobody cares about going to jail for reasons I will only go into if it is really needed.

      At this point, I would rather focus on solutions as I do not see much point into proving our current system flawed - I think many people realize the need for significant and substantial change within our social structures.

      To answer your questions about how a moral system could be implemented, I can pick the both of us as an example. We come from very different backgrounds, from different age groups ... even our sex differs yet, we seem to understand each other and respect each other on moral terms. How is this possible? And how can we extend this sort of relationship and way of thinking on a large scale?

      I think it is through education mainly; that is what You and I have in common as a base for our morality.

      Criminal behaviour can be controlled through supervision and care. With that in mind, instead of armies of police officers roaming the streets, there should be armies of social workers, psychiatrists and such ...

      Helping what you would call a criminal, psychologically and emotionally works much better than throwing them behind bars. I know from experience. I have bailed people out of jail and I have had some success by just being there simply as a way of support: someone to talk to, listen, etc.

      Take a look at this when You have time (might find it interesting):

      And a great hub talking about much of what we discussed here (not mine - please, please do read this one whenever You get a chance):

      Wrong-doers can be healed. Bring me to any one such individual and I could show You that anything is possible, as long as we put our minds together. Or as the saying goes: "Anything is possible, it just costs more." (Cost here can be anything from time to energy, resources, etc.)

      I cannot thank You enough for the discussion. Many thanks and all the very best! May Wakan Tanka walk with You. : )

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good Morning White Wolf - You were sounding a bit anarchist for awhile there. :) Not so much now. :)

      Quoting you -- "I would like to argue is perhaps a move towards morality as suppose to the focus on laws, which we have now. A healthy, compassionate and thoughtful morality, in my opinion would be better than any system of laws."

      It would be far superior without a doubt. But how do you propose, concretely speaking, that we get there? And how do we ameliorate the terrible consequences of criminal behavior in the meantime? I am not opposed to your ideas; I just can’t imagine (yet) how they would be implemented, and by whom.

      quoting you - "Laws, as they are nowadays seem too easily corrupted, changed, removed, interpreted, etc."

      You are right, the great and abiding tragedy of “law” is that it is no better than those who promulgate and exercise it, and they are all too often selfish, corrupt, and power hungry.

      quoting you - "And the system of punishment ... instead of healing we punish wrong-doers so, they get even more anger built-in ... it's troublesome to even think about it."

      It is very troublesome…but I am not sure I can agree with (in other words I have yet to see convincing and irrefutable evidence that supports) your premise, if I am understanding you correctly....that “wrong-doers can be healed” to the extent that they will not harm others.

      I think some “bad” behavior is rooted in environmental, familial, and social causes (eliminate the causes and you eliminate the behavior, possibly true, but what sort of massive social engineering project would that require and might it also produce problems, unintended consequences)…..but I cannot ascribe all bad or hurtful or criminal behavior to “external factors.”

      There is an internal, personal responsibility that each of us shares and must exercise regardless of our individual situational circumstances or negative environment.

      Oh my, political philosophy in the morning. I am off to meet with my classes….Mon-Thurs is my focused work week, but I will “steal” (speaking of crime and using bad metaphors) a few moments here and there to continue this good conversation. Have a very good day.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      To begin with, thank You for the reminder about comments. I fail at answering them sometimes because my mind is constantly flying. It has to do with Air being the governing element within me ...

      Now regarding crime and punishment, I say what I say after having worked for over a decade in the underground economy, after having done law-enforcement work and after having trained in martial arts for many years: force does not work, jails do not work and we are only creating more problems in the way we are looking at this issue. People need healing and not punishment. This is the truth.

      Whatever I seem to do, I come back to the issue of morality and personal responsability. Perhaps You can give the following a read when You have some time and we can move the conversation there:

      I love the conversation - thank You greatly for the opportunity. Good luck with that report and all the best! : )

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      White Wolf - Just in case you haven't noticed you have some comments on two of your earliest Hubs, On Numbers and Shine On, I think. Pretty good comments, if I do say so myself...sorry, I am in micro-managing mode this evening. I will go write my report and mind my own business now. :)

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hello White Wolf -

      quoting you - “There are reasons for crime. If one takes the time to understand the individual and the case at hand, reasons will be revealed. So, as long as we keep ignoring the reasons for crime, there will always be crime ….As I said in another hub not long ago: For criminals going to jail is like going to school.“

      I completely agree with you that to ignore the reasons is to perpetuate both the current problem – the crime, and the current solution – the prison system, which is clearly ineffective on many levels. But changing hearts and minds takes time, hard work, and the political and social will to create and fund programs that will help restore people. So far in America there is no “critical mass” of citizens demanding that the government invest its money elsewhere.

      And I think we imprison many people for no good reason, minor crimes, drugs, etc., and they do emerge as more hardened and determined and effective criminals; that has got to change.

      But, although I may be genuinely sorry that a man had a terrible upbringing (reasons for his crimes), still I want serious criminals – murderers, rapists, torturers behind bars, where they can not attack my children, grandchildren, and friends, well anybody for that matter.

      I am concerned about the criminal, but I am MORE CONCERNED about INNOCENT VICTIMS. (wish I knew how to bold in the comment section) I honestly don’t know how else to look at it.

      quoting you - “Now, regarding the pagan lady I guess I am thinking of freedom of religion/spirtuality ... I am myself a pagan and I feel that if I express in public that I am a pagan, I expect others to respect my beliefs and allow me to do as I please as long as I am not harming others.”

      I understand your position better now. And not, as my grandmother used to say, “ to beat a dead horse” (horrible saying actually), but we are back to the benefits and limitations of law.

      I wish that “morality” alone protected your religious beliefs and mine, but too many people operate outside of any recognizable moral law and so then we depend on state or government laws. The law does guarantee you freedom of religious expression, however, it cannot compel every individual to respect your freedom.

      Hopefully the threat of penalty under the law will discourage those who would attack others based on their religious preferences or practices…and when that is not enough, the law will arrest and prosecute those who have attacked you or me or any of us. It is certainly not a perfect or fool-proof system, but it is better than nothing, I think.

      quoting you - “Cheers and say hello to your fire for me … Sorry for the rant, the image of your fire ....).

      I shall say hello to the fire the next time we light it, and I find that rational rants are usually productive .…and yours are rational, as opposed to mindlessly hysterical, so all is good. Hope to answer your other comment a little later, but I have to go write an academic report that is due tomorrow.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Good, You have not returned to comment yet (lol). I was fairly tired last night and left some things unsaid.

      I certainly do not want to seem like I am an anarchist, against all laws and such. At the moment, our societies do need laws, whether I like them or not ... (that's another topic of discussion).

      What I would like to argue is perhaps a move towards morality as suppose to the focus on laws, which we have now. A healthy, compassionate and thoughtful morality, in my opinion would be better than any system of laws. Laws, as they are nowadays seem too easily corrupted, changed, removed, interpreted, etc.

      And the system of punishment ... instead of healing we punish wrong-doers so, they get even more anger built-in ... it's troublesome to even think about it.

      Alrighty, I'll stop here ... just wanted to say I am not a member of the Black Bloc lol


    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "I agree with you that morality is much preferable to law, but not all or even most people choose to be moral. Because of their immoral behavior (crime, abuse, malicious behavior), we have laws to protect the innocent and weak." - There are reasons for crime. If one takes the time to understand the individual and the case at hand, reasons will be revealed. Who grows up thinking: "I am going to be a drug-dealer when I grow-up ...".

      So, as long as we keep ignoring the reasons for crime, there will always be crime and laws will be there for ... not exactly sure what ...

      As I said in another hub not long ago:

      "For criminals going to jail is like going to school,

      When you come out, you're better at the crimes you do" - not my lines but I like them and know them to be true.

      Now, regarding the pagan lady I guess I am thinking of freedom of religion/spirtuality ... I am myself a pagan and I feel that if I express in public that I am a pagan, I expect others to respect my beliefs and allow me to do as I please as long as I am not harming others.

      I suppose it all comes back to morality.

      Cheers and say hello to your fire for me when you light it up next time. (I also encourage You to take some cedar if you have or even tabacco and put some in the fire while making a wish. Wishes come true and the fire helps in taking wishes to Wakan Tanka. If the wish is pure and honest, it will come true - it does for me. Sorry for the rant, the image of your fire ...).

      All the best!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      White Wolf - I am sorry you cannot have a small fire in your backyard without a permit. We can, but I have a small house in a residential neighborhood; I guess if I were in an apartment then the answer would be no. Its one of our family's favorite things to do. At nights when it is cool we get a fire going in the fire pit and sit and talk and watch the stars and occasionally let the grandchildren roast marshmallows.

      I don't follow your example of the "pagan lady." I do what I want in my home. I have that freedom. If I am foolish enough to talk about it in public among peers whom I know will disapprove, then yes I have a problem, but the problem is not just my lack of freedom, but my foolishness in making public what was a private matter. Maybe I am not understanding your example.

      I disagree with some laws, and many I find useless or irritating, but I am not sure that I agree that a completely lawless society or state is better. I agree with you that morality is much preferable to law, but not all or even most people choose to be moral. Because of their immoral behavior (crime, abuse, malicious behavior), we have laws to protect the innocent and weak.

      One very small example from civil law, not even criminal law. Posit that I rent a small house for myself and my three young children for 700$ a month. I sign a document with the landlord, basically a lease for a year. Suppose the landlord is an immoral and selfish man and a friend of his moves into town. I come home from work to find my children sitting on our furniture which has been set on the street. With no laws to stop him, to enforce the lease agreement we signed, the landlord can evict me at any time for any cause he chooses.

      I don't want to live in a world where that can happen to me, or to you, or to anyone. In a microcosm, that is why I do find a legitimate and good need for law, not because it is better than morality, but because it is better than immorality. Does this make sense at all?

      Oh and please drop the Mrs. (I know it is polite) because it makes me feel incredibly old. :) phdast7 or just Theresa, will be fine. :) Enjoying the conversation and I would agree that in many ways and places the world has sadly gone mad. We must each contribute to sanity and morality and community as best we can.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      The above was just an advertising lol

      They are becoming more and more common ...

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      ruby222 - I am not trying to be obtuse, but I have no idea why you sent me this message about earning on-line. I am happy in, and challenged by my chosen profession. Maybe you intended to send this to someone else?

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Greetings Mrs. Phdast7,

      I would first like to comment on what You wrote about hermits. I have friends who call me a hermit or a hobbit ... lol

      So, yes I actually enjoy being in a forest alone with trees and other of my animal cousins more than living in this concrete jungle. And I would go to the forest and remain there for the rest of my life if trees weren't being cut-down at the rate that they are. The way things are going, eventually loggers would come close enough that I would have to scalp them ... I am only half joking ...

      "We can start a fire in our backyard ..." - Not here You can't. You need a permit from the city to build a fire, unless You are of the First Nations and You are building a Sacred Fire.

      And to continue on your point about being able to do what You want in your own house, I have to say that peer pressure does not allow us that freedom. I remember reading a post, here on Hub-pages of a lady who was talking about being a pagan and how she could not use her own name or photo because people in her town would probably burn-down her house if they knew she was a pagan. So much for doing what You want in your own house ...

      I am not sure what to say about this conformity or nonconformity issue except that if we do not learn to accept other people's individuality, opinions and wishes, we are going to go right-back to tribalism. That way whitches and sorcerers can live together, Christians can form their own tribe and so on ...

      I disagree with all the laws that exist in most part. I do not follow laws much and I have very little care for them. Of course there are some downfalls ... I missed a plane to India a few days ago because I did not have a Visa for entering India ... stupid laws everywhere You see. But I think it was Voltaire that said something along the words that if a law is stupid, it shouldn't be followed. The only Law I know is the "Law of One": All is One, All is connected. If we could all understand that ... we'd be free.

      Thank You for the conversation, I appreciate it. All the best! : )

      P.S. I see morality as having gone down the drain. Instead of morality we are given laws and rules to follow and as You can very well see, it is not working well: we are in a world gone mad in many ways ...

    • profile image

      rubby222 6 years ago

      my best friend's half-sister makes $78 every hour on the internet. She has been laid off for 8 months but last month her pay was $7532 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more...

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Sue - I couldn't possibly had laid it out any more clearly or said it any better myself. Communication skills are key! Thabks for reading and commenting.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      WD - You are certainly not too old, and as you said, you know that. Consider yourself kicked in the pants! Twice! You are right, having more credentials could end u[p being very helpful. I don;t know what direction to point you in, but it sounds like maybe Sustainable Sue does. Be sure and touch base with her if you ahven't already.

      About teaching students at the vocational should feel good. :) Those are tough students and difficult situations for anyone, and it sounds like you did instinctively gravitate toward the right activities for your students. Lucky for them that they had you. I hope they realized it at some point in their lives. I will find the hub and read it. Theresa

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Kris - thanks for stopping by and commenting. It can be very difficult to reach each student they are all so different, coming from very diverse backgrounds and often having learned very different approaches. It does seem like the best teachers that I have had, tried to approach their subject or discipline from as many angles or directions as possible.

      Personally, probably because my minor was English and because I happen to love film (and I think today's students are very responsive to films), I tend toward using literature -- novels and poetry -- and film as ways to illustrate history.

      So far so good. Thanks again for your comments and for SHARING.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Jools - sound like you had a great professor for 18th century history she seems to have gone above and beyond the call of duty and pretty much done everything right. Those professors are like finding intellectual gold.

      They stimulate us, they encourage us, to intrigue us, they make us want to dig into the discipline whatever it is. I personally love the interdisciplinary focus and I use it in my classes whenever possible. After all in real life things don't happen in separate individual categories called politics, economics, sociology, history. All of those things impinge upon and impact each other.

      I love your description about pulling on the threads of each subject and either weaving or teasing apart the tapestry of history. Very true, but also very poetic. Thanks so much for your comments.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      cebu - A good teacher will be able to adapt their style, or even better teach with several different styles. Although it has been unpopular for me to say this to some of my teaching colleagues...I also believe that by the time students reach high school or college they need to be learning to do some seious adapting and changing themselves...not just the teacher.

      A professor can totally alter his teaching style, but how does that help the student when they leave school and get a job at a "real" company, factory, or business. Managers, owners, and bosses will not usually make special accomodations for people limityed to one style...instead, they often fire them and find another employee who is more flexible and adaptable themselves.

      So there has to be a healthy balance. I as the professor will teach in several different styles, but the student "must" experiment and learn to function themselves within several different styles...otherwise they will find themselves unemployable. Just a thought..... Thank you for your comments.

    • Sustainable Sue profile image

      Susette Horspool 6 years ago from Altadena CA, USA

      I come from a family of teachers and have done some teaching myself. If I were teaching high school, I would add a fourth focus: Communication. I would start by pointing out that because people are different, they communicate in different ways. That the way we communicate tells something about our backgrounds. I would have exercises where we imitate the communication styles of different people in the classroom, then find out what their backgrounds are. Then we'd do the same with movie characters, then with politicians, then with people from other countries, etc. Eventually I would teach them how to communicate in different settings - like home, church, formal events, political events (incl. protests), legal situations (incl. being arrested), and especially the work environment. And we would roleplay many of these settings, so students could get a real feel for them.

      Along with that I would show how much better life works from a place of integrity, what it is to walk your talk, what it is to accept others, the difference between sharing and proselytizing, how to tell when it's important to stand your ground and when it's better to give way. Good communication can make such a difference in the world!

      (@WD Curry - I chair an environmental action group. Give me a buzz.)

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 6 years ago from Space Coast

      This made me feel good. I did instinctively what real teachers do. I was a vocational instructor at Devereux (adolescent center) for years. I had secondary objectives.

      Near the end of my time there, they would throw me into academic classes to hold down the fort until a new teacher could be hired, trained, and convinced to stay. The students were SED and hard to deal with, we did not change classes to avoid transition. Specialty teachers and therapists made the rounds to give you a breather, but you had to keep the show moving. I showed many National Geographic, social issue, and Bill Nye the Science guy videos. My students were all on different levels, and processing the film worked great for everyone. How I did it is a hub.

      I am working with an environmental group, and see a need for more credentials. We have an educational component. I am having a hard time getting motivated to go through the trouble. Give me a kick in the pants. Where do I start. I feel like I'm too old, but know better.

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 6 years ago from Cebu

      I believe the teacher should adjust his teach style. So that his student will learn. If one style dont work then it should be the professor responsibility to alter his teaching style.

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 6 years ago from Indiana

      Very nice hub. Having taught myself at the college level, I found that it was often hard to reach each student. Everyone has a different learning style and what works for one may not work for another. I think engaging students as much as possible and using different mediums to teach with is great!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 6 years ago from North-East UK

      phdast7, the lecturers I had whilst studying my degree in Humanities were good but one in particular still stands out in my mind as someone who was able to engage us in her subject (18th century history). Whilst the timetable of the course was out of her hands she was always able to explain to us that in interdisciplinary studies, we needed to be able to 'pull on the threads' of each subject and learn to weave a tapestry which in the end became an illustration of this period of history. I got this completely and she used fantastic case studies to make her point - we watched movies, visited galleries, went into our local city and looked at the cathedral and other churches, statues of famous people from the period and she made us 'live' in their world whilst also reading extensively. I still think about her often and wonder how many other students have benefited from her way of seeing the subject. She brought philosophy to me for the first time and I still love it. I think teaching other adults is extremely difficult and I take my hat off to anyone who does it successfully.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good Morning White Wolf - Interesting, history to humanities and philosophy, but I certainly understand why.

      I focused on History with an English minor and I did have some great professors. It does make all the difference, because I didn’t care for history in high school; the teachers were fact obsessed and every test was multiple choice.

      About the need to “conform.” Undue or excessive pressure to conform has undesirable consequences, but I do think that societies, communities, governments encourage and pressure people to conform (primarily out in public spaces) in order for large numbers of people, for the most part, to coexist safely and peaceably. I say ”most” because of course there is crime (and punishment) and mental illness.

      By comparison, we have tremendous freedom in our homes and apartments. We can start a fire in our backyard or in a trashcan in our house, but not necessarily in a public place. We can drink ourselves into a stupor, but not endanger other people on public roads. We can have a 9 millimeter, a veritable armory if we wish, and wave our gun around wildly, but not in the grocery store or the post office or the court house.

      Hermits who go off and live in the woods have much more actual freedom of behavior than we generally do in society, but they give up the benefits of associating with others. Within society can be found many benefits, but there is a concomitant loss of individual freedom. It is as if there is a giant continuum. At one end is individualism, Independence, freedom of action, and isolation. At the other is dependency, security, social interaction, but a corresponding decline in individual freedom.

      We all gravitate toward that place on the continuum that suits our personality, character, and belief system (philosophy). I think this plays out again and again in so many ways. Thinking about this is very instructive in terms of how families, communities and societies develop. And I think a lot of the negotiating to find the balance is almost done unconsciously. I may have just gone off on a tangent. How do you see all this fitting together?

      Thank you for your encouraging comment. It is nice to know that you think it was a great piece of writing, especially as it is not the typical thing I write…it just kind of happened. :)

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Credence 7 - Thank you for your comments...glad it has an interest level beyond just teachers. Unfortunately, most students think of Hitler and the Nazis as "back then" and cannot comprehend that there is anything to fear in our day and age. Partly it is their youth and their inability to think historically and politically...

      But part of their incomprehension of political realities comes from the fact that they have routinely heard politicians and pundits rail against the "left", against socialism and communism as if they are our only enemies, the only "wrong" roads we might take. When asked at the beginning of a course where Hitler and the Nazi regime were on the political spectrum, over 80% of them say the "left."

      To them all dictators, all totalitarian regimes, all "wicked governments" are on the left. We spend a great deal of time going over the incredible dangers of the far left AND the far right, talking about the abuses perpetrated by both types of extreme regimes.

      Still at the end of the semester I am not sure they really understand....the further you move from the middle, the more dangerous your government and the more precarious are your liberties. They do so need critical thinking and good analytical skills. No amount of rote memorization can prepare them to navigate and protect the complicated society we live in. I do worry. :( Thanks again for the read and comments.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I get to answer now from the perspective of the student as I could probably be one still (lol). I left my major in history for one in humanities/philosophy at some point in my past university-life because I had no professor such as yourself to work with.

      They were all so bent on teaching history and specifics that I felt thinking for oneself was not allowed. Of course, philosophy allowed me to be as free as I wanted, in that sense. Thus, I was much happier in the end.

      Nonetheless though, I do think every field of study especially at the university level should first and foremost, try to teach critical/analytical thinking (as I think you mentioned as well).

      Perhaps one more knowledgeable in social studies or you, who knows more about history can say whether or not societies need to conform people just in order to be able to exist on such large scales ... I have been thinking about this for some time now ...

      Great piece of writing. Thank You.

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Phdast7, it is no wonder that you are so busy. The best teachers particularly in history always had a way of bringing the topic contained in all the old dusty volumes to life and making it relevant to their current student's lives and experiences. The enthusiam of a good instructor is infectious and as you say, life altering.

      When you lecture on the Nazi era, do not people ponder the possibility based on the rise of Hitler, if we are so far removed from what occured then, that it could not happen again? Critical thinking takes us beyond mere dates and rote memorization, but brings a subject to life in regards to lessons learned.

      Thanks for providing a most interesting read...

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thank you Frog Prince for the encouraging comments. My father was career Air Force and at various times in his career he served as a first aid and water safety - firearms (handguns and rifles) - C 131 Loadmaster Instructor. My mother began her working career as an English teacher. I have always thought I learned my verbal,classroom management, jousting with the students skills from him and my more literary and composition skills from my mother. Good teachers both, but very, very different. Very glad you liked the Hub. A much appreciated compliment coming from you. :)

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Ed - Your father's course sounds wonderful. The way he has designed the course, it does exactly what a course should do..."illustrate and (allow students) practice the skills of analysis and critical thinking, and to communicate what they think." So many schools and teachers have abandoned these basic but necessary skills and I think as a society we are so much poorer for it.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Frank - Thanks for the visit and the comments. I do strive for clarity; it is certainly one of my chief goals. I am sure I fall short of the mark on occasion, but it is something I work at. I hope you are having a lovely evening. phdast7

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia


      It is a tragedy that most of our young people do not learn critical thinking until college, if even then. And you are right. We do not want ideologues training our children.

      I love and wholeheartedly agree with your final sentence. We need teachers who will "continue to build better minds rather than shape them." I couldn't have said it better.

      Thanks again for the comments and the conversation.

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Excellent outline and easily understandable. Having taught in the military at various levels for a couple of decades, which is much different than what you experience, I had to find the style of teaching where the student was made to think and think critically.

      Teaching adults is much different than teaching younger people because then I had to play off of their experience base and bring it into the classroom.

      Wonderful Hub.

      The Frog Prince

    • Ed Michaels profile image

      Ed Michaels 6 years ago from Texas, USA

      My father is also a professor of humanities. He and I completely agree with your teaching objectives. His humanities course centered around primary texts throughout Western culture ordered to reveal themes, and the themes change with what is happening in the world outside the university, challenges students to think critically, not to respond with a correct answer but to illustrate and practice the skills of analysis and critical thinking, and to communicate what they think, all of them skills that are not natural gifts.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 6 years ago from Shelton

      What I find interesting and useful about your hubs are the clearity.. it's like having facts at my fingertips and your strategies are always at work up and awesome PHdast :) Frank

    • kateperez profile image

      kateperez 6 years ago from pasadena, tx


      Thanks for your response to my comments. I do agree with pretty much everything you've said.

      The trouble is in what we see every day; that which "occupies" the "news".

      Funny, when I was in 8th grade Journalism elective, I was told that journalism was about the truth, no opinion, no interjected "keyphrases" and the like. Today, I hear words like "deplorable" "embarrassing" "dropping out" all negative words. Not journalism at all.

      I am pleased to hear that the universities that had the pleasure of having you as an instructor are not like the big names that keep getting sensationalized in the news.

      None of the media outlets are that great. Professors who are ideologues have no place trying to shape the minds of children. Children are not taught critical thinking in high school or before so when they get to college, their supple minds are the perfect fodder for the ideologue to get his/her little mitts in there and squeeze out any logic that may have been lurking in the background. I am hoping more professors are like you.

      In my experience in higher learning, the biggest thing I deal with is "effect social change" which can be a good thing if your heart is in the right place.

      That being said, I honor and respect your contribution to academic excellence, and hope that you can continue to build better minds rather than shape them. :D

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Kate - Of course we always have to be aware of and resist the influence of the "big machine: sometimes it is big government, sometimes it is big business or corporate interests.

      In my experience , sensationalized media stories are just that sensationalized. I have no idea what course with what sort of content Columbia University is offering, but I sure wouldn't take unsubstantiated reporting at face value.

      Other thoughts: First, I study the Nazis and the Soviets so I am aware of and abhor indoctrination. Even if this is true, this is a course that students are free to sign up for and free to drop if and when they find out the professor is off or crazy.

      So I don't really see the danger for indoctrination as much as I would be worried about the students who came to higher education already inclined to want to take this sort of course. I think much of the damage is already done.

      Two, we all know that the unusual, the weird, the exceptional, the dreadful, the what makes the news. Status quo, life as usual, routine behavior and processes don't get described in the news. So here is what I think when someone reads about some crazy something at BERKELEY or COLUMBIA or WHEREVER. What about the other 1000+ universities and colleges that didn't make the news? Where the professors are pretty normal, a lot like you and me, some republican, some democrats, an occasional libertarian.

      Institutions where students take normal classes and work part time and graduate and get jobs and raise families? Where there are no marches, except to raise money for good causes like leukemis or breast cancer? Where the library is a quiet place where students study and read books?

      I am concerned too, but after having taught at five very different institutions over the cousre of 20 years, I am convinced that 95-98% of the time our colleges are peddling grammar, algebra, history, and critical thinking,,,not much of the crazy stuff at all. :) Great comment on your part. Thanks.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Kathleen - You expressed it so clearly...and that is the challenge. Thanks for commenting.

    • kateperez profile image

      kateperez 6 years ago from pasadena, tx

      ...that being said, when is the forming of the student's mind a positive thing and when does it create something for the big machine?

      for example, Columbia University: Ivy League, is opening up a course in protesting. How to protest, not the psychology of the protest. And they will be requiring, as field work in the subject, that the students all participate in OWS protests. I'm not certain if this is accurate, but what the "oh so reliable" media is reporting. However, that seems more like indoctrination than critical thinking.

      Critical thinking is what should be taught in school, not how to be a menace to society by bothering hard working people and companies that hire them. :D

      Just me, jumping off my soap box now.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      A student could just go to the campus bookstore and read all the texts required to get a degree. A college education is about changing the way you think - or at least taking an objective look at the way you think. I can't think of anything sadder than a person who comes out of college with exactly the same mindset they had when they entered. That's the challenge for teachers and professors in every classroom.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      hi Thomas -

      I disliked history in middle school and high school because the focus was on names, dates and treaties, but never why any of those things was important or how they related to each other. I entered college majoring in criminal justice, then I switched to Sociology. After two years I got married and had three children.

      Ten years later I went back to finish my Bachelors and had a couple of incredible history teachers. I decided to pursue history as a major and English as a minor. I never thought about grad school till one of my professors said, Why aren't you going to grad school? My answer, I have no money, three kids, and a husband who can hardly keep a job.

      He said, Think about Emory, I will write you a letter, its horribly expensive, but you might get a full scholarship. I applied, full scholarship and a monthly stipend, and the rest is history... MA, PhD, and teaching for 16 years now. Not sure where all this came from. Oh, well.

      You - "I have found that all your writing exhibits this profound reality of the discipline." Me - a great compliment and I thank you.

      "Do ALL professors have to do that?" Good question...I don't know. I just know all the professors at Reinhardt University have to write one and incorporate its concepts into their teaching - they are all slightly different. I would imagine most faculty have to write something similar when they go up for promotion.

      You wrote Part 7! Part 7? I still need to read Part 6. I will never get caught up, but I will try. :)

      Have a great week. Theresa

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 6 years ago from Reno, Nevada


      I have always believed that the notion of teaching dates and the names of Queens and Kings will only result in the mix up of dates and the confusion of (long dead) monarchs who...mostly...all had the same names anyways.

      You are correct, history is just the vehicle for teaching critical thinking skills to unwary students. I have found that all your writing exhibits this profound reality of the discipline.



      PS...So this personal teaching philosophy thing... Do ALL professors have to do that? I would like to see what rational math professors are using...

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Harald - Well it takes some time. The first couple of years you just frantically teach the facts of the subject right out of the textbook. Then as you gain confidence and experience, you can start venturing out of the safety zone.

      Eventually, you and your lectures sort of become the textbook and you can start adding in articles, literature, films, projects, and so forth. It does take time to get there, even if you are a natural in the classroom (personality-wise).'s all about the money and retiring wealthy to our yachts in the Caribbean. :) Thank you for the encouraging comments. :)

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Kate - Thanks for reading and commenting. We see the results on poor and inadequate High School preparation in our freshmen college classes all the time.

      A large percentage of entering students go directly into remedial classes to prepare them for regular first year classes. And these were student who came to us with B and A averages from high school! Something is dreadfully wrong - I can sympathize and agree with what you are saying. We would like them to be ready before they get here, too! :)

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Personally, I don't know how you do all that. It takes a special person to be a teacher. Or are you all in it just for the money? Nice article. Voted up.

    • kateperez profile image

      kateperez 6 years ago from pasadena, tx

      Teaching in high school is sorely lacking for the average student who finally decides they want to go on to college.

      Most of the AA, BS, and even MS students that I've encountered cannot do the most simple things like a lot being 2 words, and the differences between there, they're, and their. Simple grammar is an integral part of the college experience and students cannot do this most basic task.

      In addition, most students should be taught proper citation and referencing. Of course there are about a dozen different writing formats required in colleges depending on your specific major, but a couple of the most dominant methods, APA, MLA, and Chicago, should be at least introduced.

      In addition, diversity education would be a great help. Kids may go to a school that is pretty much a single race, look at small town schools in the Midwest, and they may find that they are now encountering individuals who are very different than they are without the proper skills to understand the differences.

      The 3 R's are important, for sure, Readin' Writin' and 'Rithmetic" are necessary and required for AA and BS college degrees, so they may as well know what to do before they get there!!!


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