Teachers/Moderators

A most valuable feature of our Great Books Program is that it has two teachers/moderators in the classroom.  This naturally enriches the learning experience for our students as they receive the benefit of a broader pool of understanding, wisdom, and knowledge. 

In addition, the teachers' conversation with one another during classes is a benefit to the students as it exposes them to perspective, insight, and nuance that is missing with a single teacher in the classroom.  The very friendship of the teachers enriches the classroom, as well.  

 

 


James Taylor

James Taylor
Ph.D. Philosophy of Education, Kansas University

Jim has been a teacher for thirty years, mainly in the humanities. He has taught high school, college and graduate school using literature and the Great Books to form the reading for history and philosophy of education. He was associate professor and chairman of the Teacher Education Program at Hillsdale College, Michigan; and, more recently assistant professor of education at the University of Tulsa. He is the author of the wonderful book Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education. For the past ten years he has worked in our Great Books Program.

 

Curtis Hancock
Ph.D. Philosophy

Curtis holds the Joseph M. Freeman Chair of Philosophy at Rockhurst University. Curtis has authored four books of philosophy; twenty-two published philosophical articles and co-authored two novels. Dr. Hancock is a Director of The Great Books Academy and works in our Great Books Program.


Curtis Hancock

 


Peter Redpath

Peter Redpath
Ph. D., Full Professor of Philosophy, St. John's University, Staten Island, New York.

Dr. Redpath has received numerous awards and honors for his work in philosophy; was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Advanced Philosophical Research in 1988; has made over 70 public program appearances on philosophical topics; has authored numerous books, monographs, and published articles. He has edited two philosophy books. He is a member of the Board of Editors of Editions Rodopi. Peter works with our high school Great Books students. To visit his website click here.

 

Robert Alexander
Ph.D. Literature and Politics, University of Dallas.

Bob has taught at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy; the University of San Francisco, California; College of Notre Dame, California; and at Magdelan College, New Hampshire, where he often moderated Great Books discussion groups. He currently teaches at the University of Dallas.


Robert Alexander

 


Patrick Carmack

Patrick Carmack
B.B.A., J.D., University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University

After earning his Juris Doctorate, Pat completed numerous additional courses in psychology and philosophy. A former Administrative Law Judge at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, former Chairman of the International Caspian Society, and President of a non-profit educational foundation, Pat lives with his wife Elisabeth and their four home schooled children on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Pat moderated the first live-audio Socratic groups online (2000) and numerous online groups since, as well as a Great Books evening program in Seattle, WA.

 

Steve Bertucci
Director, Great Books Discussions

Steve speaks at education conferences throughout the country and serves on the boards of non-profit educational and arts organizations. Steve was one of the pioneers of live-audio online Socratic discussion groups. He lives with his family in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. He works with our students in 3rd grade through high school and with adult groups, as well.


Steve Bertucci

 

Perhaps the most important element of a successful discussion group is the moderator. That does not mean that the moderator is necessarily the most often heard member of the group. What it does mean is that he has more responsibility than the other members.

While Socratic discussion is a cooperative learning experience and everyone is encouraged to offer the group the benefit of his thoughts, opinions, and emotions [yes - emotions] regarding the text under discussion, it is the moderator who has his hand on the tiller and is charged with the task of keeping the group moving within the most favorable winds of conversation. At times the moderator is searching for those winds, at times he is negotiating crosscurrents and attempting to keep on a course that offers progress despite some rough going. There are times when a hint or edge of a breeze appears and he must rely on experience and intuition to find the heart of that breeze and capture some of its power.

All winds die at some point, or change direction. What then? Sometimes the best thing to do is to drop anchor and linger for a while. And with that we will end what is becoming a frayed metaphor. We could have mentioned rocky shores, undercurrents, riptides, hidden reefs, hurricanes, and even pirates. But, enough.

So. How does one characterize the work of a moderator? Is it an art or a science? Both? And what does it take to be a good Socratic discussion group moderator?

Well, we will here mention only two aspects of the work. From our point of view a good moderator recognizes that education is more than simply an intellectual exercise. This is so because a human being is more than just an intellect. He has passions, emotions, and appetites. He is an integrated being whose natural end is to be happy, to have a good life. In regard to education this means, at a minimum, that the end of education is not simply the acquisition of information. So texts are not approached primarily as deposits of information to be mined. It is wisdom that is sought.

In addition, a good moderator must also want to be with the students. Dare we say that, to be excellent at his work, he must love the students? We think so.

"One thing that has been clear as Brian has taken his SAT tests and prepared his college applications is that Brian has particular strengths
(Literature, writing, etc.) that are directly traceable to his study of the Great Books and his participation in the Great Books Program.  This program has been a real blessing for us."...C.D.


 

 

 

 

 

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