Daniel P. Liston, PhD
I look upon teaching as a vocation, as a calling to serve others. At the
university, in a school of education, this takes the form of engaging
students in an examination of their beliefs and understandings about teaching,
schooling, and the larger social and political orders. Because when we
teach, we teach who we are, it is helpful to have some understanding of
who we are and the kind of teachers we want to be. All of the varied conceptions
of teaching and the curriculum embody strengths and weaknesses. I strive
to engage students in exploring these strengths and weaknesses and enlarging
our conceptions of self, teaching, and schooling. In exploring these issues
with students, I come to see schooling, teaching, and the curriculum in
renewed and enriched ways.
Courses frequently taught:
EDUC 5065: Curriculum Theories
This course is an introduction to, and general exploration of, issues in curriculum. In many ways the curriculum is the centerpiece of educational activity. It includes the formal, overt, organized bodies of knowledge as well as the more tacit impressions that students receive and create in school. The curriculum encompasses students' understandings of the social and natural worlds, the moral values taught and modeled in classrooms, and the personal dispositions encouraged by a school's structure and its teachers' instruction. In short, the curriculum includes all that students learn in schools.
Few people readily agree on what ought to be included in a school's curriculum.
Some focus on "book-learning" while others emphasize experiential
approaches. Some individuals believe that schools should focus on information
and leave values to the family. Others insist that it is impossible to
delete values from any educational setting. One way to understand the
differences that exist is to look at the various stances taken. In this
class we examine the ways in which distinct educational traditions (i.e.
conservative, progressive, radical, and spiritual) identify what ought
to be taught and, to some degree, how it ought to be taught. Hopefully,
after examining the readings and engaging in discussions, each individual
will come to a better understanding of the distinct conceptions of education
and the curriculum, and a more articulated view of her/his own educational
orientation. Much of this class is an exploration and articulation of
students individual educational "values." This requires
an understanding of the distinct viewpoints offered in the readings and
a reflection on, and expression of beliefs about what ought to be taught
in schools. Within each tradition I have selected readings that should
provide some understanding of the basic tenets of that stance and other
readings that will pursue particular issues pertinent to that tradition.
We end each tradition with a reading that is less discursive and more
narrative; a work of fiction or a memoir. I have found these final selections
to provide rich and enjoyable bases for discussions.
EDUC 8804: Radical Educational Theories
In this class I provide both a general elaboration and an in-depth exploration
of radical educational theories. During the last two decades the academy
has seen an explosion of radical conceptual frameworks, empirical explorations,
and turf wars within the various radical educational arenas. Neo-Marxist
analyses of class domination, feminist delineations of patriarchy and
gender domination, culture and race-based critiques of racism and white
privilege, sexual identity explications of homophobia, and postmodern/structural
examinations and exhortations have flourished and, to some degree, recently
waned. On the periphery of these 'traditional' radical analyses is the
emancipatory spiritual critique of schooling. This critique maintains
that schools ignore key features of the human experience and as a result
leave us alienated and searching for meaning. Since the amount of work
is vast and the territory covered expansive we will have to approach the
terrain selectively, with some care and attention. Rather than touch on
each and every type of analysis, I have selected readings to introduce
essential features of the radical approach to schooling and education.