Teaching Philosophy

The ultimate goal of my facilitation in the field of peacebuilding education is for violence to be eliminated, justice to be realized and peace to be achieved. Whether this justice and peace is individual and personal, community based, national or international, those seeking justice and peace for themselves and their communities, learn by discovery through a practice/reflection/correction cycle. Due to the complexity of conflict, it takes a learning environment diverse and responsive enough to activate the creativity and imagination inherent, though sometimes latent, in each human mind. The use of any technology, from a chalk board and manila paper to synchronous webinars and video conferencing will depend on the area of the world where I am training and the availability of things such as reliable electricity, a projector and the internet.*

Participants bring a life experience to the learning environment and as a result will learn best when I act as a facilitator, structuring input and activities that value and respect what they know already while challenging unproductive and unhelpful assumptions. Role plays, case studies, group work, and reflecting on critical questions are all tools I use in facilitated learning. I believe that a good parable or story can illustrate the core of an important idea and thus I increasingly use my own life experience as well as good videos to encapsulate the wisdom and experience I seek to convey in narrative form.

I see the learning environment as a cross cultural meeting of people. I have learned, through 30 years of blundering through Africa and Asia, that the best posture to survive cultural disorientation is adopting a learning posture. I approach each new training and/or classroom event as an opportunity for my own learning. Increasingly the students I encounter are technologically savvy in ways I can quickly lose touch with. In order to stay relevant, it is imperative that my technological competence keep pace with my pedagogical and content competence.

As I gain experience in facilitated learning, I am increasingly aware that technology in the classroom is a bit like conflict. It is ever present and can be harnessed for either constructive or divisive purposes. Constrictive in that, in its best form, technology can unify and bring people together. In its worst usage, alienate people and contribute to the (digital) divide already at work in much of the world.

I am committed to education for the promotion of the highest common good.