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Monday, June 27, 2016

Benedictine values remain key to good teaching | St. Cloud Times

This is the opinion of St. John's University President Michael Hemesath.

Story Highlights 
  • Amid debates on pedagogy, don't get swept up by factors such as technology

Photo: Michael Hemesath
St. John's University President Michael Hemesath  writes " Benedict's wisdom about listening, hospitality and community gives educators valuable insights to helping students learn."

Since at least the time of John Dewey, over 100 years ago, there have been debates about educational reform and pedagogy. What are the most effective ways to help students learn? What does the latest educational research say about learning outcomes?

These conversations begin with preschool and continue through graduate school. There is the Montessori Model for children at the preschool level; there are debates about tracking in elementary school; there are self-paced learning and competency-based models; universities offer both large lectures and small seminars. While discussion-based learning is dominant at many liberal arts colleges and most graduate programs, technology has added another dimension to the conversation, with distance learning and flipped classrooms, among other innovations.

At St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict, our faculty are engaged in these conversations as we seek to provide the best possible learning experiences for our students. But there are times I worry that we are overthinking these matters.

During some recent conversations with faculty colleagues, I was reminded that the 1,500-year-old 
Benedictine tradition of our monks and nuns has some wisdom about teaching and education that may not be trendy but has the distinct benefit of being effective.

Source: St. Cloud Times