A Philosopher's Pedagogy: A Three-Part Model for School Betterment


Amber Strong Makaiau, Director of Curriculum and Research, University of Hawai‘i Uehiro
Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education, University of Hawai‘i Manoa

Benjamin Lukey, Associate Director, University of Hawai‘i Uehiro Academy for Philosophy
and Ethics in Education, University of Hawai‘i, Manoa



The pedagogical approaches used in teacher education implicitly shape teachers’ “conceptual orientations towards teaching, learning, and learning to teach” (Grossman 2005, 429). This study explores what happens when the “philosopher’s pedagogy” is used to create a new professional development model in the K-12 setting. The participants are the two authors, university faculty who conduct a self-study as they collaborate with students, teachers, and administrators in the Hawai‘i State public school system to design and implement this new professional development model. Data includes transcripts of the participants planning meetings, electronic communication, workplace documents and personal memos. A constructivist approach to grounded theory methods is used to analyze the data. The findings are described in two parts. First, the three analytic themes that emerged from the analysis of the data illustrate how the philosopher’s pedagogy helped the authors: ground the professional development model in their own experiences, find their focus, and view philosophy as the general theory of education reform. Second, each component of the three-part professional development model that emerged from this study’s findings are explained. These three parts are: (1) an educative experience, (2) mentoring and coaching from a philosopher in residence, and (3) a meaningful peer/professional community of inquiry. At the study’s conclusion, this three-part professional development model is offered as a viable alternative to traditional and usual education reform efforts. In addition, the need for future longitudinal research to examine the continued implementation and longstanding impact of the philosopher’s pedagogy threepart professional development model is suggested.

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