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Teaching World Religions as Philosophia

Awarded Grant
Haar Farris, Matthew
Northern Michigan University

Learning Abstract :
The purpose of this fellowship was to conduct a pedagogical experiment via three sections of a lower-division World Religions course, over the course of two semesters. The experiment was motivated by the following questions: How can the study of religion be taught as philosophia, i.e. the pursuit and practice of living well? What would it "look like" to teach World Religions as a process whose ultimate educational objective is philosophia? The project confirmed that a pedagogy of philosophia can be tremendously valuable for students learning how to study world religions, particularly when coupled with a student-centered approach in a genuine learning community that promotes individual student exploration, self-reflexivity, and critical examination. A pedagogy of philosophia gives students an experience of learning religions for the sake of living well, a skill set they can utilize throughout their lives. Philosophia is a foreign pursuit for most students, so course pedagogy must be constantly reinforced, re-explained, and emphasized.
Wabash Center