Teaching

My teaching experience is broad Interview with Dean Matsonand eclectic. I teach philosophy courses at Phillips Andover, including Ethics, Proof and Persuasion, and higher-level philosophy courses. As a doctoral student at UNC-Chapel Hill, I had considerable experience teaching a wide variety of courses to undergraduates. As a Juilliard-trained musician, I have had the pleasure of training younger musicians in turn. And as part of my work in the Outreach Program at the Parr Center for Ethics, I have coached the most competitively successful high school ethics bowl team in the nation.

This means that when it comes to teaching, I not only use best practices from philosophy, but borrow techniques and strategies from performance. Musicians, of course, are trained to interpret and express works of art to an audience. Ethics bowl builds a distinctive skill set: students not only reason about ethics, they must do so out loud, in coordination with others. These kinds of teaching require that I help my students master a skill that they will be able to exercise outside my company or outside the classroom, as well impart a passion for what they are learning to do.

As a result, I believe in a two-pronged commitment in my teaching. First, a good philosophy class should improve students’ capacity to think and write in precise, careful ways (their philosophical “technique”). Second, it also should also be incredibly exciting, helping to introduce students to the great human questions and motivate them to articulate their views about those questions and their possible answers (their philosophical “expression”).