Teaching as an Act of Faith: Theory and Practice in Church-Related Higher Education

By Arlin C. Migliazzo | Go to book overview

5
Developing a Christian
Perspective on the Nature
of Mathematics

Harold Heie


THE NEED TO KNOW: WHAT A STUDENT TAUGHT ME ABOUT TEACHING

MOST OF MY EDUCATION has taken place after my formal schooling ended. As an engineering student, my postsecondary schooling was highly technical and specialized. The subjects that I never studied in college are legion, including history, philosophy, and all the social sciences. And following the pattern of my childhood days when I would rather play stickball on the streets of Brooklyn than read a book, I only read what I had to—the assigned reading in my courses. When I received my doctorate, I was about as illiberally educated as one could be. I had to do a lot of catching up. And that is what I was doing one day early in my teaching career at the King's College in Briarcliff Manor, New York, as I sat at my office desk reading the fifth edition of Introduction to Psychology by Hilgard, Atkinson, and Atkinson.1 A student wandered by my office, a bright student who would flunk out of college in about six weeks. He was dumbfounded when he saw that I was reading the text for his Psychology 101 course, the cover of which he had not yet opened. He asked me why I was reading Hilgard, Atkinson, and Atkinson, and I told him. He then made an insightful comment that revolutionized my view of teaching: "The difference between you and me, Dr.

1 Ernest R. Hilgard, Richard C. Atkinson, and Rita L. Atkinson, Introduction
to Psychology
, fifth ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971).

-95-

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