Professor Mordechai Gordon
Mordechai Gordon doesn't let his education students get away with learning the bare minimum skills - he pushes them to consider the larger philosophical questions involved in being a teacher.
As a result, he often hears from students at the end of the semester, or even years later, thanking him for helping them to think through what it means to be an educator.
"I enjoy helping students explore big, philosophical ideas and also examine themselves and how their own identity comes into play in teaching," said Gordon, a professor of education who came to Quinnipiac in 2001.
With a doctorate in philosophy of education, his areas of expertise include the foundations of education, humor, and exploring how education, philosophy and psychology intersect.
Within his classroom, Gordon asks his students to go beyond simply learning teaching techniques and curriculum development. In one class, students use Gordon's 2005 book, "Ten Common Myths in American Education," which is based on his years of teaching the foundations of education course to teacher candidates. In the book, Gordon explores assumptions widely held by many teacher candidates; for example, the idea that more testing results in higher standards. "I challenge my students to think critically about foundational questions in education as well as current issues that schools and teachers are facing," he said.
In addition to his teaching, Gordon has published an extensive number of research articles and books, earning him the Quinnipiac Outstanding Faculty Scholar award in 2009. He was the first education faculty member to earn the distinction, which is given to two or three faculty members each year.
Gordon's most recent area of research is on the philosophical analysis of humor and laughter. He has published several articles on the subject and is currently completing a book that will be a collection of essays that consider humor from several angles, including the importance of learning to laugh at oneself and the role of humor in close relationships.
Gordon's approach to teaching supports the growth and development of each student. "I don't lecture very much," Gordon says. "Rather, I facilitate a kind of Socratic discussion, and use various techniques including group work, blogging and presentations."
"I raise questions that come out of texts we are reading and help students delve deeper into those questions. I push them to examine some of their assumptions and critically reflect on these questions. It's a constructivist classroom where students are active and not just passively listening."
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