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Teaching as if Life Matters

, 224 pages
March 2011



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Teaching as if Life Matters

The Promise of a New Education Culture

What would it be like to teach as if life matters? To move beyond the typical regimen of classroom exercises, homework, and standardized tests and to guide students through life’s most important lessons? Dissatisfied with traditional educational models, Christopher Uhl and Dana L. Stuchul asked themselves these questions. What they discovered will open the eyes of today’s educators to a whole new way of teaching.

The authors promote an approach that fosters self-knowledge, creativity, curiosity, and an appreciation for our planet. Central to their philosophy is the question of what we humans need in order to live meaningful lives. The answer: healthy relationships with ourselves, each other, and the world.

Teaching as if Life Matters is an open letter to teachers offering guidance and encouragement for nurturing students in ways that make teaching and learning meaningful. In short, it is a passionate plea for transformative teaching. Informed by the alternative educational philosophies of John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner, and Ivan Illich, this book invites teachers and students to participate in a new culture of education.

This fascinating and urgently needed book will inspire today’s educators to inspire their students.

Christopher Uhl is a professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University. His 30-year teaching career has been marked by experimentation and innovation. It is in this vein, and because of the unfolding environmental crisis, that he wrote the book Developing Ecological Consciousness: Path to a Sustainable World. Dana L. Stuchul taught high school chemistry and environmental science before her strong interest in interdisciplinary teaching sent her to graduate school. Today she teaches in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Penn State. Inspired by Ivan Illich, her scholarship focuses on the arts of living, suffering, and dying.

"This book is Uhl's lifetime perspective on education... Uhl's ultimate question, 'What really matters?,' stalks all of us, but his final insights about 'coming alive' in teaching and in life are his true ethos."

"This is the first book I have reviewed that directly impacted my behavior during the process of reading."

"A thought-provoking book that often caused me to stop and reflect about the meaning of my work as a teacher and mentor."

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