Sunday, January 12, 2014

We teach WHO we are (Professor Jim Plueddemann)

Their eyes shined and smiles lite up their faces. Finally, after years of hearing about him, reading his articles, and striving to live out his philosophy of education, they were able to meet Dr. Jim Plueddemann face to face and sit for a week under his tutorage.

Alfredo served as his translator all week.

To the CCI/LA instructors Dr. Jim Plueddemann is a famous person.
So, all the emotions and excitement was evident on their faces as they interacted with him, observed him, took copious notes both on the content of what he taught but perhaps more importantly on HOW he taught. We teach WHO we are as much or more than what we teach and Jim did not disappoint us.

I watched our professors observe Jim and see with their own eyes his masterful way of teaching and I was filled with such joy to be able to share him with them. It is a gift of experiential understanding since I have described him for years, but now they understand from their own experience.
When they are back in their countries teaching, I pray the image of the gracious, kind, and humble way he accompanies his students and teaches them will come to mind to inspire and guide them.
Norma said: "His gracious manner of teaching made the hours fly by. He is noble, accessible, simply profound and personable. What I noticed was how enriched he is by others cultures such that he respected ours and did not attempt to impose his culture on us. I felt respected."
Jim would explain a complex idea like power distance (definition of power distance) and then invite the class to share personal examples related to this theory. But then Jim doesn’t just smile, nod his head and say: Thank you for sharing. He prompts us to critically reflect on our own experience and on God’s word by intently listening to us, then deepening the dialogue with questions like:

  • Why do you ask that question?
  • What problems are you facing related to your question? 
When Evelyn was asked how this time with Jim fortified her as a professor? She responded:  Just like I study the content, I will study the student. We all observed how well Jim knew us because he had studied our biographies and he took that into account as he taught us.
What do you remember about your favorite teacher doing in class that really impacted you?

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