Teachers need to participate in the exchanges around education, especially as these concern freedom of speech and professional prerogative. We need to define the territory of education and we must find common ground with both our allies and our adversaries
I do not condone the use of the professor's lectern as bully pulpit for personal political or ideological views; my views have been crafted in graduate classes over three decades of teaching at CU Denver and I have worked hard to present a balanced view of the problems that face us as teachers. I have successfully (according to course evaluations) orchestrated conversations among individuals from both ends of the political spectrum, between conservative Christians, confirmed atheists, and devout Moslems, and between adherents of opposing pedagogical and ideological perspectives. I hope that individuals from all walks of life are able to benefit from my teaching without feeling attacked.
At the same time, it is impossible to present an objective view of learning and teaching, so you have a right to know who I am and what my biases are. In the spirit of full disclosure, I hereby assert the following to be facts:
- I was born in 1947 in a small mountain town, Gunnison, Colorado. I have one younger brother, Andrew J. My parents were both college educated and together ran the Clarke Agency, real estate and insurance. I was the third generation of Clarkes and Bomers to live in the town; my aunt still lives there. My father died of a heart attack when I was 16.
- I am married to the watercolor artist Patricia Barr Clarke, whom I met in Costa Rica in 1966; we have three adult children, Amy, Julia, and Ben, and three grandchildren, Evan Benjamin, Hannah Rose, and William Austen.
- I live in an urban neighborhood in Denver, Colorado, and I belong to the large and racially diverse Park Hill United Methodist Church.
- I received my B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, my M.A. from the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and my PhD from the University of Michigan. At CU I was on the varsity wrestling team.
- I speak English (native), Spanish (fluent) and Arabic (basic).
- I am a registered Democrat. I am pro-choice and anti-war.
Therefore, to the extent that labels are informative, the following might be accurately applied to me: native English speaking multi-lingual white middle class educated progressive passivist anglo-saxon protestant heterosexual able bodied jock urban academic male.
Until fall of 2007 when she died, I had dinner with my mother every Monday night and I have lived in the same house for 30 years; you might reasonably conclude that I am pretty set in my ways.
However, I have traveled enough to know that there are as many ways of looking at the world as there are people living in it; I believe it is possible for people with profound and irreconcilable differences to live and work peaceably together.
I have collected my thoughts on these issues in two books: Common Ground, Contested Territory, (2007) and A Place to Stand: Essays for Educators in Troubled Times (2003), both published by the University of Michigan Press (http://www.press.umich.edu/title).
My students at University of Colorado Denver:
I enjoy teaching at CU Denver because the students are thoughtful, hard-working and critical adults. They are clear on who pays my salary and they want their money's worth. They are pragmatic idealists, people who got into teaching because they want to contribute to the greater good, but they want information and insights that they can use on Monday morning.
Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development:
I have been at UCD since 1977, and at one time I taught all of the courses in the Bilingual/ESL program. And, I have taught in all three of the SEHD degree programs - Teacher Education, the Linguistically Diverse Education MA, and the PhD in Educational Leadership and Innovation. But most recently these are the courses I teach.
- Psychology and Practice of Individual and Systems Change - EDLI 7300
- Techniques for Teaching English as a Second Language - LLC 5820
- Seminar and Practicum in Literacy, Language, ESL, and Bilingual Education - LLC 6912
- Foundations of Language, Literacy, and Culture - LLC 5910
My research interests:
Multi level action research Literacy and language teaching
Systems and systems change ESL materials development
Teacher preparation Second language acquisition
Mountain Biking, skiing, fishing
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