The Open Door VIDEO PODCAST On Learning and Teaching

Listen to “WCAT Radio The Open Door (June 26, 2020)” on Spreaker.


This week on The Open Door we discuss, once more, what makes for good teaching and learning, especially in the context of the liberal arts. Not surprisingly we’re keenly interested in teaching and learning at the Catholic University. Our special guest is the distinguished educator Lee S. Shulman. He is Charles E. Ducommon Professor of Education Emeritus, Stanford University and President Emeritus, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 


  1. In your essay “Making Differences: A Table of Learning” you explore the role of categories. Jacques Maritain urged that we “distinguish to unite.” How can categories help us do so?
  2. Are categories first and foremost tools? Or might we, going beyond the instrumental,  see them as key to “chunks” of the real?  
  3. In light of your table, what do you make of the Catholic Action motto “Observe, act, judge!”
  4. What’s the difference between “pedagogies of engagement” and “teachers’ tricks”?
  5. You stress the importance of learning to think like a lawyer or a doctor or a pastor. 
  6. Do you see a connection here with Alasdair MacIntyre’s emphasis on the goods internal to a practice?
  7. Can pastoral formation be compatible with expressive individualism
  8. You write about the balance between the cognitive and the affective. What do you see as their principle of unity
  9. A good taxonomy, it seems, should function as a “relational heuristic.” Does the common call for instituting “best practices” tend to blunt relational differences
  10. Should we apply promising taxonomies to our own activities?
  11. You cite Alfred North Whitehead’s injunction: “Seek generalizations—and distrust them.” Whitehead approves Cardinal Newman’s “Non in dialectica complacuit Deo salvum facere populum suum.” Indeed, Whitehead writes that it “should be the motto of every metaphysician,” and adds that “The speculative methods of metaphysics are dangerous” but so too is “all Adventure [and] Adventure belongs to the essence of civilization.” What do you make of this comment?