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Soul-full Teaching: Engaging with Students to Transform Values into Action

gary schneiderBackground Experience: Gary Schneider is in his third career (ministry, clinical social work, and higher education)and currently serves as the Director of Graduate Field Placement / Division of Social Work. For the past several years he has been the director of field placement (internships) for the Division of Social Work at the University of Memphis. Recently, he completed an Ed.D. degree. His dissertation research explored the perceptions of seven higher education professors in regard to how they understand their spirituality to inform their teaching philosophy.



This workshop will provide participants with an experiential learning opportunity that helps them explore the ways in which their spirituality informs their teaching philosophy. Participants will have an opportunity to ground their work with students by exploring the ways in which their own values inspire their action as teachers and the ways in which their teaching provides a framework for students to be drawn into this transformative exchange.

Session Experience: Whereas many other sessions likely will be directed toward the changes that participants hope to stir among the students with whom they work or the techniques they might employ to engender such change, this session will be directed toward creating a space in which participants have the opportunity to explore their own meaning-making systems and the ways in which their values shape their work with students. It is intended to be a very personal session that invites participants to delve into and embrace their identities as change makers among their students.

“My presentation will lay the groundwork for the session, but the bulk of the work to be done will be that of the participants themselves as they engage in a right brain activity (of their choosing) intended to surface and to celebrate the layers of belief—of experience—of meaning—that shape their choices as educators. Based on past experience in similar venues, I believe that participants will find this session to be fun, interesting, productive, and memorable.”

Extending the Experience: Participants will be invited to engage in an activity that helps them investigate their part in the educational exchange in a non-linear manner. Construction of this experience, among others similarly engaged, is intended to whet participants’ appetites for further exploration of these concerns through use of the methods discussed and, possibly, to spur them to consider application of similar techniques in their own qualitative research studies.