Who knows what?

Part of my own process for teaching is figuring out what I know that is useful to share, but another part is thinking about what the person or people I’m talking to, and where they’re coming from. This is something people in various Pagan communities end up doing a lot, but I’ve noticed it’s a part we don’t necessary talk about, much. I want to talk more in the future about scaffolding knowledge and building in clues people can pick up on (even if they’re new to a subject) but to do that, I need to start with talking about […]

What does religious literacy involve?

Last time, I talked about why religious literacy is important. The next obvious question is what things go into religious literacy and then how you can build some up. There’s really two different faces to religious literacy. There’s having good religious literacy about your own religion (or spirituality, or path) and there’s having good religious literacy about other people’s religions.

Religious literacy (and the modern Pagan)

Several recent questions in my job as a librarian have me thinking about the many kinds of literacy out there. Literacy literacy, as it were (reading and writing). Digital literacy. Math literacy. Science literacy. Emotional literacy. But there’s a kind that doesn’t get talked about very much, which is religious literacy. The school I went to for the last two years of high school (which was a non-sectarian boarding school) had a requirement for students who were there three or four years of taking a philosophy or religion class, so there were a wide range to select from. I took […]

What does it mean to be an expert?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be an expert. And what it means when we aren’t. Most of us have dozens of topics where we know a bit, but we’re not an expert. We have some experiences, but they’re personal understanding. How we put what we know as individuals into a larger picture, and what that means for evaluating information we get – from both experts and non-experts.’ It’s something that comes up in various Pagan communities all the time: someone says something, sounds like an authority, and yet, when you dig into it, it’s not […]

Cycles of research

I spent last weekend not getting much done. Not for want of things on my to-do list. I have 118 things in my writing topics list – and that doesn’t count another two lists at home. A long-term research project I’ve been circling around getting started. Books and webpages to read. This morning, coming into work, I got to thinking about cycles and how they fit into research.

3 things for better teaching (and better learning)

  One of the things I love about teaching is figuring out how a given group of people’s reacting to what I’m teaching on that day. There’s plenty that’s challenging about this, of course, but I love seeing what examples work, which topics get a lot of interest. Of course, that’s one of the most complicated things about teaching. You can take the same material, and present it in the same way, to people, and get two entirely different reactions depending on a whole bunch of things, most of which you (as the teacher) can’t control. Teachers who teach several […]

Learning and teaching

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we teach and how we learn the past month or two. They’re things a lot of people have had some great experiences with, and some lousy experiences with. They’re also things where the ways we learn in school or college or other formal learning experiences often isn’t a good fit for the kind of learning we do as Pagans. Why am I think about it even more right now? Well, in my case, it’s the combo of having had two interesting (and very different) recent learning experiences, plus I’m prepping a workshop on […]

Covers and Context

Welcome! One of the things I’ve learned as a librarian is that people have vastly different experiences with how they go about finding information (or not finding it, as the case may be) and that that happens for all sorts of different reasons. That’s particularly true for many Pagans I’ve talked to over the years. Sometimes there are good reasons for that. The methods of research taught in many schools work well for some academic topics and projects, but not nearly as well for personal projects, especially ones that involve emotions, religion, magic, or other things that have an experiential aspect. […]