I took philosophy of education fall of my senior year with Kyle Driggers, and it was great. Kyle is young (a millenial!) and super chill in class. He cares about your personal interest and investment in the course and clearly wants his students to succeed. He's flexible with deadlines and the order of readings in the syllabus, and always spurs interesting discussions in class. As a CC senior who's taken other philosophy courses too, the syllabus was pretty familiar, and only contained one author I hadn't read before. I thought that this would make the class boring but it was actually nice because we read different sections in texts than I had read in other classes, and I was able to explore more in depth some authors I may have thought I already understood. Highly recommend if you're an upperclassman looking for something thought-provoking and chill, or if you're an underclassman looking to get into philosophy and learn more about education.
This is for PHIL V2100 (Philosophy of Education). Prof. Moffett offered great guidance, innovative thinking and helped facilitate really eye-opening conversation during every class session. Each class was centered around the specific reading required for that day, but we were in no way limited to solely talking about the text. We were were allowed to pull in from other readings, personal experiences and observations, random tangents, etc. In fact, there were times where several of us didn't do the reading, but had no problem contributing significantly to discussion. Each class I learned something new. On top of that, Prof. Moffett was very laid back. He let us define what things like "class discussion" or a "philosophy paper" meant to us. He truly allowed us to have more agency than what is common at Columbia in what our teaching and learning would consist of. We read works by Paulo Friere, John Dewey, Jacques Ranciere, Sophocles, Plato, etc. so were engaged with prolific ideas constantly, and at times some of the readings (like one on the birth of Athena) seemed unrelated, but at the end, almost all of us had epiphanies realizing how connected everything was. If you'd like a relaxed yet rewarding discussion-based class, I suggest you take one with Prof. Moffett. My final grade was in the A-range and I believe most people did really well unless they missed an inexcusable number of classes.
I was really excited to take this class after receiving the syllabus because the readings seemed enjoyable and interesting. However, this class is all based on you and your classmates. The professor pretty much sits at the front and facilitates the discussion. When I approached her for help prior to the midterm, she simply waved me away, telling me to just work on whatever I had. Basically, it all depends on your understanding and grasping of the material. If you understand and like educational philosophy, like Rousseau's Emile (which is what the class generally revolves around), then you'll enjoy this class.
Think of Philosophy of Education with Patricia Rohrer (a Teacher's College Professor sent to teach an undergraduate class at Barnard) as Lit Hum for that particular topic. It was basically organized in the same way, around a big table in which people through out ideas and the teacher responded to them. The texts were usually interesting enough, though it stopped there. Rohrer knew enough about the texts to give some thoughts on them, but she was more open to simply being a facilitator, which then threw the quality of the class on the students, and your engagement would really depend on how much and how well you read. Just to give an idea of the texts we readâ€”Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, John Dewey, Paulo Freire, Sarte
Philosophy of education was one of the most thought provoking and exciting classes I've ever taken at Barnard. The class is based on discussion. Professor Gill is really intelligent and upbeat. She also helped me tremendously with my writing. I'd recommend Professor Gill to anyone and everyone!
Prof Gill is an ex school teacher who thinks of her students as high school kids. Contrary to what the below reviewers said, I don't think she expects much at all from her students except good grammar and all that high school bull. And her students oblige her by acting like school kids. I won't deny that the woman is pretty smart, but for a person whose focus is educational theory, she doesn't run a very good classroom. We students are supposed to lead the way in discussion, but the discussion inevitably degraded into inane crap about some student's experience last summer or something similarly stupid. Or, worse yet, for one of the last books we read (Paolo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed), we spent the bulk of classtime calling out concepts that we didn't understand from Freire's work with her writing them on the board. We pretty much filled the whole board with Freire's confusing words - and then Gill didn't explain anything about them. All she did was to draw lines connecting words that were somehow linked together - but we didn't know what he damned words meant! The woman cannot teach herself out of a paper bag. And how are you supposed to take notes to that? Write down a bunch of words and draw some lines? Oh, and half of every class would be spent talking about class organization issues. Who wanted to meet with the proffessor this week, who couldn't make it to class next week . . . It was absolutely infuriating. Straight out of high school. Yeah, fine - the woman is pretty smart. But she can't teach.
OK, first of all-- I was really surprised to read the reviews posted on Professor Gill. Yes-- she does challenge her students. However, Gill is one of the best professors I've had at Barnard/Columbia and I cannot recommend her highly enough. I would encourage any other student to take a class with Gill before graduating. Give her enough time; she'll be the next Dalton. (You heard it here first) She's dynamic, inspired, sincere and yet still grounded. I don't really understand how anyone could leave one of her classes without a profound respect for Gill as a person and as a professor. This was the kind of class where you bonded with your classmates whom you never met before over how wonderful the professor was. You got the sense that Gill is one of those people that lives her life on a fuller, richer, deeper level and this vitality permeates her classes. As far as the issues raised in the other posts: Gill is not married to the syllabus, but is by no means disorganized-- she's just realistic and will take more or less time as needed for certain subjects. She does have high expectations but not unrealistic ones. This is not the kind of class that you can sleep through-- but trust me, you'll never want to. Her classes do seem to be run more like seminars with a lot of discussion. She's sensitive to those who are quieter, but still encourages them to participate. There was no favoritism in my class with her. My only complaint would be that she likes to understand her students, but can label them too quickly. I don't think she locks into those opinions though.
Ok, so, She's harder than nails. But I can't fault her for that. I loved every second of the class; and she really forced me to go above and beyond. If you want a good grade, forget it. If you want a great experience that will truly make you an awesome student, a must-have. However, her level of expectation is extremely high which I feel is discouraging to all. But she will let you rewrite papers after she destroys them, so its all good.
Nothing is ever enough for Professor Gill. Her expectations of students are very high, often irrationally so. She likes "deep thinkers" who participate frequently, and quiet students should beware before taking her course. While she was approachable to students, she was very forgetful and scatter-brained. Essentially, to be her student is very frustrating because her assignments are so unclear and she is very disorganized!!!