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Team Teaching at Penn State Abington

Opposing ViewpointsAt Penn State Abington, you can get two teachers for the price of one.

Mel Seeholtz, liberal critic of organized religion, and Bryan Polk, campus chaplain, have co-taught RL ST 140Y: “Religion in American Life and Thought” for the past two years.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, these liberal/conservative counterparts have equally shared the responsibility of teaching the class, which covers the functions and tensions of modern religion. Controversial stuff.

Rather than promoting vehement debate, the class allows the teachers to explore unconventional viewpoints. The manifest curriculum focuses on modern religion, but the latent curriculum teaches students to respect the opposing opinions of others.

The teachers build off of each other’s opinions to create an ad-lib-esque classroom experience. Guest speakers frequently make appearances to pepper the debates with additional religious perspectives (Mormons, Christian Scientists, etc.).

I wish Penn State offered more courses like this one. What do you think?

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