c. lynne hannah

Department of Education                                                                                                                           Knutti Hall 109

Shepherd University                                                                                                                                  304-876-5279

Shepherdstown, WV 25443                                                                                                                      channah@shepherd.edu


When we struggle together to understand
we uncover and overcome
fear of losing
courage and confidence.
about what's going to happen,
we gain courage
to understand the truth
which entails sacrifice --
sweat, blood
cold and warm.

excerpted from

Summer Youth Leadership Institute Group Poem: LOVE by Naomi Ayala
El Centro de la Raza


From Thomas Paine's COMMON SENSE written in 1776

 . . . prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often: because as the elected might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the electors . . . they will mutually and naturally support each other, and on this, depends the strength of government and the happiness of the governed.



The great disease of our times is meaninglessness. If fresh wellsprings of hope are to be found, we must first cut through the collective hallucination that 'there is no alternative' to nihilism. We must dig where we stand. We must get beneath the grassroots of popular culture and down to the eternal taproot.

Alastair McIntosh



Paulo Freire



Hi and welcome to my home page. I am c. lynne hannah, a professor in the Department of Education at Shepherd University.

My philosophy of education is grounded in critical, feminist, and constructivist theory. I believe students learn from their interactions with the world and use what they learn to act upon their world. How we act depends greatly on how we are treated, by each other and by society.

If, as teachers, we demonstrate a commitment to social justice by interrupting and questioning oppression and teaching critical thinking and problem solving skills, our students will be better prepared to face the demands of the 21st century; including our ongoing attempts to treat our fellow inhabitants of this earth with reverence and respect.

If, as teacher educators, we encourage our future teachers to carefully examine their own schooling experiences in light of ideological positions we can introduce to them and practice with them the tools, skills, and dispositions necessary to make our classrooms academically rigorous, vital, and humane.

I believe that to be human is to be learning. Our schools and classrooms need to be sites which ignite, encourage, foster, and empower.

As you examine the words below, you can let the authors i have sampled from speak for themselves or you can click on "my interpretation" to see what these words and ideas mean to me. If after you read these words, you wish to return to the homepage, just hit the "Back" button.

Critical pedagogy is all about dialogue, so please feel free to email me and let me know what you are thinking or ask questions about what you encounter here. Or as Walt Whitman so eloquently stated in his poem,
"For You,"

Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me,
why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?

Education is much more than a matter of imparting the

knowledge and skills by which narrow goals are achieved.

It is also about opening the child's eyes to the needs and

rights of others. We must show children that their actions

have a universal dimension. And we must somehow find a

way to build on their natural feelings of empathy so that

they come to have a sense of responsibility toward others.

H. H. The Dalai Lama



No more war
No more hate
Women can fight
But talking's great . . .
Like mother nature feeds the world
A woman will think of her child first
No more sons dying young
Women bore sons for living

Joan Armatrading

my interpretation


Impermanence is good news.
Without impermanence, nothing is possible.
With impermanence, every door is open for change.
Impermanence is an instrument for our liberation.

Thich Nhat Hanh

my interpretation


The Haiku below provide another way to demonstrate some of my strongest beliefs as a teacher.


This world is but a single dewdrop, set
Trembling upon a stem, and yet . . . and yet . . .


my interpretation


Unseen Till Now

How visibly the gentle morning airs
Stir in the caterpillar's silky hairs.


my interpretation


The Task
O timid snail, by nature weak and lowly,
Crawl up the cone of Fuji slowly, slowly.


my interpretation


I include a playful quote, which hides within it one of my deepest convictions.

"But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care.
And for my part, I shall not wholly fail my task . . .

if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come.
For I am also a steward. Did you not know? "

Gandalf in The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien

my interpretation


Out of infinite desires rise
finite deeds like weak fountains
that fall back in early trembling arcs.

Rainer Maria Rilke

my interpretation

The only thing worth globalizing is dissent

Arundhati Roy

my interpretation


Although attempting to bring about world peace
through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult,
it is the only way . . .
Peace must first be developed within an individual.

H. H. The Dalia Lama

You had to decide:
Am I going to change the world,
or am I going to change me?
Or maybe change the world a little bit,
just by changing me?

Sadie Delany

my interpretation

. . . radical pedagogy as a form of cultural politics has to be understood as a concrete set of practices that produces social forms through which different types of knowledge, sets of experience and subjectivities are constructed.

Henry A Giroux

Courses I Teach at Shepherd University

EDUC 150 Seminar in Teaching
All students wishing to complete the Teacher Education Program must take this course. Students examine the current state of affairs in education and how others perceive the profession. We examine Paulo Freire's philosophy of Liberatory Education and how it has shaped the Shepherd College Teacher Education Program: Teacher As Reflective Problem Solver. In this course, students learn about the Shepherd College Teacher Education Program, including the philosophy and the required coursework.

EDUC 200 Foundations of American Education
This course encourages an examination of the relationship between the school as a social institution and the larger society. We accomplish this mainly through a combination of philosophical, socio-historical, and problem-oriented inquiry into that relationship. I believe that a teacher who has developed an understanding of the vital relationships between school and society is in a position to see her or his professional roles beyond the narrow confines of the classroom, and out of such a perspective, will emerge a more sensitive and effective teacher.
How has education in the United States taken the forms that it has? Who and what ideas have shaped the theory and practice of education? For whom are the dominating educational ideas most beneficial and whom do they disadvantage? Do existing educational experiences develop and extend the practice of democracy and social justice? Is education the great equalizer? These are but a few questions that I believe a critically minded teacher should not only be familiar with but should engage through reading, writing, media observation, and discussion. This course is designed with this in mind. What are your questions about schooling and education in the United States of America?

EDUC 320 The Social and Psychological Conditions of Learning
Eleanor Duckworth speaks my mind when she says, "What I love to do is to teach teachers. I like to stir up their thoughts about how they learn; about how on earth anyone can help anyone else learn; about what it means to know something."(p. 481, 1986, Teaching as research. Harvard Educational Review, 56). My goal is to provide the opportunity for all of us to participate in an environment supportive of reflective inquiry into the nature of knowing. A major focus is epistemology, a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge and the way we come to know things. This is at the heart of what we do as teachers. Learners are active and determined epistemologists, as they construct an understanding of their world. They intuitively are focused on how they come to know the world and rely upon those initial epistemological strategies as they interact with others in their environment, including school. As teachers it is fundamentally important that we acquire deep insights into the social and psychological conditions that have shaped our learners as well as the conditions that we can create to maximize our learners' development into empowered human beings living fruitfully in a democratic society.

I Believe that . . .-- The child's own instincts and powers furnish the material and give the starting point for all education. Save as the efforts of the educator connect with some activity which the child is carrying on of his own initiative independent of the educator, education becomes reduced to a pressure from without . . .Without insight into the psychological structure and activities of the individual, the educative process will, therefore, be haphazard and arbitrary. (John Dewey, (1897). My pedagogic creed. The School Journal, 54(3), pp. 77-80.)

In this course we will examine the interplay of learners, teachers, parents, curriculum, schools, media, and society in the learning enterprise. We will carry out these examinations through observations, discussions, readings, and writings.

There is no such thing as a neutral educational process. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes, "the practice of freedom," the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. Richard Shaull, (1971). Forward in Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, p. 15. New York: Herder and Herder.)

As a five-hour course, it will require a great deal of attention. I do not assume that my job as instructor is to provide ready-made knowledge or answers. Rather, we have a shared responsibility for constructing relevancy. We are all learners and we will collaboratively develop our understanding of human development. Through this shared course encounter we will construct new understandings of each other, education, and ourselves. This depends, however, upon each of us investing the necessary time, energy, trust, and attention to make it work. I want to learn from you and expect you to learn from each other. We are meaning-makers and our challenge is to relate that awareness to our role as teachers. As teachers and prospective teachers, it is crucially important that we cultivate a deep and caring understanding of the students we teach. I look forward to a challenging and intellectually rewarding experience.

As a classroom community, our capacity to generate excitement is deeply affected by our interest in one another, in hearing one another's voices, and in recognizing one another's presence. (bell hooks, 1994, Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom, p. 8. New York: Routledge.)

EDUC 460 Senior Capstone Seminar
"Hope is something shared between teachers and students. The hope that we can learn together, teach together, be curiously impatient together, produce something together, and resist together the obstacles that prevent the flowering of our joy. In truth, from the point of view of the human condition, hope is an essential component and not an intruder. It would be a serious contradiction of what we are if, aware of our unfinishedness, we were not disposed to participate in a constant movement of search, which in its very nature is an expression of hope." (p. 69).
"My role in the world is not simply that of someone who registers what occurs but of someone who has an input into what happens." (p.73)
"There are insistent questions that we all have to ask and that make it clear to us that it is not possible to study simply for the sake of studying. As if we could study in a way that really had nothing to do with that distant, strange world out there. For what and for whom do I study? And against what and against whom?" (p. 73). Paulo Freire (1998) Pedagogy of freedom: Ethics, democracy, and civic courage. NY: Rowman & Littlefield.

In this Capstone Seminar, we will interrogate this notion of hope with regard to teaching and learning. I want you to reflectively review your professional education experience through readings, study, and the development of a senior project, with an eye towards your "unfinishedness" as a learner and a teacher. This project provides you the opportunity not only to examine your questions about learning, teaching, or schooling, (possibly looking at issues which prevent the joy in learning or teaching), but also to learn how you, as a teacher, can continue your learning. As teachers, we are change agents in the lives of our students. I hope that in this course we will have the opportunity to examine this notion. How can we as teachers operate on the world to make it a better place for ourselves and for those who look to us for guidance?
The senior research project is developed in collaboration with one or more of the following persons: advisor, seminar instructor, other faculty, classroom teacher, or other appropriately designated person(s). In addition to class meetings, you need to arrange periodic individual conferences with your project advisor for reporting on and reviewing progress.

EDUC 400 Student Teaching Seminar
"The work of a teacher--exhausting, complex, idiosyncratic, never twice the same--is, at its heart, an intellectual and ethical enterprise. Teaching is the vocation of vocations, a calling that shepherds a multitude of other callings. It is an activity that is intensely practical and yet transcendent, brutally matter-of-fact, and yet fundamentally a creative act. Teaching begins in challenge and is never far from mystery." (Ayers, 2001, To teach: The journey of a teacher, 2nd ed.New York: Teachers College Press, p. 122).

This seminar is a three credit-hour course designed to provide student teachers the opportunity to reflect, problem-solve, and learn from one another in a community. It coincides with your student teaching placements. The seminar provides a venue for examining the intersection of previous course work and field work, your current experiences as a teacher, exchange with peers and professionals, written material, seminar experiences and personal reflection.

The class sessions are a place for collaborative discussions revolving around issues involved in learning and teaching. Through discussions and personal reflection, I hope you develop an understanding of your style of teaching, learning, and interacting with students and professionals. This goal will be realized only if all of us are willing to bring dilemmas, good things that happen, questions, or problems from our classroom experiences to the Seminar for discussion. I believe that we can all benefit from hearing each other's perspectives and ideas and that through discussing these issues we will further our understandings of teaching and learning. As well, we spend some time refining our personal philosophies of education and schooling.

Specific goals to keep in mind:
1. Refine and articulate a personal philosophy of teaching.
2. Recognize and value the strengths you bring to the teaching enterprise.
3. Reflect on your experiences (classroom and college) to better understand and articulate questions about teaching and learning.
4. Demonstrate alert observation skills.
5. Value the importance of observation to effective teaching.
6. Examine how to guide students to become independent thinkers and active participants in democracy.

Specific questions to guide our discussions:
1. How can teachers develop facilitative classroom and school environments?
2. How can a teacher develop and optimize healthy relationships with students? families?
3. How does a teacher construct and enact an educational philosophy?
4. What do first year teachers need to know about learning, students, teaching, and oppression which will enable them and their students to interrupt institutional forms of oppression?
5. Education is research driven; is teaching itself a form of research? What research is there on teaching and learning that will help me as a teacher?


The resources from which the quotes above are taken are as follows:

Naomi Ayala (1997). Summer Youth Leadership Institute Group Poem: LOVE. In Seeds of Struggle Songs of Hope, Poetry of Emerging Youth Y Sus Maestros del Movimiento (p.12). (Eds.) raulrsalinas and Jennifer Shen. El Centro de la Raza.

Thomas Paine (1776) exerpted from Basic writings of Thomas Paine (1942) (p. 4). New York: Willey Book Company.

Alastair McIntosh (2004). Soil and soul: People versus corporate power.(p. 2). London: Aurum.

Paulo Freire (1998). Pedagogy of freedom: Ethics, democracy, and civic courage (p. 69). NY: Rowman & Littlefield.

H. H. The Dalai Lama (1999). Ethics for the new millennium. NY: Riverhead Books.

Joan Armatrading (1992). Lyric excerpted from If Women Ruled the World. Off of Square the Circle, A & M Records.

Thich Nhat Hanh (1996). Cultivating the mind of love: The practice of looking deeply in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. Berkeley, CA: Parallax.

Harold Stewart (translator). (1960; 1981). A net of fireflies: Japanese Haiku and Haiku paintings. Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Co.

J. R. R. Tolkien (1965). The return of the king. 2nd ed. (pp. 30-31). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1991). Excerpted from Initial in The First Book, Part 2 of The Book of Images, Bilingual ed. translated by Edward Snow, (p. 57). New York: North Point Press.

Arundhati Roy (2002). Quote taken from Dam/Age: A film with Arundhati Roy, directed by Aradhana Seth. Videorecording, London(?) BBC Four.

Sarah L. Delaney & A. Elizabeth Delaney (1993). Having our say, (p. 168). New York: Dell.

H. H. The Dalai Lama (1992) Forward (p. vii) in Thich Nhat Hanh's Peace is Every Step. New York: Bantam.

Giroux, H. A. (1988). Teachers as intellectuals: Toward a critical pedagogy of learning, (p. xxxv). New York: Bergin & Garvey.

Wow, you read this far. Thanks and please let me know your thoughts about anything you read here, or your ideas about education, learning or teaching. People have visited this page.

Send Comments and Suggestions to: channah@shepherd.edu

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