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Biology 400:  A Journey to Awareness:  Spring 2014

You have accepted an invitation to be a BiSci 3 TA!  Yet, chances are, you have never taught a class before… much less a college class! We admire your courage and we are fully committed to offering you the skills and sensibilities that you will need for this teaching challenge. 

In many college courses, students study things that aren’t directly applicable to their lives. Biology 400 will be different. Everything you will be introduced to in this class has the potential to be applied, directly or indirectly, to your work as BiSci Guide in the Fall of 2014.

We will be meeting in 317 Mueller from 5:00 to 9:30 PM on Monday evenings starting on January 20th.

Instructor: Christopher Uhl (      




Course Texts:

1-Teaching as if Life Matters (TAILM) by C. Uhl & D. Stuchul

2-Ordinary Magic Reading Packet

Pick up Text 1 at the HUB bookstore; Text 2 will be given to you at our first meeting.

NOTE:  It will be important to have Teaching as if Life Matters in NEW paperback form.


PART I:  Getting Oriented


Meeting 1 (Monday, Januray 13th): Starting the Journey

Opening Readings:

1-Prologue (p. xi to xvii) in Teaching as Life Matters (TAILM) 

2-BISCI 03 as a Hero’s Journey (in your Reading Packet) [Note: You may have seen this in the Fall; but, now that you are a TA, it will have far greater significance for you.




Compose a one-page (typed and single spaced) reflection/critique of your experience in BiSci 3 last semester, with special attention to parts of the course that both worked for you and DIDN’T WORK for you.  Hand in this essay to Dr. Uhl at the beginning of the Bio 400 Retreat.




Retreat (January 24th-26th): Experiencing BiSci 3 with Head, Heart and Hands.


--We will leave PSU on Friday afternoon, January 24th at 5:00 pm and return to campus at 5:00 pm on Sunday.

--Our retreat will be at PSUs Shavers Creek Nature Center, located about 15 miles from campus. 

--Details forthcoming.



Reading for retreat:

            -Reading #1 (Introduction) in your reading packet    


Activities:  During this retreat, we will be inviting you to participate in many activities, all designed to help you experience, in an embodied way, the main BiSci course themes. Be sure to bring your course journal—either your old one from last semester or a new one that you make—to this retreat!


Assignment: After the retreat, compose a 1-2-page typed reflection on your retreat experience, considering questions such as: What was this retreat about for me? What emotions did I experience?  When?  Why?  When did I contract—i.e., go small?  When did I expand—i.e., stretch, risk, step into the “unknown”?  What did I learn about myself?  What conditions allowed for this learning?


Attach this reflection to your journal and be sure to bring it to our February 3rd class.


Meeting 3 (February 3): Exploring Your History as a Learner?


-Ch. 1; pp. 1-15 in Teaching as if Life Matters  

-Reading #2 (Sunshine and Green Leaves) in Reading Packet


-Experiential exercises focused on what it actually means to learn

Assignment:  TBA


Meeting 4 (February 10): We are not Brains on a Stick!


-Ch. 2; pp. 16-28 in Teaching as if Life Matters  

-Reading #3 (Are You Here) in Reading Packet


-Experiential exercises focused on the body’s role in learning

Assignment:  TBA


PART II:  Going Deeper  


Meeting 5 (February 17): To Feel is our Birthright


-Ch. 2, (pp. 29-47) in Teaching as if Life Matters 

-Reading #4 (Coming Home to the Body) in Reading Packet


-Experiential exercises focused on strengthening our capacity to feel

Assignment:  TBA


Meeting 6 (February 24): Seeing with New Eyes


Reading #5 (The Way of Seeing) in Reading Packet

Reading #6 (Walking on Water) in Reading Packet


-Experiential exercises focused Seeing vs. Looking

Assignment:  TBA


Meeting 7 (March 3): Questions as the Catalysts for Learning


-Ch. 3, (pp. 48-75) in Teaching as if Life Matters

-Reading #7 (Conscious Eating) in Reading Packet


-Experiential exercises focused on the power of questions

Assignment:  TBA


                                      SPRING BREAK


Meeting 8 (March 17):  We Teach Who We Are! 


 -Ch 4; pp. 76-93.5 in Teaching as if Life Matters  -Reading #8 (Writing Fearlessly) in Reading Packet


 -Experiential exercises focused on “Self”

Assignment:  TBA


Meeting 9 (March 24):  Making Peace with Ourselves 


 -Ch 4; pp. 93.5-110 in Teaching as if Life Matters 

-Reading #9 (Being Peace) in Reading Packet


-Experiential exercises focusing on “The Work”

Assignment:  TBA


Meeting 10 (March 31):  Learning to Communicate with the Human Other


 -Ch 5; pp. 111-126.5 in Teaching as if Life Matters

-Reading #10 (A Love of Wisdom Puts You on the Spot: Warriors Exam) in Reading Packet


Experiential exercises in the Art of Non-Violent Communication

Assignment:  TBA


Meeting 11 (April 7): Enacting Courage 


 -Ch 5; pp. 126.5-152 in Teaching as if Life Matters  

-Reading #11 (Living the Questions: Experiments with Truth) in Reading Packet


Truthspeaking in Action--The Clearness Committee

Assignment:  TBA


Meeting 12 (April 14): Connecting with Earth and Cosmos


 -Ch. 6; pp. 153-184 in Teaching as if Life Matters

-Reading #12 (Intimate Relationship as a Practice and a Path) in Reading Packet

Activities:  Connecting with Earth and Cosmos

Assignment:  TBA


Meeting 13 (April 21):  Warriors Exam and Walking on Water Council

 Readings:  -Epilogue; pp. 185-188 in Teaching as if Life Matters

Activities:  This will be the time for our Warrior Exam and Walking on Water Council


Course Grade

Your grade in Bio 400 will be based on:

1-Journal Reflection Essays          60 Points 

2-Participation                              20 Points 

4- Warrior Exam                           10 Points 

5-Walking on Water Project         10 Points