Douglas Kohn

  • Education
    • B.A., Washington University
    • M.A., University of Chicago
    • Ed.M., Harvard University
    • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

In Their Own Words

"I have a very eclectic teaching style. I'm not one to buy in completely to any one school of thought or pedagogy. The teaching that I do now is more about relationships and less about content, so I try to establish personal contact with all my students."

"I look for readings that are interesting both to me and hopefully to my students. I won't use anything in class that I don't think is well written. In the literature classes, I tend to draw from the literary end of popular fiction. I find something contemporary, then make the connection to a classic. So, for example, if I wanted to teach Oedipus I would find a modern version, then go back to the original."

"Students who are musicians, and who have been playing an instrument all their lives, have had some realistic feedback, or have gone into a competition and seen just how good everybody else is. So they know that if you don't work at your instrument you're not going to get any good at it. I tell my students that language is an instrument; it's something you practice, develop, and refine."

"I want my students to develop their writing, to read more, and to listen to language, not just read it. I'd like them to appreciate writing as they would any art object, to look for the connections and not the theory. In my writing classes, I teach an understanding of register and diction: learning to use language, both in writing and speaking, that's appropriate for the situation."