Faculty Profiles


Bonnie Tai

Professor of Education

Bonnie TaiWhat do you teach at COA?
Educational Philosophy, Research, and Practice; Psychology and Politics of Learning and Teaching; Sociology and Anthropology of Education; Intercultural and Comparative Education

Where did you go to school?
I earned my B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, my Ed.M. Technology in Education from Harvard University and my Ed.D. Learning and Teaching from Harvard University.

What are you teaching this year?
Femininity and Masculinity Go to School: Gender, Power and Education; Intercultural Education; Curriculum Design and Assessment; Understanding and Managing Group Dynamics; Changing Schools, Changing Society; Human Ecology Core Course

Why do you teach at COA?
COA students are self-directed, and if they're not yet self-directed, they're motivated to learn how to take charge of their own learning. They generally hold themselves - as well as each other - responsible for their learning, as much if not more than the teacher. They bring an awe-inspiring array of life and academic experiences and are interested in learning from each other as much as from the faculty. They are passionate that their education will serve the greater good, that they can put the knowledge they gain to immediate use and not merely for the sake of an academic paper or final exam.

The Maine Woods "monster" class is a good example of why I love to teach here: getting to know a small group of students and colleagues very well, both in and out of the classroom, sharing mutual interests in wild places, experiential learning, leadership and group dynamics, learning and teaching new concepts and skills, and appreciating the beauty of the autumn forest, paddling in whitewater in the rain, reflecting on the day's experiences around a campfire, and then returning to life in the mainstream doing service-learning projects in the community and working to influence policy and practice before the term even ends.