Before COA

Bonnie started teaching during college when she worked summers for the Island School, a summer enrichment program for inner-city middle-schoolers on Thompson Island in the Boston Harbor.  After college, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching Math and English at Mahalapye Community Junior Secondary School in Botswana.  During her first graduate program, she developed a keen interest in increasing access and equity in higher education, and followed her first graduate degree working at Brandeis University as Associate Director of Admissions and Curriculum Specialist for Student Support Services. After earning her doctorate, she directed the M.A. program in Curriculum and Instruction at California State University, Long Beach.

Scholarly and Creative Interests

Bonnie Tai is a faculty member in Educational and Human Studies. Her primary teaching and research interests focus on Buddhist philosophy, psychology, and practice, and their contributions to our understanding of the nature of knowledge, self, and human experience. Two overarching goals have driven her work over the last twenty years: to enhance access, equity, and quality in education and facilitate teaching and leadership that values individual and group differences and helps communities effectively negotiate conflict and change. As peer, advisor, teacher, and mentor, Bonnie aims to help educators put theory into practice in contemplative, experiential, intercultural, and democratic education.  

More About Me

As a classically trained violinist, she has performed with the Maitisong Festival Orchestra in Gaborone, Botswana, in the pit orchestra for a production of Scott Joplin’s opera, “Treemonisha,” and the Maryland Women’s Symphony, an all-women’s orchestra playing works by women composers and conducted by a woman conductor. When she is not working, she enjoys yoga and meditation, silent retreats, outdoor sports, commuting by bike or motorcycle, playing her ukulele on road trips (not while driving!), singing acappella, and exploring new places both near and far.

Community Engagement and Advocacy

Bonnie currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Next Step Domestic Violence Project and on the advisory board of IMPACT Boston.  


2013. Witness to learning. In W. Shorr, S. Hoidn, C. Lowry & E. Cavicchi (Eds.), Always Wondering.  Cambridge, MA: Critical Exploration Press.

Fall, 1998.  Power Dynamics in the Classroom.  Harvard Educational Review, 68, 3.

Winter, 1997. C. Woyshner & B. Tai (Eds.). Special Issue on Women’s Educational History, Harvard Educational Review, 67, 4.



October, 2015. Teacher and youth leader development in Nepal: A transdisciplinary case study of an international K-16 partnership. Paper Presentation at the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies. North Andover, MA: Merrimack College.

September, 2014 - May, 2016. Equity, inclusion, and multiculturalism in teaching and learning. Faculty professional-development workshops. Blue Hill, Maine: Bay School.

May 26, 2015. Made in Taiwan: Reflections on Buddhism, Feminism, Education, and Social Change. Human Ecology Forum.  Bar Harbor, Maine: College of the Atlantic.  

November, 2014. The role of human rights in the human ecology curriculum. Annual Conference of the Society for Human Ecology. Bar Harbor, Maine: College of the Atlantic.

October 28, 2014. Education and Sustainable Development in Nepal. Human Ecology Forum. Bar Harbor, Maine: College of the Atlantic.

July, 2014.  Teaching English for Middle and Secondary Educators (30 June – 2 July).  Tanahun District, Nepal.

June, 2014.  Maya Universe Academy Teacher Training (19-27 June). Tanahun, Nepal.

June, 2014.  Peer Tutoring and Leadership Training (20-27 June), Maya Universe Academy, Tanahun, Nepal.

June, 2013 - 2016. Teaching beyond Telling/Informal Assessment of Informal Learning. Summer Field Studies Staff training. Bar Harbor, Maine: College of the Atlantic.

June, 2013. Critical exploration as pedagogical method and/or theoretical stance. Panelist. Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society, Chicago, IL.

May, 2012.  Using Data to Differentiate Instruction in K-5 Math. A series of three workshops presented to Hancock County educators. Ellsworth, Maine: DownEast Education Partnership.

December, 2011 & February, 2012. Honoring Diversity. Faculty professional-development workshops. Blue Hill, Maine: Bay School.

July, 2011. Education: Creating an Owner’s Manual.  Workshop co-presented with Daniel Mahler (COA ’10), Free Minds, Free People Conference, Providence, Rhode Island.