US Philosophy and Religion teacher Mr. Mike Friedman has authored two chapters in National Council for the Social Studies Bulletin 117: Chapter 13 on teaching Judaism, "Sacred Diversity: Teaching about Judaism in the Classroom," and Chapter 18 on teaching Buddhism, "Lists and Lives: Teaching about Buddhism in the Classroom." He's the only author with two chapters published in this volume, which focuses on teaching about religion in the social studies classroom.
Mr. Friedman is in his fourth year at Princeton Day School after teaching part-time at Sidwell Friends in Washington, DC as he was earning his Master's in Theological & Religious Studies at Georgetown University. He was also a Wexner Graduate Fellow in Jewish Studies from 2013 to 2017. Mr. Friedman began his studies at Yale University, earning a B.A. in Religious Studies before continuing on to Harvard Divinity School to pursue a Master's in Buddhist Studies.
Currently Mr. Friedman teaches philosophy to 11th and 12th graders and is on the Grade 9 World Religions team with Lauren Ledley and David Freedholm. He had this to say about his colleagues: "I have learned a ton from everyone in the History Department, but I am especially grateful to Dave and Lauren, who are my 9s History teammates. We work hard to design a great experience for the 9th graders together, and they each bring unique expertise to the table." He is also faculty co-advisor for the Spokesman, the student-led US student newspaper and website.
Mr. Friedman chose to come to PDS because it allowed him to teach a bit of everything he was interested in. "I love history but specialized in religion and philosophy in graduate school. So for me, teaching what I teach at PDS is an amazing opportunity." The 9th grade History curriculum at PDS focuses on world religions, something that Friedman sees as a pathway to move beyond one single subject: "I love using religion to consider cultures because you get to think about history, philosophy, literature, art, morality and so much more. It's this amazing window into the world around us and what makes people tick." He explained that he was also drawn by PDS's excellent reputation, which he was familiar with from his time as a Teaching Fellow at the Lawrenceville School.
Mr. Friedman has a simple goal for this school year, "Honestly, I just really love teaching and getting to know my students, so I want to create positive experiences in the classroom where students feel comfortable, learn about each other and explore new ways of thinking."