Biblio file

 

‘Hunger Games’ book draws national attention

George Dunn, an instructor in UIndy’s Department of Philosophy & Religion, received a round of national media attention this spring when his latest book coincided with the release of a blockbuster movie. Dunn and fellow philosopher Nicolas Michaud are co-editors of The Hunger Games and Philosophy: A Critique of Pure Treason from publisher Wiley-Blackwell. The 320-page collection of essays examines author Suzanne Collins’ wildly popular youth-fiction trilogy through a serious academic lens, with references to Plato, Kant, Nietzsche, Darwin, and other great thinkers of history.

The book’s subtitle is a pun on the title of Immanuel Kant’s influential Critique of Pure Reason. Dunn also contributed a chapter (“Morality and Luck in the Hunger Games Trilogy”), as did UIndy colleagues Abigail Mann, assistant professor of English, and Dereck Coatney, an alumnus and adjunct instructor. The publisher wisely released the book just before the film adaptation of The Hunger Games began its weeks-long run as the number one movie in the country. Journalists struggling to explain the latest pop phenomenon came calling for Dunn, who granted interviews to the Christian Science Monitor, California’s Sacramento Bee and Ventura County Star newspapers, KPCC public radio in southern California, the morning news show on Chicago’s WGN-TV, and Indianapolis’s WRTV news and WIBC radio.

Dunn says the books, which follow teens fighting for survival and justice in a totalitarian dystopia, offer strong characters and considerably more depth than others in the youth market, with far-reaching ideas that adults can appreciate.

“They’re well-written and real page-turners,” he says, “but they also invite the reader to wrestle with some heavy-duty philosophical questions concerning morality, gender, politics, personal identity, the place of entertainment in society, and, of course, war.”

Dunn has contributed to several volumes in Wiley-Blackwell’s Philosophy and Pop Culture series, most of which are inspired by hit movies and TV shows. He also edited their 2010 book True Blood and Philosophy and the upcoming Avatar and Philosophy.

“We know we’re not breaking new ground in philosophical research,” he admits with a smile. “What we’re doing is teaching philosophy through pop culture.”

Book strikes nerve in Brazil

UIndy’s James Bellew, associate professor of Physical Therapy, is becoming a hot ticket in Brazil. Bellew, an expert in the use of electrotherapy, has enjoyed a wave of speaking invitations in that South American nation, much of it sparked by his co-authorship of Modalities for Therapeutic Intervention, Fifth Edition (with Susan L. Michlovitz and Thomas P. Nolan Jr.).

He has been named president of the third annual scientific meeting sponsored by the electrotherapy firm Ibramed and an organization known as CEFAI (roughly translated as Center for Education and Advanced Studies) to be held in Brazil this fall.

Last October, he was a featured speaker at the group’s second scientific meeting. He’s also had speaking engagements at Ibramed as well as at the national conference Physiotherapy Brazil and the University of Campinas Centre for Exercise and Physiotherapy. Bellew spent nine days in Brazil providing three lectures as part of an international research and development cooperative culminating in a feature address to the Brazilian Congress of Physiotherapy. He was one of only three U.S.-based physical therapists invited to speak at the Congress.

“I’ve spent 23 years in the clinic and doing research,” notes Bellew. “There is a lot of interest outside the country on this topic. Use of electrical energy to promote healing has wide application for physical therapists, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, and other health professionals.”

Though Bellew teaches in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy, students in the School of Occupational Therapy program at UIndy were the first to use Modalities for Therapeutic Intervention. The UIndy professor was instrumental in improving the appeal and pedagogical approach of the book. In addition to electrical energy, it covers other physical energies, including thermal, mechanical, and electromagnetic.

“A few students have told me that they are much more confident using these techniques after having read the book,” says Bellew. “I’ve been able to translate a tough topic into something that is easily understood, and that’s the best compliment of all.”

Bellew’s contributions to Modalities have been so well received that he was asked to be lead author for another book, A Clinical Guide to Therapeutic Modalities, which will be published in 2014.

‘The brain that does the work does the learning’

Angelia Ridgway, Deb Sachs, and Donna Stephenson have spent thousands of hours in the classroom, so coming up with content for their book really wasn’t that difficult.
As professionals in the School of Education, the three are often called on for workshops, consultations with local schools, and presentations. They came up with the idea for their book, 14,461 Lesson Plans: A Flip-Book for Designing Engaging Lessons, after being asked over and over again for their strategies about effective teaching methods.

They found that teachers are often told what to teach but not given much support on how to teach or how to maximize student engagement and involvement. “We know that the brain that does the work does the learning,” says Stephenson. “There isn’t much active learning going on when students just sit there and take notes.”

The book takes student-centered and meaning-focused teaching strategies to help the students to engage more and thereby learn more. For example, one simple strategy involves offering 20 minutes of lecture, breaking the students up into groups for 20 minutes to discuss, and then bringing the class together again. Four segments are presented in the flip-book, with 14 strategies for each segment. Teachers can mix and match the strategies, resulting in a possible 14,641 combinations for lesson plans.

At UIndy, Ridgway, Sachs, and Stephenson held a workshop about teaching methods for faculty in the School of Occupational Therapy. The trio discovered that many therapists go straight from clinical practice into the classroom and know what to teach, but not necessarily how to teach it most effectively. They also taught second-year occupational therapy students some teaching methods, which in turn will help the students when they deal with their clients.

“Clients will remember what you tell them if you engage them in the learning process and not just lecture at them and give them some handouts,” explains Stephenson.
“Get them to interact with the ideas and it becomes more of a dialogue, and the learning is able to happen.”

Ridgway, Sachs, and Stephenson presented their teaching methods at the national American Occupational Therapy Association’s Annual Conference in April and have presented twice at the national middle school conference. “These theories and methods can be applied to any classroom, group, or subject,” says Stephenson. “We believe that when a teaching method is theoretically sound, it works on all levels.”