About Mr. Coder
James Coder was brought up by a mother who was born in Tanzania and first experienced American life when she was sixteen, and a father who is a surgeon and has always had a deep love for education. James began teaching English as a Second Language as a freshman in high school when his family lived for a year in Taiwan. His primary academic and research focus has been in how the mind ‘puts things together’ so we have experience — especially with regard to the role of language. In philosopher jargon, this is sometimes called ‘the constitution of experience’ or phenomenology. In layman’s terms, this is called ‘learning’ or ‘memory.’ It is a field which is comprehensive, as it embraces all aspects of human experience, and how they come together as a meaningful whole.
James has been fascinated with the learning process as long as he can remember, and has been reading materials relevant to the history, theory, and practice of learning for about as long as well. His love for language was deepened by learning to become fluent and write in Mandarin during his year in Taiwan. Chinese people notice how his pronunciation is remarkably good for a foreigner.
He uses a variety of methods dependent on the student, the situation, and what is being taught. His general method has been tremendously successful from the eighth grade level through post-graduate level adult learners.
- Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL
I am deeply indebted to the ethos and atmosphere of Wheaton College, especially for my teaching methodology. In the 1970’s, a profoundly damaging wave of bad methodology hit the American educational system in an attempt to arrive at a “value free” way of teaching. One huge problem was: the love of learning itself is a value, and teaching the love of learning is teaching a value, and depends on ethos. The faculty of Wheaton College wisely avoided this trend, keeping an atmosphere incredibly alive with discussions amongst students of what they had been learning and reading, while my friends at places like Yale reported that outside of class, they rarely or never spoke of what they were learning. Without my Wheaton professors’ and classmates’ having helped me gently and more deeply learn the love of learning, I could not think, speak, or teach the way I do today.
Wheaton College began with a mission of love. It was abolitionist in its founding principles, and served as a prominent stop for the Underground Railroad. Depicted is Blanchard Hall, which was the physical location of this stop. It is also where Arthur Holmes and Alan Jacobs lectured. For me it is a profound symbol of the need for love in deeper types of learning.
- Jameson Essay Award
- Christianity & Literature Journal Student Writing Contest Award
- first place, Essay (on Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Self)
- second place, Poetry (a sestina on divorce and divided experience)
- Poetry Editor Emeritus, Kodon University Arts Journal
- Head of classical music radio programming, WETN
- Teaching Assistant for Dr. Alan Jacobs, English Literature Department (you can watch a video of Dr. Jacobs speaking on a topic utterly important to the way I teach writing here – he could perhaps be classified as one of the few “experts” in the area of the role of love in learning, reading, and writing)
- Teaching assistant for Dr. Bruce Benson, Philosophy Department (Dr. Benson studied with hermeneuticist Hans Georg Gadamer and became his friend. My teaching method is also indebted to Dr. Benson’s deep thoughts on how improvisation in art is like consciousness. You can hear him speak on this topic here)
- At Wheaton, I had the unparalleled gift of taking courses with Arthur Holmes, Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner, Leland Ryken, Robert Webber, Roger Lundin, Paul DeVries, Jay Wood, John Frederick Nims, Joseph McClatchey, Timothy Wilkinson, Neal Brace, and many other fine men and women.
- BA, full double major in English Literature and Philosophy. gpa: cum laude
- Catholic University of Louvain (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) – Leuven, Belgium
The faculty of philosophy at Louvain / Leuven, also called the Institute of Philosophy, is known amongst experts as the world’s leading department in the area of phenomenology (hosting the presigious Husserl archive), and also excels in ancient and medieval philosophy, as home of the De Wulf Institute. It is one of the few university philosophpy faculties in the world meriting its own Wikipedia page. As a Catholic faculty, there have never been doubts about the role of love in learning and education, and students discuss philosophy avidly and deeply in their free time. In the 2019 QS World University Rankings the Institute ranks as number 31; this places it below Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Columbia, but above all the other Ivy League philosophy departments.
- Centrum voor Levende Talen - English as a Second Language Instructor
- Hosted weekly poetry writing workshop at Café Amedee
- Weekly classical radio show host on Radio Scorpio, 106FM
- MA / Licenciaat, Philosophy. gpa: magna cum laude
- 9 years full-time post-graduate research in areas concerning the mind, how experience comes together to form a single person or consciousness, how people learn
- Thesis: Dionysus and the Individual: an Apollonian Look at the Birth of Tragedy; evaluation: magna cum laude
- First year research paper: On Heidegger, art, truth, and the constitution of the subject; evaluation: Summa cum laude
- Courses with Rudolf Bernet, Jos Decorte, Herman DeDijn, Paul Moyaert, Martin Moors, Rudi Visker, Ignace Verhack, Urbain Dhondt, Alan Schrift, and other fine men.
- Guest lecturers and visits to lectures by figures such as Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Marion, and Stanley Rosen.
I am convinced that one of the healthiest things one can do for one’s mind is to find ways of expressing abundant thanks to those who are responsible for one’s education. Some of the most intelligent people have done this, and I do wish more people would consider doing it. More people doing this would be a great way to help gently melt American culture’s tremendous anti-intellectual tendencies. Furthermore – a very simple, mercenary reason, to possibly motivate you to do it: it reflects well on who you are.