Based in Toledo, Ohio, Josh Keidan is a dynamic and enthusiastic leader in the realms of training, learning, system development, improvisation, and English and Language Arts. With over twenty years of experience under his belt, Josh feels just as passionately about his career now as he did when he first determined that education was the path for him. He attributes this unwavering excitement to his insatiable desire to learn and help others do the same. After all, the world is so full of information and so much we do not understand; who can resist the urge to dig deeper and satisfy their curiosities?
Josh Keidan first adopted this worldview when he began his academic career at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, from which he received both his Bachelor and Master of Arts in English Language and Literature. Even as these programs afforded him the opportunity to delve into classic and more obscure literary works, and to develop expertise on 19th century literature, 20th century poetry, and fantasy and science fiction, Josh found himself becoming even more intrigued with how learning works. This led him to pursue a career in education; he has taught at virtually every level and subject area, from leading science camps for preschoolers to nature education and cooking programs at summer camps, to teaching English, filmmaking, creative writing and songwriting at the high school level, to teaching courses for teachers, training college instructors, and teaching ESL to children and adults at every age and experience level. Through it all he has worked to gain a deep understanding of how learning works, and how educators, trainers and teachers can work best to support that learning.
As he has explored various educational methodologies, Josh Keidan has also explored the relationship between learning and identity expansion — the way that learning changes who we are as individuals. This has helped him understand why we each are at times resistant to learning, and why, despite the fact that almost anyone can learn almost anything, we regularly don’t learn. This understanding has led him to explore methods and techniques that help open individuals up to learning, and to changing and growing into themselves as individuals.
To this end, Josh Keidan has turned to the principles and practices of improvisational theater — in which plot, characters, and other vital information are created on the spot by the actors — to foster such learning. Such techniques bring participants fully into the moment of the activity, and ask them to bring themselves to the table by listening and responding deeply to others, all while saying “yes, and” in order to accept what has been offered and add their own spin to things.
Josh Keidan holds a PhD in Education at The University of Toledo (May 2020). His dissertation was entitled Learning, Improvisation, and Identity Expansion in Innovative Organizations (it can be found here: https://etd.ohiolink.edu/apexprod/rws_etd/send_file/send?accession=toledo1586874155982614&disposition=attachment). He looked at high-performing organizations (businesses, religious organizations and non-profits) to understand how they create exceptional learning cultures.
Over the course of his time at the university, Josh served as a Learning Specialist, Curriculum Developer, managed and copy edited the journal Learning to Teach, managed the Teacher Education department’s accreditation process, and taught and developed several courses and programs for faculty, teachers, and schools. He has also conducted research alongside this work, particularly in relation to a course he developed and taught on improvisation in the classroom entitled Discourse for Learning. He has presented at academic conferences on subjects ranging from improvisation in education to the history of education to superhero movies to teaching about terrorism.
To glean further insight into Josh Keidan’s passion for learning and education, as well as his perspective on learning and comprehension, be sure to visit his blog page regularly.
Josh Keidan is currently pursuing his PhD from the University of Toronto. The University of Toledo is a public research university located in Toledo, Ohio, United States.
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