Faculty Profile

Aostre Johnson, Ed.D.

Professor of Education, Emeritus

A.B. Harvard University
M.Ed. Harvard Graduate School of Education
Ed.D. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Areas of Expertise:

My areas of specialization are curriculum and pedagogy, lifespan development, early childhood education and ethical, religious and spiritual dimensions of education. I teach courses in both the graduate and the undergraduate education departments, coordinate the graduate curriculum concentration and elementary licensure program and also direct the program on spirituality and education.

My Saint Michael's:

I like the strong sense of community at Saint Michael’s among faculty, staff and students and the atmosphere that encourages us all to talk about the ethical dimensions of education and about our sense of mission and purpose in life. As to Saint Michael’s students, I appreciate their interest in and support of each other. I like the balance that many have between respectful openness to new points of views and willingness to question them thoughtfully. I appreciate their desire to find a way to include a focus on academics with strong friendships and service.

One of my favorite classes is Pedagogy because it is a very challenging but ultimately rewarding class to teach. It is a required undergraduate elementary education class. The students must gain many skills and master many theories in order to create a month long thematic unit on a topic that interests them--and that they will some day teach. I see so much growth in most students over the semester which results in unique and interesting units that they are proud of. Another class I enjoy teaching is a graduate course on Spirituality and Education. I appreciate the diversity of perspectives that students (who are also teachers) bring to the class and the depth of class discussions as we explore many theoretical frameworks and personal interpretations. I often hear back from these graduate students that the course helped them to make changes in their classrooms that they feel are transformational in some way for their own students.

You can get a great deal of personal attention from excellent faculty members here if you want it.

My research interests include: Teaching for diverse learners; ethical, religious and spiritual dimensions of education.

I graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a major in social relations and received my master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I then founded and taught in innovative university laboratory schools and other schools for a number of years before earning my doctorate in education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a focus on curriculum and foundations. I have published a number of articles relating to creative, ethical, religious and spiritual dimensions of development and education.

Aostre Johnson presented a paper and gave an invited talk relating to spirituality and education at the International Journal of Children’s Spirituality conference in Quebec City in July, 2018. She also gave a keynote address on spirituality and child development and a workshop on mindfulness education at the More Than Mindfulness conference in Ashville, North Carolina in October, 2018.
(posted January 2019)

Aostre Johnson professor of education, is a visiting professor in the Graduate School of Social Studies at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, this semester. She is teaching graduate classes on Holistic Education in a Globalized World and Spiritual, Contemplative and Mindfulness Perspectives on Education, and an undergraduate course on Holistic Education Methods. Aoestre also gave a presentation on November 25 on “Twelve Dimensions of Spiritual Development and Education” at the Asian Pacific International Conference for Holistic Education at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.
(posted December 2017)

Aostre Johnson, professor of education, presented a paper: “How Holistic is the Mindfulness Education Movement?” at the 14th International Conference on Childhood Spirituality, Lincoln, England, July 2016; and she published a book review: “Spirituality in education in a Global, Pluralised World” in the International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, Vol.21, No. 2. 2016.
(posted June 2017)

Aostre Johnson, professor of education, published a book chapter, “Spirituality and Contemplative Education” in Spirituality across Disciplines: Research and Practice: New York: Springer (2016) Bone, J, de Souza, M., Watson, Jacqueline (Ed.); and a book review, “Spirituality in Education in a Global, Pluralized World” in the International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, Vol.21, No. 2.(2016). She also presented  two papers: “How Holistic is the Mindfulness Education Movement?” at the 14thInternational Conference on Childhood Spirituality, Lincoln, England, July 2016 and “Mindfulness Education in the Context of Spiritual, Religious, Contemplative, and Ethical Perspectives” at the American Educational Research Association Conference, Washington, D.C., April 2016.
(posted November 2016)

Aostre Johnson, professor of education, presented a paper: “The Relationship between Spiritual, Religious, Contemplative and Mindfulness Education” at the 5th Global Conference on Spirituality in the 21st Century in Lisbon, Portugal, March, 2015
(posted April 2015)

Funds for the Fulbright grant are appropriated annually by the U.S. Congress. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State oversees operation of the 60-year old program worldwide. Grantees are expected to work to develop international understanding through open communication and long-term cooperative relationships. They are expected to get involved in the communities where they reside while on a Fulbright exchange.

  • Johnson detailed activities she will be engaged in while in Ireland:
  • Carry out qualitative research on interfaith contemplative practices in diverse school types in the Republic of Ireland
  • Develop interfaith contemplative practices portfolio for school curricula for diverse school types in the Republic of Ireland (1st and 2nd levels), based on research on classroom practices
  • Network with associated bodies for such development: School of Education, DCU; Marino Institute of Education; National Council for Curriculum and Assessment; Educate Together; Community National Schools, etc.
  • Disseminate portfolio to interested bodies in the network through public event at the end of the Fulbright tenure
  • Present seminar to research students on research project
  • Provide master class for research students / supervisor working on education & spirituality themes
  • Contribute to on-going development of Spiritual Capital Ireland network.

Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEO's, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors and teachers. They have been awarded 43 Nobel Prizes. The principal purpose of the Fulbright Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of the more than 150 countries that currently participate in the Fulbright Program.

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