Mirochnik, Elijah 1952-

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MIROCHNIK, Elijah 1952-


Male. Born July 15, 1952, in Tel Aviv, Israel; son of Shimon (a welder) and Ora (a teacher; maiden name, Michaeli) Mirochnik; married Tami Beth Katz, c. 1980 (divorced, c. 1981); married Shenling Chang (a professor), July 5, 2002. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of Maryland, B.Arch., 1975; Columbia University, M.S., 1977; Harvard University, Ed.M., 1987; University of California—Berkeley, Ph.D., 1977. Politics: "I vote Democratic and Green, but believe that personal action is politics." Hobbies and other interests: "Conversation with people who I have prejudged before our conversation."


Home—1637-E Carriage House Terr., Silver Spring, MD 20904. Office—Initiatives in Educational Transformation, Prince William Campus, George Mason University, Manassas, VA 20110-2203. E-mail—[email protected]


George Mason University, Prince William Campus, Manassas, VA, associate professor of education, and affiliated with Initiatives in Educational Transformation.


Teaching in the First Person: Understanding Voice and Vocabulary in Learning Relationships, Peter Lang Publishing (New York, NY), 2000.

(Editor, with Deborah Claiborne Sherman) Passion and Pedagogy: Relation, Creation, and Transformation in Teaching, Peter Lang Publishing (New York, NY), 2002.


A book about "how rebellion in teen years relates to rebellion in the arts."


Elijah Mirochnik told CA: "Writing is a way for me to create myself in my own terms. My work is particularly influenced by whatever comes up for me as I write—my past, my present feelings, whatever. Of course my favorite authors influence me—J. D. Salinger, Richard Rorty, Bret Easton Ellis, William James, John Dewey, Jane DeLynn—but I try to use their influence. I try to see how much I can get away from the influence I know they have on me, rather than pay tribute to it. The same goes for the musicians and artists who have influenced my writing: Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Brian Eno, Robbie Shakespeare, Chrissie Hynde; photographers Robert Frank, Larry Clark, Nan Golding and Cindy Sherman; performance artist Diamanda Galas; film directors Atom Egoyan and Tom Tykwer. All of these artists have influenced the way I see the world, because they have given me a new way to see it. That new way influences my writing.

"When my mind begins chewing on an idea, I write whatever comes to me. I love words and the work that they do. I try to stay aware of how the pulse and beat of a sentence works with the reading of words. I try to keep my writing in the realm of my own senses and emotions, in the realm of my body, not just my mind. I do lots of drafts. Even though I use the computer a lot, I print a lot. I happily use the thesaurus default on my computer.

"I like writing about how there are new ways to think about things like teaching and learning—ways that enable us to avoid becoming carbon copies of our past. But the way I like to write about teaching and learning is a way where I write about how to see the familiar in unfamiliar ways—for example, how teachers can look at students in ways different than what their own teachers taught them about how to look at students; or, how to look at rock 'n' roll superstar Jimmy Page in a way that makes him and Plato look quite similar.

"What inspired me to write about teaching and learning in this way? When I write this way I am giving myself the language I need to become a teacher who does not do to my students what my teachers did to me. Writing in this way inspires me because it can rewrite my past in my own terms, and in this way can try to shape a life that is my own."