The Courage to Teach:
Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Lifeby Parker J. Palmer
From the Reviews
“Though not an easy book to read, as a teacher of some thirty years I find this book to be challenging, inspiring and definitely thought-provoking. Mr. Palmer is challenging us to reexamine not only our teaching styles but ourselves as teachers..”
Palmer discusses the inner life of the dedicated teacher and how that life shapes teaching and learning. As a spiritually inspirational book for teachers, The Courage to Teach is one of the best. The premise is concise and unarguable: good teaching comes from the identity and the integrity of the teacher. Teachers are encouraged to turn their inquiring minds inward--developing a deeper understanding of what it means to fulfill the spiritual calling of teaching. Good teachers share one trait, says author Parker Palmer, they are able to weave a complex web of connections among themselves, their subjects, and their students, so that students can learn to weave a world for themselves. The connections made by good teachers are held not in their methods but in their hearts--the place where intellect and emotion and spirit and will converge in the human self.
Palmer identifies two key concepts: identity and integrity. For each individual teacher, the need to have some balanced perspective of self-identity becomes paramount. Do I teach to peddle my agenda? Do I teach in order to be the 'big fish in a little pond'? Do I teach because I like the stage? Or, Do I teach in order to fulfill an inner yearning, even sadness?. Next, the balance of integrity must center a good teacher. Do I seek fairness among my students? Do I build good habits of discipline? Do I live justly? Eschew competition? Seek first of all to teach meaning, itself a subject-centered approach?“I particularly like what Mr. Palmer had to say regarding fear, teaching from fear, and hiding among our fears while facing them. Beauty lies in the paradox.”
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