The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life

Parker J. Palmer, Author
Parker J. Palmer, Author Jossey-Bass $24.95 (199p) ISBN 978-0-7879-1058-7
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
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Spiritual nurturing has been at the heart of both of Palmer's previous books, The Active Life and To Know as We Are Known. A teacher, speaker and writer who contends that teaching is an integral part of all his work, Palmer now explores the spirituality of teaching. He contends that the task of teaching is filled with joy and fear, success and failure, but, he says, ""good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher."" For Palmer, such integrity comes from the inner self of the teacher, and he argues that the courage to teach involves probing the heart to find the ""heart's longing to be connected with the largeness of life--a longing that animates love and work."" Palmer begins by arguing that many current teaching strategies, like the traditional lecture-hall setting where the teacher dispassionately dispenses knowledge, promote disconnectedness among students and teachers. He goes on to contend that teaching from a spiritually introspective position promotes a community of learning in which the teachers and students are connected in the learning process. Palmer lays bare his own struggles in engaging prose, and his book is sure to inspire the educational community to think in new ways about its tasks. (Jan.)
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