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To Know as We Are Known: A Spirituality of Education PDF, ePub eBook This primer on authentic education explores how mind and heart can work together in the learning process. Moving beyond the bankruptcy of our current model of education, Parker Palmer finds the soul of education through a lifelong cultivation of the wisdom each of us possesses and can share to benefit others.

30 review for To Know as We Are Known: A Spirituality of Education

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brook

    In his preface he mentions how this book has been used by people from a wide variety of spiritual/religions backgrounds, even though his is Christianity. I don’t think this is because he is selling his faith short, but because he is so respectful and generous to others and their beliefs. He also seems to speak more about the form of one’s spirituality rather than the content. For example, “Too often, would-be educators who profess religious faith turn out to fear truth, rather than welcome it in In his preface he mentions how this book has been used by people from a wide variety of spiritual/religions backgrounds, even though his is Christianity. I don’t think this is because he is selling his faith short, but because he is so respectful and generous to others and their beliefs. He also seems to speak more about the form of one’s spirituality rather than the content. For example, “Too often, would-be educators who profess religious faith turn out to fear truth, rather than welcome it in all its forms” (p. xi). And later that page, “Authentic spirituality wants to open us to truth…Such a spirituality does not dictate where we must go, but trusts that any path walked with integrity will take us to a place of knowledge.” His definition of teach is “to create a space in which the community of truth is practiced” (p. xii). The focal point of his book is about epistemology. He mentions 3 distinct approaches to learning and then looks some at how these translate to the classroom. 1. Modernistic objectivity – Which teaches us to think that we can be completely value neutral, something Parker declares as clearly false. - The motive behind this type of learning is either curiosity or control and both lead us to distance ourselves from the world and become more about power and ownership that loving others (p.6-9). - Creates a very clear line between the knower and the known – p.27. - Declares it an “ethic of detachment and manipulation” (p.51) He also takes a close look at how this belief has shaped our classroom: - The focus of the classroom is looking outward (at historical events, a theoretical approach in action,…), and not how we are affected by or engage these things - The teachers is put forth as the only one in the class who can transcend their subjective bias, that is why students can’t actively participate in knowing but rather they are to observe the teacher (hence the lecture format). - Objective knowing is about a 1:1 experience between the object being studied and the scientist. This is seen in the way students compete with one another. It is not believed that knowledge comes from a community, and this is why individuals remain separate. - By believing we create separation between ourselves and what we are studying we create a means to manipulate what we are learning about from a safe distance. Here our motives of control and curiosity are lead to wander free, rather than truly engaging with the topic and seeing how it affects our lives. Palmer asks why teachers & students so often continue in these patterns of objectivity. One major reason is safety: it is known, it gives the teacher authority and control, it also means less is expected of students, and it simplifies our lives rather than revealing the true complexity that exists and the vulnerability that comes from engaging things on a personal level. 2. Another way of knowing is pre-modern subjectivity (and seems to me very post-modern as well) is the opposite swing of the pendulum from modernistic objectivism. - Here the knower and the known can’t be divided, because really it all becomes focused on ourselves, on our perspective (p.27-29). - The opposite of the objectivistic approach, this can only look inward for knowledge, and never really escape that to look beyond it. And can be a dangerous way to prevent us from testing our knowledge or be corrected (p. 55). - Parker says this is another way to avoid being transformed by knowing (p. 55). 3. What is Palmer’s solution? Have learning be motivated by compassion, and to obtain this by seeing knowledge as a means to be in relationship with someone/something else. - He calls it an “ethic of participation and accountability” (p. 51). - Whereas objectivism only utilizes human sensation and rationality, this approach uses other human capacities like: intuition, empathy, emotion, and faith. It considers the whole person (p. 52-53). - “Reality’s ultimate structure is that of an organic, interrelated, mutually responsive community of being. Relationships – not facts and reasons – are the key to reality… (p. 53). Relationships are two-way, observation is not (p.54). - “By Christian understanding, truth is neither ‘out there’ nor ‘in here,’ but both. Truth is between us, in relationship, to be found in dialogue…” (p.55). Midway through the book he acknowledges Buber’s work (p.49-50), and he seems to be saying a very similar thing, calling us to an I-Thou relationship and even community, rather than an I-It dismissal. Parker uses the word “troth” to help make this distinction. “With this word one person enters a covenant with another, a pledge to engage in a mutually accountable and transforming relationship, a relationship forged of trust and faith in the face of unknowable risks” (p. 31). Life happens in community. And he sees know greater example of this than the person of Christ. In Christ, truth entered into human form. “I am the way, the truth…” This allows truth to be relational. “The search for the word of truth becomes the quest for community with each other and all creation” (p.49). “Christianity is not centered around moral teaching, but around a person,” he quotes from Thomas Keating (p.101). - Parker points out the connection between the biblical concept of knowing and loving – even the way “to know” can also mean a sexual relationship - Truth is not inert, but active. And this means knowing is in both directions. “The one-way movement of objectivism, in which the active knower tracks down the inert object of knowledge, becomes the two-way movement of persons in search of each other” (p. 59). He points out 3 ways that we can maintain this relationship based on the monastic traditions: 1) the study of sacred texts, 2) the practice of prayer and contemplation, and 3) the gathered life of the community (p.17). How can we teach in light of this third way? See page 61 and on. - Engage what we are studying in such a way that we feel the topic has “discovered and plumbed” us. - Interview others who have personal experience with the topic - Even with nature or things that are inanimate draw the lines of how our lives our connected with that thing - Find ways to listen to that topic “Truth is found as we are obedient to a pluralistic reality, as we engage in that patient process of dialogue, consensus seeking, and personal transformation in which all parties subject themselves to the bonds of communal troth” (p.68). - Create a learning space with openness, boundaries, and an air of hospitality (p. 71) - That doesn’t fear not knowing (and doesn’t just talk out of anxiety to cover this up) - Not fear long silences in a classroom And very practically: - Set up the classroom by putting the chairs in a circle, to promote lateral learning and a sense of community - Borrow from the monastic “lectio divina”, where you take one brief piece and spend a considerable amount of time dwelling on it (p. 76), use it to create “a common space”, for example give students Martin Buber’s “The Angel and the World’s Dominion” story (p.77), - Make lectures active (like including false information and having students test you on what is true and what isn’t (p.78) - Use silences to teach: at the start of class, as a way to pray, as a break to discussion. Also, be limiting the number of times someone can talk during the class - Use the Quaker practice of “the clearness committee” (p. 82), where one person presents and a committee lessons and only asks questions in response - Make space for feelings: acknowledge this at the front of the class, allow extended introductions of students, introduce oneself and acknowledge emotions regarding the class. Invite students to speak outside of class more about emotions. - At the end of some class sessions take 10-15 mins for a brief corporate evaluation of how the class went (p.86) Palmer describes the importance of acknowledging the present moment of the reality of life in the classroom (rather than the objective approach where this is ignored and reality is “out there”). “The classroom becomes a microcosm of a world governed by the rule of truth” (p. 89). - Using group decision-making exercises, like the “Lost on the Moon” simulation game where a consensus decision is needed. “Complete unanimity is not the goal…But each individual should be able to accept the group rankings on the basis of logic and feasibility” (p. 95) - When the professor addresses a subject they provide: pictures of the person, sketch out their biography, play a tape of them speaking, or a video of them. Bring them to life as much as possible so they can be full understood. - When reading a story like Buber’s “The Angel and The World’s Dominion” (p.77), have the students put themselves in the place of the angel and write a continuation of the story. “Make the students accountable for showing what the poem actually says that evokes his or her response” (p.100). And then have the student listen for a counter-response from the poem. - The teacher is to act as a gracious host full of hospitality, rather than the only objective one in the class. Having enthusiasm about the subject goes a long way. A problem in many classes is that the teacher is “so possessive about the subject that students are denied the chance to relate to it on their own terms” (p. 105) and students then may feel constrained to approach the subject only as the teacher does. Palmer points out that this is motivated by fear, not truth. Palmer makes a strong case for the role that a teacher’s own spiritual formation plays in their being able to do their job well. He looks at ways that spiritual virtues (humility and faith, reverence without idolatry, love and grace) are practically beneficial. He also describes some specific acts that he has practiced that he also finds to act much like spiritual disciplines for teachers: - Studying outside one’s field of expertise, which helps to provide new perspectives and insights - Teach in fields outside one’s own expertise, which causes one to need to do more listening - Become students again, putting oneself in the student’s seat and practicing “displacement” - Displacing oneself via research: ex. John H. Griffin in Black Like Me - Silent meditation, as a means to listen. Palmer describes his experiences with Quaker meetings and their silences. “The ultimate lesson silence has to teach is that God and the world have not absented themselves from us – we have absented ourselves from them” (p.121) The book ends with a strong case of how we need to learn to live in solitude at times, and that this doesn’t mean not living in community. Instead we will live in both and we need to learn not to fear either but to embrace each in turn. And as professors we need to learn to embrace both of these, both professing but also listening.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Naeem

    I’ve read this book twice. The first time through I was put off by what I perceived to be its piety. Not its turn to Christianity, a move I appreciated since I agree that the union with the spiritual or the universal cannot be abstract, it must be particular. Rather, I heard too many “musts” or in his language, I felt him battering me with his “oughts” (8). I complained about his tone which struck me not as suggestive but as mandatory. And his Christianity, I thought was symptomatic of his urgen I’ve read this book twice. The first time through I was put off by what I perceived to be its piety. Not its turn to Christianity, a move I appreciated since I agree that the union with the spiritual or the universal cannot be abstract, it must be particular. Rather, I heard too many “musts” or in his language, I felt him battering me with his “oughts” (8). I complained about his tone which struck me not as suggestive but as mandatory. And his Christianity, I thought was symptomatic of his urgency, his desire to teach me something. I felt a bit annoyed with my friends and colleagues Andy and with Patrick for pushing me to read it. But there was also much to like. And even if I thought I did not want to read it again, something compelled me to return. The second time through, I must have been much more relaxed. Perhaps because I had expressed my complaints and gotten them out of the way. I began to think that I should have my own copy, perhaps teach it in my Writing and Criticism course, and share it with a few close, select friends. Before I get to the benefits of this book, I am going to lay out its limitations. I want to say it in one sentence: Palmer’s spiritual approach is nested neither in a political economy, nor in a political psychology. What makes this book so appealing is that it makes me feel less alone. There are only two colleagues in my 31-year teaching career with whom I would dare to utter the following words: “We teach with love.” I have feared being misunderstood as expressing something soft, Hallmark-like, Disney-like. And I have feared the misunderstanding that love in the classroom is really taboo. But Parker is clear that the love he examines and promotes is rigorous, demanding (9, 46). More like fire than like chocolate. I am especially moved by this line, “How can the places where we learn to know become places we learn to love?” (9). That is the right question. Palmer misses that love is not only the solution to the problem of an objectivist pedagogy, it is also part of the problem. Love of routine, love of slavishness, love of the sources of our affection -- family, friends, nation, such love stops the student from moving into a spiritual community of knowing. I understand that these are two aspects of love: the one that creates a learning community is rigorous and demands deep listening. But equally powerful, if not more, is a second kind of love which promises us warmth and comfort when we do NOT move towards certain types of critical knowledge. Some call it reification, some call it dogma, some call it socialization, some call it family life. Whatever we call it, it is, as the Lacanians say, sticky. This love keeps us from moving towards our greater curiosity, deeper community, and truth. As Palmer says, “we find it safer to seek facts that keep us in power rather than truths that require us to submit” (40). Palmer ignores or by-passes the magnitude of this problem. Instead, he asks why we “choose” the lazy pedagogy, why such a pedagogy persists (39). Why do we act against our seeming better selves? Palmer’s quick turn to answering these questions suggest to me the lack of deeper commitment to the question itself. A second problem is what I take to be Palmer’s emphasis on consensus, harmony, and reconciliation (111). While he is excellent on the centrality of tension and paradox (104, 111), I sense his desire to resolve and not to cultivate the kind of tension that promotes a dissensus. Third, the villain in Palmer’s presentation is objectivism, distancing. He has only one line about its historical emergence: “if the problem with primitive knowledge was the over-identification of the knower with the known, our problem is the estrangement and alienation of the two” (26). Yes, exactly. But I think we might need to excavate how and why it is that our estrangement and alienation was once the solution to the problem of primitive knowledge. And this “solution” is not without its charms and power, not least due to its ability to generate modern science and capitalism. Fourth, I think Palmer wants to believe that he can still be the good teacher, the good person, the good Christian. In a world that is structurally stained, however, it might be that this posture betrays rather than realizes his hopes. Even the teacher who lives up to Palmer’s highest ideals must still perform a kind of love that students will inevitably experience as a kind of loss and violence. Because learning is a kind of ferocity against a prior self. There is no way around this, I’d say. I am not sure Palmer is ready to confront this inevitability. And yet there are gems here. So many that I want to list them: - His emphasis on healing the world (8); - The powerful work he derives from the monastic tradition which gives us: the reading of texts as a kind of sacred activity, the practice of reading and thinking as a kind of prayer, and the goal of creating communities of learning (17); - That the link in all epistemological chains are not ideas and theories, but rather a teacher, a mentor, a guide (29); - That the foundational unit of teaching, learning, and knowing are relationships (53); - The essential relationship of “truth” to “troth” – a kind of fidelity and faithfulness (31) - That in knowing the world, we are also coming to be known by it (36); - That learning is about transformation and not-learning is about the fear of transformation (54); - That we cannot learn without being in love (58); - That as we read texts, they also read us (59, 62); - That the classroom is, in fact, necessarily within the world (88); and, - That we cannot begin to know ourselves without knowing the Hitler within us (102). All these are ideas and practices in which I have been engaged and that have immersed me. But reading them on the page makes two differences. First, as I said, it makes me less alone by affirming that I am perhaps not randomly wild in my pedagogical trajectory. Second, it helps me to understand that I have always known this method and that I am being known by it; that my growth as a teacher has been somehow not been unsystematic. The book has become a friend, an intimate. Something and someone with whom I can commune in a productive tension.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

    I didn't hesitate to order this book after reading the rave reviews. I mean, come on, what teacher could dislike a book which includes in the title: "Education as a Spiritual Journey"? At this point, I sheepishly raise my hand. I am simply not Zen-enough to tackle this book. Here is an excerpt on "The Rule of Truth," pg.88. You be the judge: To speak of the classroom as a place "in which obedience to truth is practiced" is to break the barriers between the classroom and the world--past, present, I didn't hesitate to order this book after reading the rave reviews. I mean, come on, what teacher could dislike a book which includes in the title: "Education as a Spiritual Journey"? At this point, I sheepishly raise my hand. I am simply not Zen-enough to tackle this book. Here is an excerpt on "The Rule of Truth," pg.88. You be the judge: To speak of the classroom as a place "in which obedience to truth is practiced" is to break the barriers between the classroom and the world--past, present, and future. To speak this way is to affirm that what happens in the classroom is happening in the world; the way we relate to each other and our subject reflects and shapes the way we conduct our relationships in the world. By this definition of teaching, we practice troth between knowers and the known in the classroom itself. Apparently.....I am not worthy....

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Howrey

    I required this book for my master's students, and found myself changing and growing as I read it. Palmer is a gifted philosopher and discusses how are view of truth and reality translate to how we treat other people. He speaks of truth as neither fully objective nor fully subjective, but somewhere in between. It made a lot of sense to me when he said that people who see truth as something completely objective will see people and the world as something outside of them to be manipulated and contro I required this book for my master's students, and found myself changing and growing as I read it. Palmer is a gifted philosopher and discusses how are view of truth and reality translate to how we treat other people. He speaks of truth as neither fully objective nor fully subjective, but somewhere in between. It made a lot of sense to me when he said that people who see truth as something completely objective will see people and the world as something outside of them to be manipulated and controlled, leading to literal and figurative fragmentation of our teaching. To create a real classroom community, we need to recognize the interconnectedness of the world and its people, causing us to listen more and care for each other. He has practical ways for the teacher to do this, but stresses that we first must work on our own spirit and spiritual practices. However I didn't give this book five stars because the conversational tone makes it difficult. I read it like a scholarly journal article: read it once and underline important parts, read it again, and outline it in a Word document with important quotes included. There is something about having to process the information into an outline and writing the actual words of the author that make it more comprehensible and easier to remember. This book is well worth the effort.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aryeh

    Occasionally great books come into your life at exactly the right time. This was one of those. Parker J. Palmer (PhD from UC Berkeley) writes from a Religious Society of Friends/Quaker perspective but it 'translates,' as all great works do, to truth across denominations and across religions. I, a Conservative rabbinical student who read this book as an assignment for CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education/Chaplaincy training), read it as if it were directly written to me. Even though he uses older exa Occasionally great books come into your life at exactly the right time. This was one of those. Parker J. Palmer (PhD from UC Berkeley) writes from a Religious Society of Friends/Quaker perspective but it 'translates,' as all great works do, to truth across denominations and across religions. I, a Conservative rabbinical student who read this book as an assignment for CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education/Chaplaincy training), read it as if it were directly written to me. Even though he uses older examples, from the Desert Fathers of the Early Christian Church, I can't help but to notice how similar some of Palmer's understandings of Teacher/Student relationships are to ideas proposed by Hasidic rebbes of over a hundred years ago (and the Aish Kodesh, more recently than that). I feel that Palmer's model of becoming teacher only through a sense of calling and a lifetime of self spiritual work (and that doesn't mean being 'religious') truly could and should change education systems worldwide. This should be required reading for anyone in any form of education or religious leadership. This should also be required reading for anyone who has ever been a student, and by that I mean everyone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nithin Thompson

    My first Parker Palmer book. What a great writer. Truly a gift to the church. I loved his distinction between objective truth and subjective truth and how Christian knowing is the space between object and subject. For Christians Truth is a Person, and can't only be studied like a history book, but experienced and reflected on like a sunset. I only wish he had more applications for pastors and not just academic professors. The practical applications he did have seem added on and not full flowing My first Parker Palmer book. What a great writer. Truly a gift to the church. I loved his distinction between objective truth and subjective truth and how Christian knowing is the space between object and subject. For Christians Truth is a Person, and can't only be studied like a history book, but experienced and reflected on like a sunset. I only wish he had more applications for pastors and not just academic professors. The practical applications he did have seem added on and not full flowing from the main theories.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leanna Aker

    This was a wonderful read, and one I will keep coming back to as I continue the ongoing process of evaluating and refining my own teaching. I should begin my review by identifying myself as an agnostic/atheist. This book was assigned reading in a Morals in Education course I am taking. I was a bit skeptical that this book would be heavy-handed on religion and Christianity--it wasn't. While several religious stories were included to make points, I found that the author's style really transcended This was a wonderful read, and one I will keep coming back to as I continue the ongoing process of evaluating and refining my own teaching. I should begin my review by identifying myself as an agnostic/atheist. This book was assigned reading in a Morals in Education course I am taking. I was a bit skeptical that this book would be heavy-handed on religion and Christianity--it wasn't. While several religious stories were included to make points, I found that the author's style really transcended all of the typical adages and exclamations that many religious books do. Perhaps the most wonderful part of the book were the chapters that dealt with "how to create a space in which obedience to truth is practiced." The phrase "obedient to truth" might raise alarm bells, but it shouldn't. Palmer's conception of obedience to truth will ring true to anyone who is a teacher or has taught. His basic idea is that three basic features are necessary to create this space: openness, boundaries, and hospitality. Not only does Palmer talk philosophically about what this means, but he also gives concrete, implementable strategies and examples. This is touchy-feely teacher book meets how-to manual meets honest self-evaluation tool. Highly recommend to all educators.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Crimson Sparrow

    I continue to be impressed at Palmer’s ability to walk his audience simply and clearly through the intellectual rigors of recognizing and analyzing objectivism as an epistemology rather than the truth to which it claims ultimate access and over which it claims ultimate authority. He does this while also articulating contrasting perspectives and maintaining a brilliant tension between them, demonstrating in unparalleled ways the both-and approach so many wrestle to describe (let alone embody). Thi I continue to be impressed at Palmer’s ability to walk his audience simply and clearly through the intellectual rigors of recognizing and analyzing objectivism as an epistemology rather than the truth to which it claims ultimate access and over which it claims ultimate authority. He does this while also articulating contrasting perspectives and maintaining a brilliant tension between them, demonstrating in unparalleled ways the both-and approach so many wrestle to describe (let alone embody). This is a MUST READ for ministers, lay leaders, anyone who works in any role in education, leadership, training, or anyone who just loves learning. This is a MUST READ for anyone who is interested in seeking truth and who is seeking to be formed by truth. Frankly, I cannot think of anyone who should not read this book. I also recommend following up with Palmer's "The Courage to Teach."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kirstie

    First off, I feel Palmer handled this topic very well, and I would say I largely (if not fully) agree with him. My only critique of the book is of a more personal nature: The book is very dense and abstract. While each chapter built on the previous one, sometimes I felt the concepts were almost too similar or he was just playing with semantics. I also wished that he would've shared more how he was able to (or tries too) incorporate the spiritual into his classroom. At the end of the book, I want First off, I feel Palmer handled this topic very well, and I would say I largely (if not fully) agree with him. My only critique of the book is of a more personal nature: The book is very dense and abstract. While each chapter built on the previous one, sometimes I felt the concepts were almost too similar or he was just playing with semantics. I also wished that he would've shared more how he was able to (or tries too) incorporate the spiritual into his classroom. At the end of the book, I wanted to know, "Did the spiritual improve you as a teacher? What difference did you notice in yourself or your students from making these changes?" I felt like the book was one large rhetorical question with him assuming I would arrive at the same answer.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Noah

    I read this book as a part of my graduate course, so it is probably not one I would have picked up on my own. I'm very glad that I read it though, he articulates beautifully some wonderful thoughts on how teaching and learning is about community and not about competition. He talks at one point about how when we read, we not only learn from what is in them, but the story reads us as well, and discovers parts of us that we may not be familiar with. I really enjoyed that idea, and can see how it is I read this book as a part of my graduate course, so it is probably not one I would have picked up on my own. I'm very glad that I read it though, he articulates beautifully some wonderful thoughts on how teaching and learning is about community and not about competition. He talks at one point about how when we read, we not only learn from what is in them, but the story reads us as well, and discovers parts of us that we may not be familiar with. I really enjoyed that idea, and can see how it is true from what I have been reading in recent months. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially if you work in the field of education (at any level). Reading for graduate school means I read less of anything else. It is good reading, but sometimes I miss fluff.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Naum

    One to add to the re-read pile. One of those books that I highlighted just about every other paragraph. I need to reread too, as if I attempt to do a roundup of the content, it's going to sound too abstract, but it's not heady stuff at all. Rather, it is an eloquent inquiry into "obedience of truth", what it means to educate and to be educated, that to love is "to know" and "to know" is to love. That it is about asking questions and inciting an inner fire, not about authoritarian objectivism or su One to add to the re-read pile. One of those books that I highlighted just about every other paragraph. I need to reread too, as if I attempt to do a roundup of the content, it's going to sound too abstract, but it's not heady stuff at all. Rather, it is an eloquent inquiry into "obedience of truth", what it means to educate and to be educated, that to love is "to know" and "to know" is to love. That it is about asking questions and inciting an inner fire, not about authoritarian objectivism or subjective "everyone has their own truth" relativism. Have read a number of books by Parker Palmer and most are OK, a few were good, but this was an extraordinary read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alwen

    I read this book in college and don't remember a lot of the particulars, but I know I found it revolutionary, and it changed the way I thought about knowledge, helping me to move into an "I-Thou" relationship with the world I studied and the students I taught rather than objectifying and distancing. Though I haven't thought about it in years, the journey it helped me start no doubt is a big part of the reason I teach and coach and mother as I do, aiming always at a deep respect for and discovery I read this book in college and don't remember a lot of the particulars, but I know I found it revolutionary, and it changed the way I thought about knowledge, helping me to move into an "I-Thou" relationship with the world I studied and the students I taught rather than objectifying and distancing. Though I haven't thought about it in years, the journey it helped me start no doubt is a big part of the reason I teach and coach and mother as I do, aiming always at a deep respect for and discovery of the authentic "isness" in each person.

  13. 4 out of 5

    J. Rutherford

    Palmer mixes vague and ambiguous poetic rhetoric and etymological fallacies with a generic spirituality in a largely unconvincing book that offers one or two good ideas with a whole lot of bad ones.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    A great summer read for teachers - heals the wounds of the previous year and prepares you for the next

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adam Uraynar

    Ideas > objective vs subjective philosophy > philosophy of truth > p 84 What does it mean to fear fear? > lectio divina clearness committee (originally for a couple to be married has extended to anyone who wants help thinking something through >> First, write out the dilemma (with background info) and share it with 5-6 others >> Then, committee members can only ask questions (not offer answers explicitly). >>> "The answers generate more questions, and the questions ge Ideas > objective vs subjective philosophy > philosophy of truth > p 84 What does it mean to fear fear? > lectio divina clearness committee (originally for a couple to be married has extended to anyone who wants help thinking something through >> First, write out the dilemma (with background info) and share it with 5-6 others >> Then, committee members can only ask questions (not offer answers explicitly). >>> "The answers generate more questions, and the questions generate more answers and both question and answers deepen as the meeting goes one." [sic?] > the classroom being here, and reality "out there" > telling a lie that contains more truth than merely telling the truth Quotes p 3 In another book he argues that, "knowledge emerges as we impose a mental order on the [welter of sensory impressions (chaos)] that surrounds us." 81 "a silent space seems inhospitable at first to people who measure progress by noise." 82 "it is often better to speak a question than an answer. [...] silence is a question itself." 84 [paraphrased] strangeness of what I don't know--having to expose my ignorance--and having to face failure. It's similar to actually failing, which should happen. It should be embraced. From Werner Dannhauser, "afraid of exposing my stupidity, but he set up situations where one learned not to be afraid to admit that, or that, one did not understand." There are multiple avenues for you to interpret this. I tried to separate the two main ideas I picked out by making the second one grey. It's from Dietrich Bonhoeffer: For example, a teacher asks a child in front of the class whether it is true that his father often comes home drunk. It is true, but the child denies it. The teacher's question has placed him in a situation for which he is not yet prepared. He feels [...] what is taking place is an unjustified interference in the order of the family and that he must oppose it. What goes the family is not for the ears of the class in school. [...] The teacher has failed to respect the reality of this institution. The child ought now to find a way of answering which would comply with both the rule of the family and the rule of the school. But he is not yet able to do this. He lacks experience, knowledge, and the ability to express himself in the right way. As a simple no to the teacher's question the child’s answer is certainly untrue; yet at the same time it nevertheless gives expression to the truth that the family is an institution sui generis and that the teacher had no right to interfere in it. The child’s answer can indeed be called a lie; yet this lie contains more truth, that is to say, it, is more in accordance with reality than would have been the case if the child had betrayed his father's weakness in front of the class. [...] Indeed here already it becomes apparent how very difficult his to say what actually constitutes a lie. http://www.nyu.edu/classes/gmoran/BON...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Zachary

    Parker Palmer has written out a fascinating and engaging approach to teaching that unearths the epistemological foundation of that endeavor. Though his approach and points are not necessarily “Christian,” I think his religious background does provide some key values and practices that can uniquely enable and encourage the growth he is calling for in this book. One of the themes which cuts through the book is Palmer’s pushback against and objectivist approach to the world. He really advocates for Parker Palmer has written out a fascinating and engaging approach to teaching that unearths the epistemological foundation of that endeavor. Though his approach and points are not necessarily “Christian,” I think his religious background does provide some key values and practices that can uniquely enable and encourage the growth he is calling for in this book. One of the themes which cuts through the book is Palmer’s pushback against and objectivist approach to the world. He really advocates for a personal and relational approach to knowing. He talks about engaging truth in troth, in a sort of covenanted, promissory way that trusts and believes in the relationship with truth. By the end of the book Palmer is saying some things which might almost feel reminiscent of the “monk in a cave” sort of mysterious talk about knowing and truth, but by the time he gets to those statements he’s established a foundational understanding of what knowing is, so the statements feel less “monkish” and more a pleading to know in this way. One of the best aspects of this book is its length – it is not very long. The edition (1993) I had was barely 125 pages, with most chapters falling around the 15 page mark. The writing, though rich, is not too deep. This is a book I would highly recommend any teacher (especially high school teachers and above), and I think it would also provide some very good concepts and ideas (and practices) for pastors and church leaders/teachers. All in all, even if you are not a Christian, I think you can take away some really excellent things from this book about what it means to know (epistemology).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Greer

    This is a fine book but I wasn't really in the mood. This is also the first Parker Palmer book I've tried to read and it probably would have been a wiser move to start with one of his more well known titles. Nevertheless, I didn't dislike this, and if you're in a profession that requires you to relate to others from a position of authority and you're looking for ways of bridging that power divide in a way that encourages participation... well... this is a start I suppose. Here are a few lines fr This is a fine book but I wasn't really in the mood. This is also the first Parker Palmer book I've tried to read and it probably would have been a wiser move to start with one of his more well known titles. Nevertheless, I didn't dislike this, and if you're in a profession that requires you to relate to others from a position of authority and you're looking for ways of bridging that power divide in a way that encourages participation... well... this is a start I suppose. Here are a few lines from the book that I found particularly insightful. We find it safer to seek facts that keep us in power rather than truths that require us to submit. Here is an important paradox. Objectivism, by reducing the world to a collection of things, places the knower in a field of mute and inert objects that passively succumb to his or her definitions of them. In this sense, objectivism creates the most subjective of worlds, a world created in our own images, a world of objects that cannot fight back and assert their own selfhood. But when we try to know the world in terms of personal truth - relating to each other, to history, to nature, as selves in conversation - then we everywhere meet the person, who refuses to succumb to our private distortions of reality. The knower who advances most rapidly toward the heart of truth is one who not only asks "What is out there?" in each encounter with the world, but one who also asks, "What does this encounter reveal about me?"

  18. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    I picked up this book as part of a gift card from a student, which is, of course, oddly appropriate. Parker Palmer has figured large for me the last couple of years as I move into mid-career. His Courage to Teach is, of course, more recent, but To Know as We Are Known is the book which established Parker Palmer as a major figure in the contemplative teaching movement which emerged in the course of the 1990s. This is, of course, an early work, so much of the thinking which has gone into Courage t I picked up this book as part of a gift card from a student, which is, of course, oddly appropriate. Parker Palmer has figured large for me the last couple of years as I move into mid-career. His Courage to Teach is, of course, more recent, but To Know as We Are Known is the book which established Parker Palmer as a major figure in the contemplative teaching movement which emerged in the course of the 1990s. This is, of course, an early work, so much of the thinking which has gone into Courage to Teach is here, but not as developed. To Know is a call to move away from an overall rationalistic and mechanistic pedagogy to one which seeks greater depth in teaching. The focus is more towards how do we know and what kind of knowledge do we need. One of the interesting elements is that Palmer is more explicitly Christian in this early book, but that makes sense because he consciously shifts his language to an approach more inclusive of other faiths. I found the language familiar, of course, and enjoyed the connection to the monastic tradition of education, but then I am Christian and influenced by Benedictine spirituality. This is worth reading, although Courage to Teach really does represent Parker Palmer's fully developed spirituality of teaching.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Fox

    This book was attractive to me having understood a little about the author. He not only explores the education but the educator and digs deep into the process of both. This un-bias approach gave me no prejudice to read it. In some ways I am an educator but in others I am the educated. In seven chapters the author simplifies without being shallow but leaves the reader lingering at the close of each chapter. My time is short with my professional and domestic responsibilities but it did leave me wa This book was attractive to me having understood a little about the author. He not only explores the education but the educator and digs deep into the process of both. This un-bias approach gave me no prejudice to read it. In some ways I am an educator but in others I am the educated. In seven chapters the author simplifies without being shallow but leaves the reader lingering at the close of each chapter. My time is short with my professional and domestic responsibilities but it did leave me wanting the book to be longer in content. Knowing is loving' was the opening theme I found absolutely counter-culture in so many ways for my generation. I was raised with `information is power' which is extremely opposite. Added to this `information' was the future as I am old enough to have experienced the creation of the `home computer' and the greed of the `dot-com' companies that were built on this premise of information. But `knowing is loving' was delightfully challenging. The author launched into the obvious effect of `knowledge' that leads to violence, or as he puts it, `wanting to renounce it the day after.' This type of knowing is defusing and deforming to the knowing of ourselves and how we are made and fitted together as God intended. Not just the fitting of a person together but of persons in community together. He broaches the subject of education being spiritually forming. The author does this by defining the journey as personal, communal, collegial, and experiential. Too much of the learning process about `self' from preschool to graduate classes (and beyond) is impersonal and highly independent, even competitive. He refers to the `hidden' wholeness as the experience of educator, student and the subject all interacting together. In other places he refers to it as the space (or desert) in which truth is practiced. On any subject the emotional interaction makes it truly communal therefore a shared experience. He leaves each point he makes open ended, not really adding a personal narrative that other books of this type often do. He encourages personal experience so we can profess it - in other words - be in community. Someone needs to speak, others need to listen, then some need to react and respond. While reading the material I found myself pausing for reflection on my own forty-one years of education both at school and in life (or are they both the same according to the author?) The humor to this was the author's statement that rigorous commitment to the process can easily become rigor mortis is the participants become dogmatic and dictatorial. Again, I cannot help but think that this type of learning as a spiritual journey may be a planet that Captain James T. Kirk found on the 1960's series Star Trek. This leads me to think that the church must be central to where this spiritual learning and journey takes place. If we can allow ourselves the opportunity to create space we are also creating opportunity for others to learn. Right now I am thinking about my own three children and the dictatorial way in which I can sometimes teach them. Yet I have also found myself creating space for them to experience with me. I am learning as a father and they are learning as my children. But deeper than that, I am learning `who' they are as they are learning `who' I am. Truly spiritual! The author's statement made on page one hundred and thirteen stuck we me: "The true professor is not one who controls facts and theories and technologies. The true professor is one who affirms a transcendent center of truth, a center that lies beyond our contriving, that enters history through the lives of those who profess it and brings us into community with each other and the world." This long statement carried much of the sentiment I think the author is attempting (with success) to convey. Am I controlling theories and techniques? Do I do this as a husband, father, pastor, and friend and so on? A perfect example of this would be the `rules' I lay down for my children. I am not referring to common sense and issues of security and safety but one of method. I have `laid the law down' only to be shown what Jesus calls a `better way' through the lives of my own children. I can also apply this to my wife not in the fact that she is female and has different abilities and skills than me but her `understanding' of the world, creation, our children, worship, material possessions and how it all works together. My greatest shame would be `proclamation' from the pulpit only to be faced with my own emancipation of my own proclamation that Sunday afternoon. Space to know and experience truth together driving out of Wal-Mart and listening to one of my kids yell `hobo' while pointing at a homeless man at the parking lot entrance. At the same time my other son asking if he can give the man some money to help while I am wanting to ignore his need for food and shelter having `taught' the church that day to be all-inclusive. At the same time my wife rebukes my other son for yelling hobo as my daughter has already rolled down the window and handed the man a dollar bill from her little pink bag. As we drive away, what was happening in the car? Who was teaching who and what was learned between my family of five and a homeless man? What space was created for this, if any? My only reserve here is the writer's age and personal experience as I understand it. Perhaps if a twenty-something author had penned the same book it may have had a deeper impact because the body of content at large is so counter-culture. But then again, if the educational process (as the author describes) is the experience of `people' and `space' over time - the author could not be that young.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Parker Palmer's approach to education is highly relational, asserting that we learn only in the context of relationships with one another. In To Know as We are Known, Palmer describes learning through more than just the mind (heart, relationships, soul) as critical for deep understanding. I really appreciated this more holistic approach to learning (both integrated within oneself and connected to community).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben Daghir

    Palmer's "The Courage To Teach" is a phenomenal book, but this book did not do much for me. His last chapter is worth the read, but I wouldn't recommend the book to someone else. Despite this rough read, I'll dive into another one of his books in the future because of how excellent "The Courage To Teach" book has been for my understanding of education.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This new model for authentic teaching and learning resonates with much I have learned in other spheres regarding spirituality, learning, culture, and the nature of God. But it certainly requires taking time to look at education, learning and truth in a new light - from a totally different perspective.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nate Polsfut

    Hands down, the most meaningful book I’ve read about pedagogy. Palmer navigates the pedagogical landscape of faith and education. Palmer writes with a strong influence of Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed) and takes a genuine look at incarnational pedagogy. Def. recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Read it many years ago and was recently reminded of it by my father. Can't wait to read it again. Introduced me to the spirituality inherent in education. Enlivened the journey of learning as a pursuit of truth rather than mere regurgitation of facts.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brandy McCurdy

    Incredibly verbose. He takes entire chapters to delve into common sense notions that could be expressed in a sentence or two.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katharine

    Maybe the best book I've ever read on education. Parker Palmer discussed so many questions I didn't even know I had -- this is a book I will own forever.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Corene Everett

    Parker Palmer has so much to say about truth, learning, creating a space for learning to happen, teaching, etc. A gem.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Patchin

    Rich and inspiring. I will definitely have to revisit this for further contemplation.

  29. 5 out of 5

    John

    Inspiring....

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    I cannot count how many times I have returned to this book.

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