The Blog of Jack Holloway

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review: The Courage to Teach


Parker J. Palmer's The Courage to Teach is a book absolutely critical for someone in a teaching position, or interested in teaching. However, though it is about teaching, anyone and everyone can benefit from reading it. It transcends the subject of teaching and is applicable to life in general. The book is, and I am not exaggerating, a fountain of profound knowledge.
Palmer talks about the flaws of objectivism and its effect on the teacher's mind, as well as the student's mind (and really, on the average American's mind). He contends that it creates disconnectedness that makes proper learning impossible. In that disconnectedness, we divide apart our world and engage in flawed mindsets like competition.

He expresses the need for a teacher to provide community for students, through being connected with the subject and connected with them. One has to be made vulnerable in order to really teach and to really learn. He describes teaching and learning as a great paradox, but a paradox that must be embraced if we are to learn and teach properly.

Palmer suggests that the modern mind is full of division and disconnectedness and must be remedied by community and connectedness. Throughout the book, he shows how this can be accomplished in various ways. It is a truly profound book. I have learned a lot from reading it and I highly recommend it.

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