Recently I heard a faculty member discussing how during final exams students were made to turn their baseball caps around and not bring water bottles to the exam God forbid if they write an answer on their cap or have magic water that gives them all the answers. Final exams, based on whatever the authoritarian wants them to regurgitate, are taken in sterile no talking environment with correctly spaced desks designed to stop cheating criminals. This is a learning experience based on doubt, fear and resentment. When you think of how you learn, what kind of experience do you visualize? A learning experience based on doubt, fear, and resentment? Or a learning experience based on faith, courage and love?
Parker J. Palmer, in the The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life points out if we want to grow we need to go beyond our fear of the personal and make connections to learners’ inner lives.
If we want to grow as teachers — we must do something alien to academic culture: we must talk to each other about our inner lives — risky stuff in a profession that fears the personal and seeks safety in the technical, the distant, the abstract.
The best learning experience is based on faith, courage, and love. How do you teach, with your heart or a stick?