To Know as We Are Known: A Spirituality of Education
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To Know as We Are Known: A Spirituality of Education

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  356 ratings  ·  32 reviews
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.
ebook, 160 pages
Published June 22nd 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1983)
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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...more
Brook M.
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...more
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 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...more
A great summer read for teachers - heals the wounds of the previous year and prepares you for the next
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...more
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...more
Christopher Rush
This book was not as good as I was hoping it would be, and it certainly doesn't live up to the hype some other reviewers gave it. It isn't the "balm for a wounded teacher's soul" as some call it, unless the wounds a teacher received during the school year were of the papercut variety (which don't usually get to the soul). There's an odd tension throughout the first half of the book, in which Palmer tries to balance "old epistemologies" (that he says are the way to go) and "new epistemologies" (t...more
Of note in the book:
“But yield who will to their separation
My object is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As two eyes make one in sight.
Robert Frost

p. 12
Thomas Merton: “The object of education is to show a person how to define himself authentically and spontaneously in relation to his world.
p. 33-5
When the highest form of classroom participation is the answering of a question, we come to see truth as other and as out there apart from us; knowing becomes a spectator sport. But knowing involv...more
When I first read this book about 10 years ago, it blew my mind. I go back to it from time to time for a refresher of its ideas, or simply to be encouraged and inspired. Palmer provides a compelling and accessible introduction to epistemology in general, and explains why the purely "objective" approach to knowledge that most of us were taught in school is incomplete and misleading. He describes learning in terms of relationships - to ourselves, our teachers, our fellow learners, and to whatever/...more
Mar 01, 2008 Susie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: educators, philosophical dabblers, ministers
A fascinating look at education from an alternative perspective. Full of suggestions for how educational models and individual teachers can move beyond the "information dump" strategy that leads students to passively absorb information, which they will then later use for their own purposes without a sense of responsibility to the truth. It also goes further to argue against the objectifying nature of modern education for a more relational model of truth and learning. Not relativistic--in fact, h...more
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...more
Beth Yost
Palmer contests the typical philosophy of education and simply claims that it is one in which we can only find by dedicating our hearts to teaching and learning. Educators are focusing too much on our controlling narrow conception of kowledge rather than how it is presented. Knowledge is not the fundamental understanding of skill. Knowledge is building a relationship between the learner and the lesson. A school is not a "training camp" for the very harsh and real world, it is a place to experime...more
It was okay. Parts were quite good, and other parts were so abstract (mystical?) that it was not at all clear what they meant. I found Palmer's The Courage to Teach to be more helpful.
Read this small wonder first in 1989. Have reread a few times over the years. It is a key voice in my development as a teacher. It speaks eloquently and demandingly of the teacher I aspire to be one day. Retreading now as I begin again the journey to another school year.

July 15, 2013— Just finished this lovingly challenging "truthful" book. Amazed at the insight. Challenged by its call. Wondering how this will, once again, change me as teacher? The last chapter on the spiritual formation of tea...more
This is one of his earliest books. I read it before he had written The Courage to Teach. I like the whole concept and idea of "knowing" and "being known" that he puts forth in this book and "The Courage to Teach". For me it speaks to the importance of authentic writing, writing with voice, sharing personal stories, challenging objective writing, assignments and activities that take students farther and farther away from themselves and their experiences, lives and their emotions.
Chs. 5-6 were assigned for the Conyers Scholars in April 2014.
Wendy Jackson
This is the best book I've read about what it means to be a Christian teacher. It is also, in my opinion, Palmer's best book. Many of the ideas presented here in an overtly Christian manner are presented in later books in a more inclusive way that addresses all "people of faith" rather than Christians in particular. I prefer this one.
Jeff Richards
Truth seeks us just as we seek truth. It's not necessarily an equal equation, but if we are honest and humble with ourselves the real truth tends to show up in our midst. This truth is not something that is ours, no, this is something that changes us.
Rich Kooyer
The lofty ideas in the book really couldn't support a realistic learning plan in most congregations. There are plenty of universal ideas that work well in many environments but the lack of a plan to get there left a lot of holes.
Jun 25, 2009 Tiffany added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers/educators
Shelves: give-away
Education/Teaching. Parker Palmer is timeless. Debated parting with this one, but finally decided if someone else could use it it would be doing more than I have been with it. Free to good home.
Jan 04, 2008 Josh rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Educators
Recommended to Josh by: Bill Estes
Shelves: spirituality
One of my graduate professors gave me this book after I told him I was reading The Courage to Teach (also by Parker Palmer). I found this book to be equally inspiring. Great stuff.
I read this as part of the SPU MTMS program and I thought it was a great book. Especially the emphasis on creating space for obedience to the truth. I would recommend this book!
What I remember from this book are the 3 C's of education: curiosity, control and compassion. He is a great thinker and I know teachers who say he has changed their lives.
Bill Russell
Extraordinary book on learning as a communal, relational event. Also very spiritual: truth is objective, and seeking you, the learner.
this is the teaching text i'm eternally reading; it's an especially good companion for the labor-day-through-thanksgiving-break stretch...
Classic Palmer! This was great to read as I have been making these connections for some time now in my own life!
Two of life's deepest needs: to know and be known. Excellent book to which I refer regularly.
Geoffrey Smith
Just started. I have a feeling that all journeys are spiritual...
Jul 09, 2009 RF marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
again - recommended by our spiritual director friend
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Parker J. Palmer (Madison, WI) is a writer, teacher and activist whose work speaks deeply to people in many walks of life. Author of eight books--including the bestsellers Courage to Teach, Let Your Life Speak, and A Hidden Wholeness--his writing has been recognized with ten honorary doctorates and many national awards, including the 2010 William Rainey Harper Award (previously won by Margaret Mea...more
More about Parker J. Palmer...
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit The Active Life: A Spirituality of Work, Creativity, and Caring

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