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The Alchemy of Teaching: The Transformation of Lives
Education is, or should be, a spiritual act. It concerns the development of consciousness and how we relate to the world. In fact, the desire to affect lives in this deeper sense is what drives many people into teaching in the first place. Yet books on education often neglect this aspect of teaching, which gets buried under comprehensive plans, organizational restructuring ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 16th 2013 by Sentient Publications
(first published February 16th 2013)
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In The Alchemy of Teaching, Jeremiah Conway states his purpose as follows: “This is a book about teaching. It’s not, however, about tips, techniques, or new strategies regarding how to educate…Instead of providing some theoretical model of what education should be, it redirects attention to the actual experience of teaching—in particular, to those events of human change that education both engenders and witnesses.” In other words, the author, who is a professor of philosophy at a small public co ...more
Conway states up front that this is not a "How To" manual for educators, and he holds to that. It is instead a collection of stories about moments in his teaching career that have opened his eyes. The book is very accessible, though, as he is a philosophy professor, a little heavy on philosophers and philosophy. His message is essentially that education is all about transformation, and that teachers have to make a space available in which students can take part. There are no earth-shattering rev ...more
The Alchemy of Teaching is an extremely well-written book that inspires the reader to make the most of education whether as a student, as a teacher, as a parent, or as a mentor. Conway not only gives the reader excellent tips like slowing down and paying close attention to the student, but he also emphasizes his knowledge by telling real stories about his pupils. In the book, Conway encounters a variety of students who present different types of problems, and he handles them all with care. This ...more
Although at times a bit pedantic and self-congratulatory, this book helped me dust off some of my principles of teaching that have been buried under ELTs, the 5-paragraph essay, informational texts, frustration with apathy, and on and on. Conway reminded me of the reason I got into teaching...because I love books, I love people, and I believe that the merging of the two can spark some unbelievable magic.
Conway provides a beautifully nuanced view into the education arena. I found myself making lots of notes in the margins, and plan on doing a second reading of the book in the near future. I truly enjoy when a book makes me ponder the realms of possibility, especially when it comes to the learning brain.