ToKnow As We Are Known: A Spirituality of Education
Knowledgeis power. In life, everyone strives to understand the environment aswell as the people surrounding them. This indicates that we are knowndifferently by people who we interact with. To better understandoneself, there must be a self-knowledge. The process of understandingself is not very easy. Nevertheless, Palmer makes this possiblethrough his book “To Know As We Are Known: A Spirituality ofEducation”. This paper entails a brief review of the bookemphasizing on the fact that “What’s old is newagain”. Reading through the book, any student or teacher willeasily understand who he or she if through the pages. It is rare toget a book that combines both spirituality, theories of education,theology and vocational discernment. Palmer excels in this as he hascategorically combined all of those arguing that it is fairly typicalof the Western intelligent model. According to Palmer, curiosity andcontrol are major sources of the quest for knowledge. The two aspectsare incorporated in one aspect, Love1. The book clearly illustrates that love serves as an intimate link tothe outside world in which we live. The theme “what is old is new”is clearly demonstrated when the author explains that the reason ofeducation is the link to the world in faithful and natural ways. The major part of the book is about epistemology. Theauthor highlights three approaches to learning which are distinct andexplains the manner in which they are incorporated in the classroom.The first approach is the modernistic objectivity2.Objective knowledge concerns an experience between the object beingstudied and the scholar. Through believing, we form the separationbetween self and what we are studying we form a medium to influencewhat we are learning about from a considerable distance. In such anapproach, an individual’s motives of control and curiosity are leadto stroll freely instead of truthfully engaging with the subject andseeing the way it impacts one’s life. The second approach ispre-modern subjectivity. According to Parker, this approach is moreabout avoiding a transformation by knowing. He then gives an approachthat he deems to be the solution. The author argues that takingcompassion to be a motivation for learning is the solution to theapproaches of learning. This can be obtained through looking atknowledge as a means to be in association with somethingelse. Compassion entails three things according to Palmer:Hospitality, Openness and Boundaries3.For effective learning and teaching, these three must be involved inthe classroom culture. The reader will easily meditate on the threeand get motivated on the way to achieve a balance in their learningand teaching. For instance, when you understand about boundaries, onewill be able to act in a disciplined manner and focus on attainingeducational goals. Openness gives one freedom to pursue ideas andskills with a lot of creativity and curiosity while hospitalitypermits one to be respectful and responsible4.
Conclusion Thebook is simply outstanding and very transformational, hence thephrase “What is old is new”. The emphasis of the model created bythe author is on the premise that truth is neither objective norsubjective. Truth is coherent. The actual truth can only be got in anopen enthusiasm to search out and listen, respect to the issue beinglearned, the learners and the future being created in one accord.Anybody willing to be a teacher will find the last chapter to becrucial. Palmer derives development of practices from spiritualpractices in the history of Christianity. Discipline, humility,practicing silence and solitude are some of attributes presented byPalmer that can transform any teacher.
Palmer,Parker J. To Know As We Are Known. San Francisco: Harper & Row,1983.
1 Parker J Palmer, To Know As We Are Known (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983).
2 Parker J Palmer, To Know As We Are Known (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983).
3 Parker J Palmer, To Know As We Are Known (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983).
4 Parker J Palmer, To Know As We Are Known (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983).