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Minding the Light

Dalke, Anne / Dixson, Barbara (eds.)

Minding the Light

Essays in Friendly Pedagogy

Series: Studies in Education and Spirituality - Volume 6

Year of Publication: 2004

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2004. X, 209 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8204-6357-5 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.320 kg, 0.705 lbs

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Book synopsis

This book presents a series of thoughtful and revealing reflections – excerpts from the inner and outer lives of college teachers – from which emerges a common concern for the interactive and spiritual dimensions of the educational process, and a rich sense of the light which can and should illuminate it. Informed either by personal commitment to Quakerism, or by individual work within Quaker institutions, the contributors offer perspectives that are important for teachers, parents, and readers generally interested in the classroom experience as a process of growth and exploration. Minding the Light provides an inspiring outline of «friendly pedagogy», which deeply respects individual uniqueness while awakening learners to their active involvements with larger communities.


Contents: Anne Dalke/Susan McNaught: Introduction. «Minding the Light»: A Range of Quaker Pedagogies – Steve Smith: The Spiritual Roots of Quaker Pedagogy – Mary Watkins: Liberating Soul Sparks: Psyche, Classroom, and Community – Mike Heller: «Wait to Be Gathered»: The Classroom as Spiritual Place – Richard Johnson: A Gathered Presence: Creating a Community of Conscience in the Composition Classroom – Barbara Mallonee: The AmerIcan Essay: Where Spirit and Silence Meet – Barbara Dixson: Teaching from the Spiritual Center – Stanford J. Searl, Jr.: Teaching as Listening: Silence as Heart Knowledge – Susan McNaught: «Live Up to the Light Thou Hast»: The Adult Learner.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Editors: Anne Dalke is a member of the English Department and Coordinator of the Feminist and Gender Studies Program at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania. She is the author of Teaching to Learn/Learning to Teach: Meditations on the Classroom (Peter Lang, 2002) and is a member of Radnor Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends.
Barbara Dixson teaches English and English teachers at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She is a Friend by convincement and a member of Stevens Point Friends Meeting.


«I found this book a breathtaking reading experience, a series of shocks of recognition, as I discovered in it the unacknowledged and most essential foundations for all of my own most cherished pedagogical practices.» (Sheridan Blau, director, South Coast Writing Project and Literature Institute for Teachers, University of California, Santa Barbara; author of ‘The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and Their Readers’)
«‘Minding the Light: Essays in Friendly Pedagogy’ is a clear-minded contribution to the conversation about ethical, authentic teaching. These authors speak from a place of deep integrity to the hearts of other educators, offering wisdom and insight about teaching from the best in ourselves to the best in our students.» (Ann Faulkner, Co-director, Center for Formation in the Community College)
«‘Minding the Light’ represents the kind of thoughtful reflection about teaching that refreshes our commitment to classroom life and that helps us see with new eyes why our work there matters. The book’s intellectual generosity and easy grace make it an important contribution to our ongoing conversations about teachers and their craft.» (James Marshall, Associate Dean, Teacher Education and Student Services, University of Iowa)
«In higher education the pressures to be expert and always in the know are great, yet the need to remain intellectually open and to cultivate such openness in students is paramount. These educators take up the challenge of making more space for the process of learning and use Quaker values and insights to pursue the humility and honesty it seems to require. Their ‘attitudes’ of equality and community and the methods they give rise to seem to push out he walls of academic classrooms and disciplines to create places that serve the larger self and the larger good. From here, we might see more students able to realize their potentialities and the tracked and tiered system of both secondary and higher education fall away.» (Diana Oxley, Assistant Professor, Research Associate, Center for Educational Policy Research, University of Oregon)
«Quakers believe that everyone has access to the ‘inner light’. It is a belief I treasure in part because it is pivotal to authentic education. This superb collection of essays focuses that Light on a variety of critical issues in teaching and learning, dispelling a lot of darkness in the process. ‘Minding the Light’ illumines pedagogy in ways that will deepen the practice of anyone who claims the vocation of teacher.» (Parker J. Palmer, author of ‘The Courage to Teach and Let your Life Speak’)


Studies in Education and Spirituality. Vol. 6
General Editors: Peter Laurence and Victor Kazanjian