Wednesday, November 14, 2007
“One of the greatest tragedies of our culture is that millions of young people spend many hours, days, weeks and years listening to lectures, reading books and writing papers with a constantly increasing resistance… practically every student perceives his education as a long endless row of obligations to be fulfilled… constantly trying to ‘earn’ credits, degrees and awards… students perceive their teachers more as demanding bosses than as guides in their search for knowledge and understanding.. sometimes teachers speak about love and hate, fear and joy, hope and despair… when we realize that the students themselves have not had the opportunity to make their own experience of love and hate, fear and joy, hope and despair available to themselves and allow their questions be born from their personal source… therefore, [teaching] asks first of all the creation of a space where students and teachers can enter into a fearless communication with each other and allow their respective life experiences to be their primary and most valuable source of growth and maturation.”
Nouwen, Reaching Out.
Nouwen makes an impressive contribution to education in the light of hospitality. The power of creating an environment where the student is not fearful of being honest with his/her questions and sees themselves on a spiritual quest for self knowledge and spiritual growth. We all remember teachers who made our education a drag and those who made it living and vital. Those who listened to the strangest of questions and made everyone feel as though they had a treasure to share. To all teachers who break down the walls of competitive, assignment, mark driven education I salute you.