‘I'm glad the sky is painted blue,
And the earth is painted green,
With such a lot of nice fresh air
All sandwiched in between.’- Anon.
When we bring forth the spirituality of teaching and learning, we help students honor life’s most meaningful questions.’- Parker J. Palmer, founder, the Center for Courage & Renewal
‘Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart…Try to love the questions themselves…Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given because you would not be able to live them—and the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers.’- R.M. Rilke (1993). Letters to a young poet.
We become teachers for reasons of the heart.
But many of us lose heart as time goes by.
How can we take heart, alone and together,
So we can give heart to our students and our world,
Which is what good teachers do?-THE HEART OF A TEACHER: Identity and Integrity in Teaching
In the beginning were the words...They bacame languages...They became poetry...They became how we express and project love, goodness, commitment and more
Let the words sing to you, dance for you, empower you to become the person you envision yourself to be: This is the mystery of poetry
How Wisdom Grows- Educating Hearts and Minds
'Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.'- Aristotle
‘Teach your children poetry. It opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary.’- Sir Walter Scott
This offering today responds to the pertinent and timeless question: how can we, the teachers, educators, parents, policy makers,..., create spaces in schools, homes, universities, communities,..., where children’s, students’ and the youth's whole being, (that is, heart, body and mind), is nourished, nurtured, enabled and empowered?
Lest we forget, this, and other similar questions are increasingly being asked in today's educational practices, now widely acknowledged to be impacted from an imbalance towards the training of the intellect in neglect of the cultivation of the senses, imagination and realms of the heart and mind.
In eloquently expressed words of T.S. Eliot:
"Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"
In response, to my mind, we need to begin the process of reversing and replacing the neoliberal, values-less education with an education for the "soul," wherein "soul" is to be understood as the mediating perspective which acts as a torch, brightening and illuminating the middle ground between mind and body, worthiness and unworthiness, knowledge and wisdom, ideas, visions and experiences, spirituality and the world, so on and so forth.
An education that nurtures the soul, whilst nourishing the heart, ultimately speaks to the mysterious depth of the being, in this journey we call life, through the language of the heart and imagination. As all sages and philosophers of life and love have reminded us, again and again, it is from literature and poetry that we learn this Language.
Hence an education for the soul and Heart, will infuse the whole curriculum with poetry, thereby stretching the limits of imagination, understanding and scope of perception.(*)
All in all, Poetry offers new lenses, clears our vision and empowers us to focus our minds, through which we can look out at the world and watch all we do and all we are with increasing awareness, attentiveness, care, compassion and commitment. Poetry nourishes in us the possibility for harmonious living, promoting inner-peace and releases voices of joy and happiness, giving us the eyes to really see: this is the effervescence of learning to live and loving to learn. This has been a gift to us all. Long may it be so.
But, and very sadly, those with no vision, heart and soul have now decided to sidelinepoetry from the school curriculum in England.