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Teaching and hospitality – pause for thought from Henri Nouwen

I enjoyed this quote from Henri Nouwen. One of the courses I enrolled in explores the role of leadership through hospitality. Do we set the table with kindness and compassion?

Grits and Grains

“When we look at teaching in terms of hospitality, we can say that the teacher is called upon to create for students a free and fearless space where mental and emotional development can take place…. The hospitable teacher has to reveal to the students that they have something to offer. Many students have been for so many years on the receiving side and have become so deeply impregnated with the idea that there is still a lot more to learn, that they have lost confidence in themselves and can hardly imagine that they themselves have something to give, not only to the ones who are less educated but to their fellow students and teachers as well…..”

Henri Nouwen in Reaching Out

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About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

12 responses »

  1. “Do we set the table with kindness and compassion? ” Thank you for the post.

  2. I love the word ‘hospitality’ in relationship to teaching. Ha! I hadn’t thought of that.

    Last year, I had the opportunity to delve into language learning effectiveness and designed classes based on what I found. The result was that I became more of a ‘curator’,’adventure guide’ and ‘encourager’, I found out about my students interests, then designed activities that they connected with, led activities that took them out of their comfort zone, and encouraged them to continue. I used songs, videos, art, and physical activities, all based on the research that shows that language learning is more like a sport or music, than like mathematics.

    I like the word ‘hospitality’ because this does tend to sum up all of what I did, and accurately places the responsibility and roles with the teacher as host and student as guest. Interesting! Thank you!

  3. Catherine Johnson

    I love this quote! Thanks, Ivon.

  4. Beautiful and very True.

  5. Thank you for reblogging this post Ivon. Leadership through hospitality is wonderful. Without leadership isn’t so good.

  6. Good find of a post, great and awesome reminder given by you to us all! Yes, we need to include kindness and compassion! We may not always remember to do this.


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