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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?

Grains of Sand

“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

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

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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