Nancy Lynne Westfield

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My course began with an iconic book by bell hooks and ended, after several other readings, with a beloved text by Parker Palmer. On the last day of class, a white woman student came up to me to tell me how much she enjoyed the course (she had earned an ...

In a society wrought with busyness, contemplation is often deemed a foolish waste of time. Yet, for those of us who want to be reflective practitioners of teaching, contemplation is essential. In considering the needs of students who are navigating our frenetic society, perhaps they, too, need to learn to ...

Recently, my burden, challenge, and task was to write my father’s obituary. Obituaries typically allow 800 to 1,200 words to depict and describe a person’s entire life. As a writer, this was a daunting task. As a daughter, it was impossible. How to proceed?  After reading the obituaries of other ...

Classroom discussions are never to be used as therapy – by student or by teacher. While I believe teaching and learning has the capacity to summon the elements of healing, I do not subscribe to asking teacher or learner to participate in classroom sessions structured for therapy in any respect. The ...

Several years ago, I was expecting a guest speaker in one of my courses. To prepare for the colleague’s visit, I asked my students what questions they had for the person.  Silence. And not a quizzical silence, just a dead silence. I tried to prime the pump by repeating ...