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Belonging is a yearning of the soul. Our life’s quest is often about finding the place, purpose or persons to which or to whom we belong. We need to feel at home; we yearn to feel accepted, swaddled by our relationships. We want to experience being part of something ...

Exposing and disrupting the values which perpetuate white normativity puts a strain on the adult classroom. Individualism is a cornerstone value of whiteness and patriarchy.  As persons committed to the flimsy lie of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, too many students believe that education is best attempted alone. Conforming ...

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 ...

When you are a teenager, at least in the 70’s, the house with abundant food and a loving mother was the place to gather.  Our house had both.  Unlike all the other mothers in the neighborhood, Nancy Bullock Westfield was a stay- at-home mom.  Consequently, homemade meals, fresh baked everything, ...

Teaching for racial equality, and against oppression, has meant coming to grips with what my adult students (domestic and international) do not know, i.e. the basic concepts of race and the mechanisms of racism in the United States. Teaching about racial violence, domination and hatred invariably means asking students ...

We teach with aspirational dreams for our students. The right-now challenge of student formation is that we have never seen our world just-so. We are intellectual, faith pioneers in the malaise and luxury of the 21st century. This digital age has fashioned for us a threshold into terrain that is ...

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 ...

Please indulge this low-grade rant. I believe the notion of “safe space” in adult classrooms is un-interrogated and oversubscribed.  The question is … Safe for whom?  Well-intentioned teachers, in wanting students to attempt deep conversation, wrongly presume adult students need to feel safe in order to effectively learn. Rarely is it ...

If I get shot in my classroom – I’m gonna be mad! Yesterday, a friend told me her church and nursery school were having shooter-on-campus drills for the staff and children. I wondered when our school was going to do the same.  Sometimes my colleagues and I joke about what ...

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