National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Fall 2004


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 5:2, Fall/Winter 2004. Copyright © 2004 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


In his book “The Courage to Teach,” Parker Palmer discusses the various roles of the teacher in the college classroom. One facet he speaks about is the power that teachers possess: “teachers possess the power to create conditions that can help students learn a great deal.” I believe teachers who are student-centered know this and carry this out to the best of their ability. One issue that I agree with, but other instructors reject, is another point that Parker Palmer embraces. He also contends that “we must talk to each other about our inner lives. The lives of the students must always come first, even if it means that the subject gets short-changed.” It is my experience that teachers have the ability to create a powerful learning culture when both teachers and students disclose their inner selves. I have found that students learn to attach meaning to the content of the course by discussing personal opinion and experience. Students and teachers alike teach and learn through mutual discussion. To me this is learning, and in the honors classroom where seminars are the norm, honest and productive dialogue is the key to learning.