To Know As We Are Known Chapter 5-7 and The Having of Wonderful Ideas

Learning Log 2

To Know As We Are Known, Chapter 5-7, Parker J. Palmer

The Having of Wonderful Ideas, Eleanor Duckworth


Any place where we are expecting people to learn must be safe for people to explore their ideas. The definition of safety is in each learners eyes. The environment encourages exploration and is the foundation for new ideas. When new ideas come up they are celebrated.

Important Ideas

Classrooms must be have the freedom to explore every inch of the subject they are assigned and nothing more.

Learners need to be free to embrace the truth that seeks them.

The truth that seeks them may come in ways that are unique to the learner, and the leader should be able to accept this.


Is technology a hinderance or a help to creating the open spaces that students need to come up with wonderful ideas?

Palmer Quotes

Consensus is the practical process by which we practice obedience and truth. Pg 97

Avoid arguing for your own rankings. Pg 95

If we leave those emotions unattended, we will not be able to clear the space. Pg84

every stranger and every strange utterance is met with welcome. Pg 74

A learning space has three major characteristics, three essential dimensions: openness, boundaries, and an air of hospitality. Pg 71.

To “remember” means literally to re-member the body, to bring the separated parts of the community of truth back together, to reunite the whole. Pg 103

For our tenancy to blame institution for our problems is itself a symptom of our objectivism. Pg 107

But the original and authentic meaning of the word “professor” is “one who professes a faith.” pg 113

One discipline is the simple practice of studying in fields outside one's own. Pg 114

Duckworth Quotes

Intelligence cannot develop without matter to think about. Making new connections depends on knowing enough about something in the first place to provide a basis for thinking of other things to do – of other questions to ask – that demand more complex connections in order to make sense. Pg 14

Knowing enough about things is one prerequisite for wonderful ideas. Pg 14


I have have always believed in having as much fun as I can withing the boundaries or rules placed around me. In my job as a director at a summer camp we tell our counselors this all the time. As much fun as you can inside the rules. This is not because we want them to push the lines but because we know that they can see the world in a very different way than we (older) people can. And kids will respond to that. They will love it and look up to it. Palmer I think asks us to create space like that. Spaces where you cannot climb trees, but you can do everything else imaginable with trees. Spaces where exploring is welcome and curiosity is encouraged. I loved the quote about every stranger and strange utterance being welcome. Can you imagine a church where this was true? Can you imagine was that would be like? Palmer points out that we need not fear such a situation, but how many people in Christian schools and churches everywhere are afraid of ideas? Afraid of entering into community with a subject matter, of opening themselves up to ideas of others and of the subject at hand. I am not sure how to bring this anywhere that it seems like it is important, but I know that I meet this most commonly in the communities of bloggers that I read. I think that many people are not using the internet in a way that build, but in searching you can find people who are. People who police their sites for garbage and rudeness. People that allow for good, divergent ideas but abhor mocking and ridicule and personal attacks. That is why I ask my question. At my school the mission is, “equipping minds and nurturing hearts to transform the world for Jesus Christ.” For us to do this we need to be the ones who are building places where truth and be explored and discovered, but the boundaries of love are placed all around the discussion. I cannot even imagine what that looks like at its fullest. But it is wonderful. And there are wonderful ideas (a phrase I loved) all around it floating out of every participant. It is a vision that I cannot get out of my head, better than Christmas morning.

To Know As We Are Known: Chapters 1-4

Learning Log 1 

To Know As We Are Known: Chapters 1-4

Parker J. Palmer


Palmer is saying that education is about discovering the truth. Truth is only discovered through love. There must be equal parts love for the subject, yourself and others walking with you on the path of discovery. If you deny any one of these their role in the process you will not arrive at truth.

Important Ideas

  • Love is essential to knowing truth.
  • We the observer are essential to knowing truth.
  • Interacting with the subject is essential to knowing truth.
  • The idea of learning reflecting a monastic culture.


How do we gather up the courage and support to teach in a way that build a community of learners in the face of high stakes tests, the tyranny of results right now and a world that is doing all it can to tear apart community?


  1. But what scholars now say -- and what good teachers have always known -- is the real learning does not happen until students are brought into relationship with the teacher, with each other, and with the subject. pg xvi
  2. The deepest wellspring of our desire to know is the passion to recreate the organic community in which the world was first created. pg 8
  3. A knowledge that springs from love may require us to change, even sacrifice, for the sake of what we know. It is easy to be curious and controlling. It is difficult to love. pg 9
  4. Truthful knowing weds the knower and the known; even in separation, the two become part of each other's life and fate. pg 31
  5. Reality's ultimate structure is that of an organic, interrelated, mutually responsive community of being. pg 53


I have said before in the is that I love Parker Palmer and this book. What I loved most about it was that is so well described what I felt like I was doing at camp when I was younger and counseling kids. Bringing them all around the woods with no particular agenda other than to look at what God had given us. It was wonderful and still to this day I love bringing cabins around (I am a director in the summer). I love teaching counselors how to live in the world that brings kids to God's love and God's kingdom. He gave me the strength to say that this was how to teach as well and I like to think I have not turned back. Giving in to the pressures that would make us just teach the facts is really easy. It is also something that keeps your job safe. I have never seen someone questioned who was telling kids the way it is. That is not the way I want to do it though. I want them to see it and live it and experience it. I want them to know each other and getting them to care about what is going on in each others lives because they will learn physics better does not fly with most kids in a highly motivated school. There is not any doubt in my mind about its effectiveness, except while I am doing it. There is so little in immediate results and it seems like you are never going to get anywhere. It seems like you are stalled because something important has not been achieved. But then there is a day when the right mood and the right questions and the right time all intersect. Those time can only happen when you are constantly looking for them, but when they do happen you learn more in one day than some people do in a semester. You know what has happened and how the community of the learners (yourself included) have been ushered into a new relationship with the subject. I love the vision be being wed to the subject. It totally describes what I am after. When a kids asks about the physics of something that happened at home or on the football field or the golf course. Then you have them. When you get a text message in the middle of the summer with a question or just a comment. They are in relationship with the subject.

Learning Logs

You will start to see learning logs here. I took a class this past semester and these were the assignments every week. I am cleaning them up a little and putting them out there for comment, input, and because I am surprised at how many people were interested in my pedagogical autobiography. I got several personal emails along with comments on the entries. Thanks for your interest and I hope you learn something for these observations. One of the real strengths of my class was the reading material. There were a lot of pages of reading, but it was great stuff. Here is the format you will see in each log.


A couple of sentances sumarizing your view of the work.

Important Ideas

  • several simple statements getting at the important ideas of the text.

Our big question that we would like to discuss with the author if we had the chance.


    1. Our favorite quotes from the book or article.


    Ten minutes of free flowing thought trying to imagine the conversation surrounding the question you would ask the author. I admit I am cleaning this up a little for the web. Our professor was fine with misspellings and bad grammar. She wanted raw thought. Frequently that is what you get from me, but I might run the spell check.