An 'Educated Heart' and Teaching Practice


  • Colleen Kawalilak University of Calgary
  • Janet Groen University of Calgary



One might refer to this as a simple paper-simple, but not to be interpreted as sub-standard in any lesser or derogatory sense. Rather, what we share is a reflection of sorts, a reflection that draws from our lived experience as lifelong, adult learners and adult educators. In this reflection, we speak ' from' the heart and ' about' the heart- about the interconnectivity of teachers and learners in the teaching-learning dynamic, and about the foundational needs of all members in any learning community to feel valued, validated, significant, and included. Guided by 'heart' in our teaching practice, we aim to illuminate and reclaim the critical importance of ' the relational,' between teacher and learner, in support of a learning community that provides safe and challenging spaces that invite inner exploration, critical reflection, and deep inquiry. Drawing from the words and wisdom of Parker Palmer in The Courage to Teach, we reflect on heartfelt learning moments as lifelong, adult learners and educators. We then extend our reflections by acknowledging the courage it takes and some of the challenges that call forth thoughtful navigation when we open to be guided by an 'educated heart.' We speak to how this courage may provide a pathway to spaces and places of learning where an educated heart may prove to be the most valuable resource that any teacher might develop and be guided by, in support of our own learning and the learning of those we are privileged to journey with along the way.