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Pastor-educators want to make a difference. We feel called to be agents of transformation. The assignment this week raises the question of what it means for an educator to be an agent of transformation in a community of faith, or more, as Freire argues, a "cultural worker for transformation." Palmer states, "to teach is to create a space in which the community of truth is practiced." Consider how a "community of truth" is transformational. Freire encourages us to consider the "social plots in which language, communication, and the production of knowledge are constituted and reconstituted," so that we are aware that how we speak, how we lead, how we communicate verbally and non-verbally all contribute to either transformation or limitation.
While we want to maintain the insights from the matrices that we developed, we begin grappling now with our ethical and social responsibility. How do we establish integrity through the clarity of discovering who we are and where we stand in the face of the contexts confronting us? How do we insure we are indeed agents of transformation rather than agents of oppression and misused power?
Reading:
Freire, "Teachers as Cultural Workers"
Parker Palmer: select two from chapters 1,2,4 & 5
bell hooks: select one from chapters 1 & 4
Contribute to the FORUM with your own definition of the role of an educator in a community of faith related (1) its culture/context, (2) the needs generated (or demanded) by that culture/context, and (3) as agents of transformation. Consider the ways that processes - how we teach and the stance we bring to teaching - affects and colors what we teach (as well as vise versa). What are the insights raised by these writers that you think are important in educating in faith, and why?

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Teaching and learning are among the earliest social activities in the human society. Passing on and improving skills, knowledge and values is absolutely necessary in order to sustain the society and allow it to progress. However, the trap here is that the teaching and learning process is way too often understood and carried out in mechanistic terms. Forcing students, even successfully, to memorize names, words, or formulae is not education. To teach is first and foremost to achieve an intellectual and ethical transformation of students by engaging them with the process of discovery and challenge which lie at the root of any meaningful knowledge.
Let us see what qualities are needed of an educator in order to achieve those goals. Freire suggests that no matter how enthusiastic and passionate a teacher is about the subject or the students, he or she needs to be fully competent in the subject. Competence is a core pre-requisite that cannot be...
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