TEACHING AS DIALOGUE:
A TEACHER’S STUDY
By Harvey B. Sarles
University Press of America: 1993
REVIEW by Maarten van Schie
I’ll give you my opinion forward and frank: I think this is a good book. What I have been reading the past month has been a book about teaching. I have read a few books on teaching, and most of them are full of theories and techniques to teach effectively, with standard presentation tricks like “Say what you are going to say, say it, and then say what you have said.” These books are usually written in the manner of a college textbook, authorative and impersonal.
The book that I have read and am reviewing now writes about teaching in a very different manner. It is, first and foremost, a very personal book. Harvey B. Sarles has written about his vision on what teaching is and what a teacher does and instead of writing about teaching as a job he writes about the teacher as a human being. From this perspective he explores the role of a Teacher, which is “the person who becomes Teacher to one’s students: entering their spirits in some depth”.
I admit I was at first a little put off by the ambitious metaphors of this kind in the beginning of the book. But Harvey Sarles has in his book distilled from the concept of teaching, which may be muddled up in “The Present Age” (Kierkegaard), the purely human and social aspects. And as he puts it, Teaching is not just about transferring knowledge, it has the potential to shape minds and ideas and to inspire. Read the rest of this entry »