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The Adult Educator as Agent for Social Transformation

An essential question for adult educators to reflect on is: What matters to me and how can my work advance this in some way?  Discovering and acting upon a purpose beyond oneself brings meaning to work and can motivate learners to find meaning also.  This leads to a deeper commitment and sense of fulfillment.  Having..

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Servant Leadership

As a way of wrapping up this series on the role of wisdom and spirituality in leading self, highlighting the leadership of Dorothy Day and Jean Vanier, I would like to emphasize how they demonstrated Servant Leadership.  This leadership style requires a strong orientation to values that allow leaders to serve their people well while..

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How to foster personal and professional dispositions of peace as a leader

  “…ongoing awareness practice, ongoing commitment to sustainability and people and ongoing engagement with the possible/potential”. As peace leaders we are meant to confront the reality of ordinary life by inquiring and seeking to understand what lies beyond ourselves in a spiritual quest for wisdom.  This better equips us to engage daily challenges and inform..

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Dispositions and skills to develop as a leader

Be faithful to people “Pressed to identify his own strengths, Jean Vanier referred to his faithfulness to people, the fact that once he had entered into real personal contact with someone it was rarely something he broke”.[i] When we walk alongside people, get to know them in their strengths and weaknesses, joys and sufferings they..

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Why we need wise, spiritual leaders in a secular age

By ‘spiritual’ I am referring to a belief in a reality beyond the senses – whether theistic or not – that provides a framework or horizon of significance giving direction to life.  Canadian contemporary philosopher Charles Taylor’s views on the secular age and individualism help to contextualize why we need wise, spiritual leaders in a..

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What leaders can learn from Vanier and Day’s philosophies

As founders of internationally  recognized communities (L’Arche and The Catholic Worker), Vanier and Day teach leaders how to build community by valuing the human person no matter their background or beliefs, abilities or disabilities, wealth, prestige, poverty or insignificance. Both leaders see unity and the possibility of integration in a pluralistic world.  We might readily..

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Spotlight on Peace Leaders: Jean Vanier and Dorothy Day

Canadian philosopher and humanitarian Jean Vanier (1928-) is the founder of 149 L’Arche homes in 38 countries around the world.[i] In these homes people with intellectual disabilities (the residents) live and work side by side with the nondisabled (their assistants) as peers in “mutually transformative relationships.” Jean Vanier emphasizes the great discovery of his life,..

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How to Indigenize the Curriculum

On its website the Justice Institute recommends the following 10 ways to indigenize the curriculum: Acknowledge the local First Nations traditional territory Use experiential, and lifelong learning approaches Work with Elders and infuse culture into curriculum Visit Indigenous communities for field trips, events, and feasts Use the oral tradition, telling stories, with guest speakers such..

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Power at work in Adult Education

Teachers have power!  Students have power!  The dynamic interplay between these in a learning environment can create a positive, safe and authentic experience, or one wrought with tension, confusion and ‘second guessing’.  Part of preparing to be an adult educator is being aware of your power as well as the power among students, and between students and..

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