Consciousness Thought

Engaged Teaching in Theology and Religion by Renee K. Harrison, Jennie S. Knight (auth.)

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By Renee K. Harrison, Jennie S. Knight (auth.)

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Extra resources for Engaged Teaching in Theology and Religion

Sample text

7 If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” I would add follow-up questions: Why not? Why am I allowing myself to live a life of such disease? Why am I allowing myself to be ground down? Why am I isolated from communities that love, honor, and challenge me? Do I really think that little of myself—that I am unworthy of these aspects of health and joy in my life? That I deserve to sacrifice my life, my well-being, and, perhaps, my family’s well-being, all for the sake of the elusive aim of proving that I am not an impostor?

It means letting those parts breathe out, so we become freer and others become more humane by our light. It means taking seriously the energy we teachers embody and how that energy is experienced and transmitted in classroom spaces. Nicole Little, a former student of Maya Angelou, makes this point clearer when she recalls how her teacher studied them. Ms. Little states, In class, Dr. Angelou made us learn each other’s names. She wanted us to understand how you feel when someone calls your name across the room.

If I had shared my lived experiences while also challenging my students to argue more analytically and effectively, how might they come to see themselves and their role in the Church and the world in light of diverse human narratives? It was the same question that I once considered while teaching as a black woman and negotiating my black body in a predominately white higher academic environment. As in the past, both my students and I could have wrestled and grown together as we learned from each other’s sociocultural contexts and addressed, in community, some of our biases, misconceptions, and perceptions that hinder seeing one another.

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