‘Courage to Teach’ – a one -day experiential introduction to the work of Parker J. Palmer

4th July 2018 9.30 – 4.30
The Woodbrooke Centre, Selly Oak, Birmingham

Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.

Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach

In these challenging times, for those of us who teach, lead and serve our teaching and learning communities, we increasingly face the question of how to stay true to deeply held values amid the complexity and pressure of our roles and responsibilities. As teachers, more than ever it is important to have access to spaces where we can to renew and reflect on the purpose and meaning that underpin our work so that we can sustain ourselves.

‘Courage to Teach’ is a unique professional and personal development programme developed by the Center for Courage & Renewal and Parker J. Palmer, educator and social activist and author of the book The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. This approach to professional and personal development focuses on creating retreat spaces where educators can renew their inner lives: deepening self-awareness and restoring capacities to live and lead with authenticity, integrity and courage.

Rather than focusing on content knowledge or teaching techniques, programmes offer opportunities for educators to explore ‘the heart of the teacher’ and to reconnect with their core values and the passion that brought them into teaching in the first place.

Seasonal metaphors, reflections on personal stories and classroom practice, poetry and insights from various wisdom traditions are combined to create a backdrop for this exploration.

Programmes offer opportunities to…

• Renew heart, mind and spirit through exploration of the connection between what we do and who we are;
• Reconnect to a sense of vocation by identifying and honouring our gifts and strengths, and also acknowledging limits;
• Engage with like-minded peers in a safe space for honest dialogue, careful listening and deep connection that honours diversity in person and profession;
• Learn to create trustworthy spaces for others that help communities learn and grow together;
• Develop healthy ways of holding the tensions that are inherent in a life of leadership, teaching or service;
• Discover self-reflective practices for leadership that help us gain clarity about deeper questions and become more intentional about our work.

Participants in these programmes consistently report:

• Renewed satisfaction and commitment to their work and their profession;
• Improved connections with students and classroom practice;
• Strengthened collegial relationships in their schools.

This one-day experiential workshop is intended to offer a flavour of these programmes in the form of a retreat-in-a-day. Using materials drawn from Palmer’s books, poetry, and other writings, we will engage in individual, small group and large group reflection around the theme of ‘the personhood of the teacher’ and re-engage with our ambitions for our work.

Barbara Reid, PhD, is a facilitator and trainer specialising in professional and personal formation and leadership. She is a facilitator for the US-based Center for Courage & Renewal and in this capacity had designed and lead retreats based on the work of Parker J. Palmer in the UK and Europe for the past 5 years. With a background in university teaching and research, Barbara has also led and taught on vocational degree programmes in the social and urban policy fields and managed social action research projects for a wide range of public services and third sector organisations. She has long-standing commitment to reflective practice, cross-professional working, and transformational leadership in public services organisations, and she is passionate about creating open and trustworthy spaces that support dialogue, learning, and community building.

“Our work at Space2think has always considered the person inside the teacher, manager, leader, coach. The importance of paying attention to and understanding our inner life and its relationship with the external world of relationships and actions is often a crucial part of our work with people in organisations.

We are really grateful for the work of the Centre for Courage and Renewal and the work it does. Since meeting Barbara and experiencing first hand the Courage retreats she offers we felt highly motivated to promote this so important work.”

Andy Howie and Rob Husband, Directors at Space2think Ltd. January 2018


4th July 2018 9.30 – 4.30


£160 plus vat – £192 per person, this includes lunch, refreshments and course

For further information and a registration form please contact Andy Howie at
Space2think Ltd
Email andy.howie@space2think.org Mobile 07500 047821


The day will be held at Woodbrooke https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/ a beautiful centre in Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6LJ

If you wish to stay at Woodbrooke the night before the event please enquire directly with them for accommodation rates and booking.
enquiries@woodbrooke.org.uk Telephone 0121 472 5171