“To be guided by love is to live in community with all life. However, a culture of domination, like ours, does not strive to teach us how to live in community. As a consequence, learning to live in community must be a core practice for all of us who desire spirituality in education.”  b. hooks

Children are born with the ability to love.  Love is a form of intelligence and as a pedagogical framework it creates curriculum that oppose the fear many teachers engender in an era of assessment and accountability. Art experiences in the classroom open the capacity for affective learning that nurtures the capacity to grow and flourish with kindness, compassion and empathy.  Ruskin (1893) explained how by use of the head, heart and hand, art becomes a natural venue for teaching and learning that is holistic and embraces the totality of the human experience. At the core of all artistic efforts is the concern to express and experience what it means to be human. Throughout time artists have used the arts to express the relationship between the self or identity and one’s relationship to the world.  To be human means more than to be able to think: it encompasses the integration of all the senses and faculties we associate with the human person.

Embracing a pedagogy of love, infused with aesthetic and artistic explorations allows students opportunities to open to the complexity of their own experiences, developing accepted values such as wisdom, compassion, kindness, joy, beauty and peace, and gratitude.  Art can remind us what it means to be human and create awareness of the interconnectedness of all life forms.  As Bell Hooks states in her quote above,” To be guided by love is to live in community with all life.”  How can classrooms cultivate pedagogy of love and nurture students’ awareness of humanity’s shared experience?

How do you, as a teacher, create a classroom based on love not fear?

Share and post lessons or curriculum ideas you’ve done with your students that cultivates a pedagogy of love in your classroom.




A few good books:

The Heart of Art Education: Holistic Approaches to Creativity, Integration and Transformation.  Laurel H. Campbell & Seymour Simmons III, Editors

Love, Peace, and Wisdom in Education: A Vision for Education in the 21st Century. Jing Lin

Strong Spirits, Kind Hearts: Helping Students Develop Inner Strength, Resilience, and Meaning.  Sandra Finney

The Compassionate Classroom: Lessons that Nurture Empathy & Wisdom. Jane Dalton & Lyn Fairchild



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