We overuse dichotomies in education. We taught “subjects” for years and then someone cried, “I teach students, not subjects!” There was a major shift in education after that. The student became the touchstone for everything. Don’t we teach subjects to students?

Parker Palmer has a compelling argument on this issue in his book The Courage to Teach. He describes a paradigm where the subject sits in the middle of the classroom so students and teachers both relate to something independent of themselves. Teachers and students approach the subject together, though the teacher is the authoritative guide. As Palmer points out, this model prevents the pendulum from favoring an authoritarian teacher on one extreme or an over-indulged student on the other.