Praise for the Book

Advance Comments

“At a time when school reform is awash with narrow goals and simple-minded views of teaching, this wonderful book is a breath of fresh air. The authors beautifully illuminate the inner strengths of teachers who fully engage the head, heart, body, and soul of students. Inspiring. Wise. Filled with down-to-earth advice. A must-read for all those who care about the future of our children.” —Jerome T. Murphy, Harold Howe II Research Professor of Education, Dean Emeritus, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“This essential book has the power to reform educational practice in a significant way. I can open to any two pages and find much to think about and much to try with students or with myself.   It can—and should—redefine teaching.”  —Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D., Rutgers University, co-developer of the Social Decision Making/Social Problem Solving curricula and co-author of Talking Treasure:  Stories to Help Build Emotional Intelligence and Resilience in Young Children

"Good teaching comes in many forms. But good teaching is always engaged teaching, a "live encounter" between teacher, students and subject. In these pages, the authors explore five dimensions of engagement—from cultivating an open heart to establishing respectful boundaries—that will help teachers of every sort deepen their practice. This insightful and practical guide, grounded in the authors' long-time experience in helping teachers serve students well, is more than a good book to read. It's a great book to be lived." —Parker J. Palmer (author of Healing the Heart of Democracy, The Courage to Teach, and Let Your Life Speak)

The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching is an invaluable resource that offers both concrete and inspiring principles and practices. The book helps us to focus on what matters most in teaching and learning — the quality of the relationships between teachers and students. The authors offer an empowering message— helping educators to be fully present with our students and our teaching and to bring our authentic and courageous selves into the classroom.” —Linda Lantieri, Director of The Inner Resilience Program and Author, Building Emotional Intelligence

"It is time for us to recognize that any positive changes will come from us, not the greater system. This book provides a compelling road map for how we navigate the difficult terrain of this time, persevere, and create educational experiences that are meaningful to kids and to us as professionals.  I am grateful for this map, and also delighted by the levels of joyful collaboration that gave rise to it."  —Margaret J. Wheatley, author

"Our traditional school has always been more teacher-centric than learner-centric. The result is emotional disengagement, diminished responsibility on the part of learners for their own learning, and learning processes compromised in effectiveness and depth. Crossing the chasm from "teachers teaching" to teachers as designers of learning spaces, facilitators, and co-learners is a profound step for most teachers. It requires clarity and lots of support, which is where books like The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching can make a world of difference."    —Peter Senge, co-founder SoL Education Partnership and co-author, Schools that Learn

The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching is an important, timely addition to the emerging movement about what it takes to engage culturally-diverse learners more deeply through integrative teaching and learning approaches. This book stands out as a practical and effective tool to empower, energize and inspire teachers to work with students employing high standards of educational excellence, while attending to issues of meaning, purpose, relevance, relationship-building, and community. The book reminds us that school reform is incomplete if it does not attend to creating conditions that lead to integrating a focus on academics with social and emotional well-being and caring communities of practice for both teachers and students. The promise of this book is that it serves as a practical guide to creating innovative, high-performing schools where the definition of excellence transcends tests scores.  Rather, excellence is rooted in in the integration of social, emotional and academic learning, collaboration, self-inquiry, cultural relevance, as well as the cultivation of a deep sense of meaning and purpose.  For those educators who seek to create a transformative vision of education, The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching moves us toward realizing the promise that American schools deserve a better way to fulfill their full potential where teaching competence and academic learning, together with holistic student development, truly matter and can make a significant difference.” —Laura I. Rendón, Professor, University of Texas-San Antonio; author of Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation.

“This book offers wisdom, inspiration, and practical strategies for being an effective and connected teacher. I wish every teacher would read this book, discuss it with their colleagues and loved ones, and then implement some of the powerful ideas and practices the authors share. The impact on students worldwide would be very positive.”    —Roger P. Weissberg, PhD President and CEO, Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning

“This book is critical to future of education because it honors teachers and their deep commitment to be fully engaged in their work. Every teacher in America can learn deeply from the wisdom of this resource to nurture their own development and those of their students.” —Mark T. Greenberg Ph.D., Bennett Chair of Prevention Research, Penn State University

“We know from both science and practice that our children do better in school and in life when they have teachers who understand and care about them in a meaningful way.  The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching shows how to become that kind of teacher.  Newcomers and veterans alike will delight in seeing a pathway to a more fulfilling teaching practice and the skills to attain it.”  —Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman and CEO, Special Olympics and Board Chair of Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

“The concepts outlined in this book are a grouping of high yield strategies that will move any school or district forward when deployed in concert and fidelity.  Often times we forget to pay attention to the importance of how emotional engagement drives the learning of students and adults alike.   I feel that in all of the conversations we have had surrounding rigor, relevance and relationships that this book is the only example of an approach that begins to define operational and detailed definitions specific to relevance and relationships in both the academic and social development of all learners.  I witnessed firsthand the profound positive impact of such an approach on our teachers, school culture and students' success.  A must read for anyone who is deeply committed to urban school reform.” —Pat Sánchez , Superintendent, Adams County School District 14, CO

“This the most comprehensive book yet to emerge from the mindfulness in social emotional learning movement. Building on the pioneering work of the late Rachael Kessler, it presents an integrated vision for educational transformation that begins with the teacher. The 5 Dimensions is a storehouse of personalized activities for supporting teachers and students to deepen learning. It is wonderfully collaborative in how it was written and in the communities of support it offers the reader.” —Richard C. Brown founded Naropa University’s Contemplative Education Department in 1990 and is a co-author of Garrison Institute’s CARE for Teachers program.

“This remarkable collaborative effort offers a potentially healing blend of five remedies that could bring American education back to life. From preventing school violence to promoting sustainable academic excellence, this book is an elixir that truly nourishes the soul of education.” —Mark Gerzon, author of Leading Through Conflict and Global Citizens

“Relationship is the foundation in which emotional intelligence and healthy brain architecture are built. It is also the field in which both humanity and creativity flower. These are the innate gifts that  the PassageWorks programs, and the practical wisdom in this fine book, nurture in our children and our teachers."  —Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind

“The enlightening practices for teachers and learners offered in this superb book will contribute to nothing less than the biggest step our society can take on behalf of a desirable future--the humanization of education."—Gordon Dveirin, Ed.D. co-author of  Saying Yes to Change and co-host of Hay House radio show The Spirit of the Future: Voices of Vision and Hope.

“Laura Weaver and Mark Wilding have offered a clear guide that will enrich the effectiveness of teachers and the experience of students at all levels of development. We were delighted to see the way of council was included, as well as a variety of circle-based methods that draw on the roots of holistic learning from ancient cultures. We certainly need a book in these times that offers practices that will lead to a deeper respect and connection among diverse peoples. The “Engaged Teaching Approach” can not help but contribute to greater academic achievement not to mention greater emotional maturity and the creation of a strong educational community in any school. We look forward to a greater number of graduating students who will not only be prepared for college and careers but also for taking their seats as the responsible engaged adults that are so needed in our world today. Highly recommended!” —Jack Zimmerman and Virginia Coyle: educators, trainers, Center for Council Practice, The Ojai Foundation, authors of The Way of Council.

“The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching offers a wealth of wisdom that articulates sensible and applicable practices of social, emotional and academic learning. With the increased demands in the educational arena, it is refreshing, inviting, and exciting to have a resource that supports a nurturing and meaningful culture for the learner and educator.” —Sam Jilka, Lexington High School, NB

“The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching is a treasure trove of valuable information and practical tools for supporting teachers’ joy and commitment to teaching. It’s unique in that it addresses important foundational capacities such as presence, self-observation, and social and emotional competencies that have been long overlooked in teacher preparation and professional development. The book is richly peppered with anecdotes that bring to life important ideas and concepts. It contains a wealth of superb, developmentally appropriate activities that teachers can use in their classrooms to help build supportive relationships with their students and develop a sense of connectedness to their class and school community. This book is a “must have” for teachers!” —Patricia A. Jennings, M.Ed., Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University

“In The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching you’ll find a pathway that you, and your colleagues, can follow to renew your commitment to your students, sustain a connected classroom and create a caring school climate. It provides practical support, from over 100 engaged teachers, to you and for your professional practice. The book shows you how to hold your professional center, while working within the systemic burdens and the corresponding anxiety that is inherent within today’s school reform and high stakes cultures.” —Derek Peterson, International Leader in forming Caring and Connected Schools.

“The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching is a thoughtful, comprehensive, and user-friendly guide for all educators. It deftly weaves five irreducible dimensions into a resilient narrative and calls upon all of us—teachers as well as students—to care about ourselves, about each other, and about the work we do together. The text is invitational, empowering, and altogether edifying, from the cultivation of an open heart to an “action path” for educators to follow. It starts with the premise, so often lost in policy discussions about teaching and education, that teachers do care, and that in doing so, illustrate the irreducible importance of social and emotional learning to any academic curriculum. In secular and approachable terms, Weaver and Wilding underscore the core competencies of Engaged Teaching with clear sequence and practicality. Rare is the text that speaks with equal candor and kindness to the lives of both teachers and students, and rarer still is the text that does so with practicality and purpose. The Dimensions of Teaching is such a text and I look forward to using it next semester with my pre-service teachers.” —David Lee Keiser, Associate Professor, Montclair State University, Facilitator, CARE for Teachers Program

"As an educator, I am very inspired and reassured by the work and promise within The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching. My experience with the inclusion of social and emotional learning in many different classrooms and with literally thousands of students has shown me that the kind of teaching practice contained within this book is essential and transformative to any classroom at any educational level. I have seen, with my own eyes, the kind of awakening and rejuvenation that happens when students feel as though their teacher is not simply giving them information but is interested in creating a classroom environment where academic learning is partnered with a caring, collaborative community and reflective teaching. The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching not only gives educators practical methods and principles for creating such a classroom but also includes stories and experiences to illustrate the kind of changes that occur when engaged teaching and learning are allowed to flourish. The wisdom and advice contained within this book are a “must have” for any teacher genuinely interested in educating the whole student and creating the kind of classroom in which all of us would like to be students" —Scott Troy, Science Teacher, Westminster High School, CO

“The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching is the antidote to the major issues in our schools today.  This brilliantly designed manual for teachers goes to the source of problems, rendering classrooms alive with focus, compassion and creativity that makes learning and empathy possible. It is fundamentally important.   Laura Simms author of Our Secret Territory: The Essence of Story Telling

"Amidst the current overwhelming angst about schools, we so easily forget that students and teachers are people and that good teaching and learning involve deeply human interaction. Engaged Teaching honors and informs this fact and makes an important contribution at this critical time." —Terry Chadsey, Executive Director, Center for Courage & Renewal

"This book is truly a precious gem in the world of teaching.. Turn to any part and you will find deep and accessible wisdom. What better gift can we as teachers give the children than our conscious awareness of connection, our kindness and our humaneness in the most profound sense. This toolbox for teacher resonates with everything that makes us human. The world we live in and the schools we spend our days in can be such dire and destructive places for us and all our children. The 'good' this book offers is both heartwarming and urgently significant."  —Margaret Dodd, Elementary School Teacher, Boulder, CO

“Parents know we will educate their children.  What they really want to know is will we love them.  Weaver and Wilding have captured the real reason teachers teach, principals lead, and schools succeed!  This book is an excellent resource for helping create a safe container for children and adults of all ages to learn how to be “present” in their interactions, in their relationships, and in their learning.  We live in a world where mass communication threatens to interrupt our every thought.  This book will help guide you through the interruptions.” —Mellisa A. Heath, Principal, R. A. Doyle Elementary School

“Two books I read the summer before I began teaching were The Soul of Education by Rachael Kessler and The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer. They helped me begin to cultivate a teaching presence embodying integrity, compassion and mindful awareness which I continue to cultivate so all of my students experience the opportunity to learn. I wholeheartedly recommend those books to beginning and experienced teachers and now I will add The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching to that list. Weaver and Wilding offer educators a transformative vision of the principles and practices to sustain the incredible work they do with students everyday. The five dimensions are grounded in theory, research and practice-based descriptions applicable to any learning context. While the focus is on teaching, the outcomes of engaged teaching include improved capacity for student learning by meeting the needs of diverse learners. I continue to be inspired by the courage of teachers to bring the best of who they are the work they do with students and this framework supports that integration. I encourage educators from PK-University to employ this book as a means to reaffirm the essence of the teaching profession.”  —Kathryn Byrnes, PhD, Teacher Educator, Bowdoin College

The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching is an elegantly written, scientifically grounded, practical resource for educators who are interested in reconnecting to their love of teaching and renewing their classroom practice. The book offers practical strategies to educators for cultivating positive qualities that increase their wellness and productivity, as well as their quality of life more generally: calm and relaxed bodies, focused and attentive minds, caring and empathic hearts.  What is so special about this book is that it not only draws attention to, and provides suggestions for how educators can develop these universal human qualities, but it also proposes ways that educators might bring them into the classroom in the service of culturally-responsive teaching – those classroom teaching practices that celebrate diversity and equity, eschew discrimination, and recognize our shared humanity simultaneously. This approach, in which an attentive and empathic awareness is related to a culturally responsive pedagogy, is a unique, valuable, and perhaps particularly American resource for educators who work with increasingly culturally diverse student populations today. In that unique sense, the 5 Dimensions offers important practical guidance for educators not only in the USA, but increasingly, in many parts of the globe today.”   —Robert W. Roeser PhD, MSW, Professor of Psychology and Human Development, Portland State University

“In the current world of data and accountability for schools, this book is sure to spark a return to caring, compassion and creativity that educators are craving. This book is not just a must-read, it is a must-implement.”  —Karla Reiss, coach, consultant and author, Leadership Coaching for Educators, Be a Changemaster

"This is a book whose time has come. 21st century students deserve teachers who embody old wisdom in new ways. On the theory that an teacher can only take a child as far as they have gone themselves, "The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching" provides venerable and vital ideas and practices that will offer a North Star for educators on their own journey to identity, purpose, and authenticity. Herein is a guide to becoming a reflective, mindful, and emotionally intelligent mentor. Our children and our schools, so in need of a transformative vision of what it means to be healthy and engaged, await leaders who know themselves. This book demonstrates a way to fulfill that promise." —Len Fleischer, Ed., Professor, Education, Keene State College

"Having been deeply inspired by Rachael Kessler’s The Soul of Education, 2000, I have followed with great interest the development of this new book.  It challenges us to think about what ‘really’ matters to our youth and the role of engagement in our classrooms.  I highly recommend it for all those who are committed to creating a teaching-learning environment that melds the social, emotional and academic.  Our children and teachers will be the benefactors!" —Dr. Robert M. Hanson, President, National Professional Resources, Inc.

"…with the education field in deepening crisis and educators increasingly looking for practical alternatives…The principles and practices of this book's approach are powerful yet completely accessible, offering teaching professionals the opportunity to become fulfilled lifelong learners as they engage their students' inner lives and transform the classroom experience in enriching new ways. Put simply, this book has the potential to catalyze a much-needed revolution in education." –Alan Zulch, Program Officer, Kalliopeia Foundation

"Engaged Teaching" could just as easily be called "Engaged Learning."  The book provides a treasure map for teachers and their students in turn to explore their full potentials from the inside out in safe, respectful, and trustworthy ways.  —Patricia Passmore Alley, President & Founder, Wonder & Wisdom, Inc.

"I can't wait to use this book with aspiring teachers! It is essential that they develop the capacity for self reflection early in their careers. This book will give them the tools they need to be present to themselves and their students in order to create the caring classroom communities they envision." —Margaret Golden, EdD, Associate Professor, School of Education and Counseling Psychology, Dominican University of California

"The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching is rooted in and builds upon the ground breaking work of educator Rachael Kessler. Weaver and Wilding have invited in the voices of other educators, program and curriculum developers and researchers, resulting in a wonderful resource for teachers who care about creating the best possible environment for their students and sustaining their own passion and commitment to teaching."  —Pamela Seigle, Executive Director Courage & Renewal Northeast

"Powerful learning is rooted in engagement. Democracy is rooted in engagement. Both are made possible by engaged teachers. There is so much to love about this book. The tools for working with oneself.  The simplified language.  The honesty.  The attention to relationships and community. I remember being given a formulaic book establishing rote rules and simplistic power structures to "survive" my first year teaching. I needed this book. I will happily recommended it not just to teachers but also to parents and school leaders committed to transforming education." —Scott Nine, Executive Director of Institute for Democratic Education in America

Other Comments by Teachers and Administrators

“This book feels like a pioneering work. I went back and read it a second time to absorb it and because it was so interesting. The research that supported the book was very impressive. ” ~Elementary School Teacher

“I was really drawn into the book because it was presented very positively. It presented ideas I haven’t thought about before and made me reflect on what I’m doing in the classroom.” ~High School Science Teacher

“This book is about helping students get their basic needs met to maximize learning. When we are present with ourselves, we are then available to connect with students. Then their needs are met and it’s easier for them to learn.” ~Elementary School Psychologist and Spanish Teacher

“This book is about being real. If we could be real and present with our students, what a difference it would make. They would see us as more than teachers, but as real people who care about them.” ~High School Assistant Principal

"There are all sorts of books on pedagogy and instruction. This book focuses on something different. For teachers who find engaged teaching intuitive, it gives them a definition and a language to speak about what they do naturally. And for teachers who feel like it is not intuitive for them, it gives them a way to learn and develop this aspect of their teaching. ~Middle School Teacher

“This book is about how to really reach your students and acknowledge all the different parts of them instead of just certain parts of them that will be measured by a test. It’s also about how to get students to the place where they can do well on tests. It’s a book about all the things they don’t teach in teacher ed.” ~High School teacher

“This book is about getting back to the heart of teaching—with all the testing, we’ve gone away from the heart, but you get way better results when you focus on heart of kids.” ~Elementary School Teacher

“I’m evaluating new teachers and seasoned staff, and this is a book that addresses both groups of educators. Someone who has been in the field could practice and apply it and someone new in the field might say, “I haven’t thought about that, let me try it.” That really struck me because when you are doing professional development with staff you want something that will hook all of your staff and engage them.” ~High School Assistant Principal

“I am anxiously awaiting its publication to be able to utilize it as a book study for my staff.”~High School Principal

“This book is a resource for educators or administrators and teachers to build relationship-based classrooms. This book provides tools and resources for creating a culture of safety, inclusivity and nurturing with in the classroom.”

“This book helps us get back to what we originally wanted out of our teaching and will help us build relationships and bring meaning into the classroom.”

“This book is a guide for how to develop character, compassion, creativity and connection among students. This book is about how educators can build character within themselves and their students so their students can engage as learners.”

“…A reminder for how to bring meaning back into the classroom while attaining the high test scores the state demands.”


Advance Comments from Reviewers

“Incredibly thought provoking and satisfying to read.”

“There is no book that covers the unique territory that this book does.”

“The five dimensions are compelling and inspiring.”

“The blending of academic research, strategies, examples, and practical application helps make the book thought-provoking as well as action-oriented.”

“This book serves as a reminder of how to get things back on track.”

“Current teachers could use this as a refresher course and new teachers could use this book as a model so that they can start their careers off in a positive fashion.”

“The dimensions explained really drive the principles home and help deepen our capacity for quality teaching.”

“It is relevant, interesting, research-based and applicable….”

“I personally would like to use this book in my school and fully believe it could help many others.”

“This book is an invaluable resource for all human beings in any profession. It reinstates what truly matters most to all human beings, which is the desire to live a meaningful and undivided life.”

“The book provides a framework and practical strategies to support educators in unpacking what it means to educate the whole person with teaching presence, relationship-centered education principles, instructional practices, engaged learning communities, and self-care. This approach integrates the inner and outer lives of educators and students and supports educators in bringing their whole selves to the profession in order to unleash the full potential of all students.”