The production editors in the Journals Department at UIP occasionally get to work with the famous as well as the thoughtful, and I couldn’t help but notice that among the many really thoughtful responses in the Forum on Radical Teaching Now (appearing in the forthcoming Radical Teacher #83) is a contribution by one William Ayers. He writes:
While many of us long for teaching as something transcendent and powerful, we find ourselves too-often locked in situations that reduce teaching to a kind of glorified clerking, passing along a curriculum of received wisdom and predigested bits of information. A fundamental choice and challenge for teachers, then, is this: to acquiesce to the machinery of control, or to take a stand with our students in a search for meaning and a journey of transformation. To teach obedience and conformity, or to teach its polar opposite: initiative and imagination, curiosity and questioning, the capacity to name the world, to identify the obstacles to your full humanity, and the courage to act upon whatever the known demands. A pedagogy of questioning can begin to open those doors.
Isn’t that just the cure? At a time when every week seems to feature some new threat to the republic, I find it revivifying to encounter such honest, inspirational, and well-stated ideas.
For more about progressive thought and historically underrepresented political ideas, check out Radical Teacher and these other UIP titles:
A Hard Journey: The Life of Don West by James J. Lorence
John Dewey and the Philosophy and Practice of Hope by Stephen M. Fishman and Lucille McCarthy
Red Chicago: American Communism at Its Grassroots, 1928-35 by Randi Storch
No Lonesome Road: Selected Prose and Poems by Don West, Edited by Jeff Biggers and George Brosi