Portraits of Four Teachers for Justice
Through the artful science of portraiture, The Pedagogy of Teacher Activism presents the stories of four teacher activists—how they are and have become social change agents—to uncover important pedagogical underpinnings of teacher activism. Embedded in their stories are moments of political clarity and consciousness, giving rise to their purpose as teacher activists. The narratives illuminate how both inner passions and those stirred by caring relationships with others motivate their work, while the intentional ways in which they attempt to disrupt power relations give shape to their approaches to teacher activism. Knowing their work will never truly be done and that the road they travel is often difficult, the teacher activists considered here persist because of the hope and possibility that their work might change the world. Like many pre-service educators or undergraduates contemplating teaching as a vocation, these teacher activists were not born ready for the work that they do. Yet by mining their biographical histories and trajectories of political development, this book illuminates the pedagogy of teacher activism that guides their work.
Foreword by Leigh Patel
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American society is replete with chasms between word and deed. The land of freedom incarcerates exponentially more than any other nation on the planet, continues to break records deporting vulnerabilized populations, and engages in myriad legal and extralegal violence upon minoritized populations. Despite its constant avowal of being a site for freedom, democracy, and opportunity, U.S. practices domestically and internationally are marked more by the logics and longstanding history of racist capitalism (Gilmore, 2007; Robinson, 1983). Unsurprisingly, this contradiction is fully embodied in the field of education. In the imaginary, education is the single most sure pathway to upward social mobility, yet in reality it is society’s most efficient conduit for stratification and disciplining of social acceptability.
The four teacher activists you will meet in the pages of this book share a vital theoretical orientation in common: they refuse to participate in the widespread fantasy that the chasm between word and deed does not exist. Even more radically, they refuse to concede that such stark contrasts between mission and practice are intractable. Keith Catone provides beautifully descriptive and caringly contextualized etchings of how these four women came to be agents for change, who refuse that education merely be a site of social reproduction. Catone connects to and extends upon a vital component ← ix | x → of this refusal—the apprehension, the temporary suspension of dynamic forces so that these dynamic forces may be altered. Put more simply, it...
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