Lessons in Educational Emancipation from the Radical Teaching Life of Hal Adams
Edited By Bill Ayers, Caroline Heller and Janise Hurtig
Introduction: Hal Adams’ pedagogy of ordinary thought: Planting the seeds of change (Bill Ayers, Caroline Heller, and Janise Hurtig)
Introduction Hal Adams’ Pedagogy of Ordinary Thought: Planting the Seeds of Change bill ayers, caroline heller, janise hurtig We believe that every person is a thinker and an artist, that the stories people tell about their lives contain important insights for themselves and their neighbors, and that the seeds for change can be found in the artistic and intellectual renderings of ordinary people. —Mission Statement, Community Writing Project (founded by Hal Adams, 1999) Hal Adams (1939–2011) was a modest man who taught writing workshops— mostly to adults—in the unruly cracks of our fractured and far-flung society. His search for an effective and humanizing pedagogy that would allow participants in his workshops to become more purposeful and more powerful in their projects and pursuits—a practice that would invite them to become conscious authors of their own stories and deliberate artists of their own lives—has had a lasting impact on educators. He has influenced teachers from the elementary grades through graduate school and from preschool through community and adult education. Hal Adams was a consistent moral guide and mentor to students, colleagues, and friends—including each of us. One of Hal’s students described him as soft-spoken and attentive. That depic- tion points to a central element of his teaching: he was an active and conscientious listener, drawing out rather than forcing in, more eager to learn than to instruct. Hal had the wisdom to understand that the central challenge of great teaching is the ability to let-learn. He...
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