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Effective or Wise?

Teaching and the Meaning of Professional Dispositions in Education


Edited By Julie A. Gorlewski, David A. Gorlewski, Jed Hopkins and Brad J. Porfilio

In our work as educators, we all aspire to be effective. We also aspire to be wise. If teachers are to represent and advocate for education, we must become the stewards of a discourse that nurtures education’s possibilities. This book explores how teacher dispositions are defined, developed, cultivated, and assessed. The authors in the volume consider the various and interconnected ways in which educators’ values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors are performed and how these performances affect experiences and practices of learning. This text investigates complex questions, such as: How should teachers be? and Who should decide how teachers should be? In different ways, all the chapters in this book invite us into the work of reinvigorating educational discourse. The contributors contradict the idea that wisdom is the province of the lone genius who possesses knowledge that is obscure to the majority. Instead, they ask us all to participate in the necessarily collaborative endeavor of discourse stewardship in – as grand as it may sound – the pursuit of wisdom.
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Chapter Seven: The Big “O”: Occupying against Reductionism in Education Using Small and Sustained Actions


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The Big “O”

Occupying against Reductionism in Education Using Small and Sustained Actions



In the United States, we have seen many examples of mobilizing for change, including the formation of workers’ unions and the battle for civil rights for many groups. The phrase “Occupy movements” became common vernacular in 2011 with Occupy Wall Street, which was inspired in part by the Arab Spring protests. The phrase has increasingly been applied to various protests against inequality around the world, generating a shared organizing concept for discussion and action. The website Occupy Together ( is one example of a discussion forum for Occupy movements; it includes the goals to “resist,” “restructure,” and “remix” as a process for work to make fundamental changes in institutions and systems of inequity. The voices of scholars, politicians, and celebrities further demonstrate the robustness of Occupy movements as an organizing concept. Cornel West, for example, noted the connections between change process and democracy, calling the Occupy movement a “democratic awakening” (Quinn, 2012).

Education is a major institutional system in the United States, and is historically based on the idea of building citizens for a democratic society. While that idea raises questions such as “Who is allowed to participate in that democracy and who isn’t?” there is very little doubt that increasingly the democracy of schools is no longer within the hands of teachers, students, families,...

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