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Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect

On the Lives and Education of Children

Edited By Paul L. Thomas, Paul R. Carr, Julie A. Gorlewski and Brad J. Porfilio

Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect presents a wide variety of concepts from scholars and practitioners who discuss pedagogies of kindness, an alternative to the «no excuses» ideology now dominating the way that children are raised and educated in the U.S. today. The fields of education, and especially early childhood education, include some histories and perspectives that treat those who are younger with kindness and respect. This book demonstrates an informed awareness of this history and the ways that old and new ideas can counter current conditions that are harmful to both those who are younger and those who are older, while avoiding the reconstitution of the romantic, innocent child who needs to be saved by more advanced adults. Two interpretations of the upbringing of children are investigated and challenged, one suggesting that the poor do not know how to raise their children and thus need help, while the other looks at those who are privileged and therefore know how to nurture their young. These opposing views have been discussed and problematized for more than thirty years. Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect investigates the issue of why this circumstance has continued and even worsened today.
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Chapter Eleven: Re-Storying “Progress” Through Familial Curriculum Making: Toward a Husbandry of Rooted Lives


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Re-Storying “Progress” Through Familial Curriculum Making

Toward a Husbandry of Rooted Lives


When Wendell Berry was awarded the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities in 2012, the highest honor conferred by the federal government for intellectual achievement in the field, Bittman (2012) wrote of him, “he is among our best-known, most-adored, most-prolific, and widely admired poets, essayists, novelists … and social critics, a writer of almost incomparable breadth. Did I mention that he is also a farmer, a philosopher, a teacher, an activist?” He continued with his characterization,

Wendell is controversial, unique, and not simplistic. You’re not going to see him on the Today show or in People magazine. He doesn’t speak in sound bites but in leisurely, often literary sentences that, while not at all difficult to understand, require actual concentration and thought, two functions that are sadly in short supply in popular culture. (Bittman, 2012)

With Berry’s focus on local connections to land and culture, educators concerned with place-conscious, civic-minded goals, have found hope in his writing. Reductionist scientific discourses and industrialized notions of progress do not suffice, he argues, to recognize the delicate complexity of the natural and cultural systems of which we are part. He uses abstract terms like cultivation, moderation, and rootedness, and as Bittman implied, we must disrupt our daily consumption of “sound bites” to linger over his idyllic words and consider their juxtaposition with...

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