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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 Thirteen: Tough Kindness: Reconciling Student Needs and Interests in 1940s Black Progressive High Schools


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Tough Kindness

Reconciling Student Needs and Interests in 1940s Black Progressive High Schools


Descriptions of 20th-century black education are filled with generalities, myths, and oversimplifications. While Booker T. Washington’s Hampton model can easily be placed in juxtaposition with W. E. B. Du Bois’ Talented Tenth, such dichotomies prove much more complex than originally imagined, as underscored by Anderson (1988), Smock (2009), and others. And while the school segregation doctrine is universally damned, historical accounts of the 1940s and the sweeping innuendoes of the past—the assumption that black schools and teachers were all inferior in relation to the better-funded white schools and better-trained white educators—have been complicated by the work of Siddle Walker (1996), Leloudis (1996), and others. Current impressions of progressive education from the early- to mid-20th century have fared no better. Rigid categories—administrative/pedagogical progressives and child-centered/subject-centered curricula, for example—abound, highlighting simplified traits of “learning by doing” so that period educators can be classified, sorted, and shelved away. These categories are further convoluted by the fact that many so-called progressive educators were self-proclaimed when in fact they may have displayed few characteristics of what is generally represented as progressivism. Specific educational issues and practices of progressive education are often reduced to clichés, such as “educating the whole child”; and leaders of the movement—Dewey, Counts, and Kilpatrick—have been reduced to mere caricatures, obscuring the complex face-to-face classroom...

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