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For William Ayers, noted educator and activist, "the allure of teaching, that ineffable magic drawing me back to the classroom again and again, issues from an ideal that lies directly at its heart: Teaching, at its best, is an enterprise that helps human beings reach the full measure of their humanity."
In Teaching Toward Freedom, Ayers illuminates the hope as well as the conflict that characterize the entire project of education: how it can be used in authoritarian and dehumanizing ways in the service of the state, the church, or a restrictive existing social order-an idea he abhors-or, as he envisions it, as an undertaking to help students become more fully human, more engaged, more participatory, more free. Drawing on his own classroom experiences and those of his many colleagues, as well as on popular culture, film, poetry, and novels, Ayers redraws the lines concerning how we teach and why, and the surprising things we uncover when we allow students to become visible, vocal authors of their own texts and creators of their own lives.
"Committed and aware teachers," Ayers argues, "must endeavor to accomplish two crucial tasks. One is to convince students . . . that there is no such thing as receiving an education as a passive receptor or an inert vessel-in that direction lies nothing but subservience, indoctrination, and worse. All real education is and must always be self-education. The second task is to demonstrate to students . . . that they are valued, that their humanity is honored, and that their growth, enlightenment, and liberation are the paramount concern. We take the side of the student. . . ." This lucid and inspiring book will help teachers at every level to realize that ideal.
About the Author
William Ayers is Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the founder of the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, and he is the author of many books on education, including Teaching the Personal and Political, On the Side of the Child, To Teach, A Simple Justice, and A Kind and Just Parent.
Teaching toward Freedom is powerful, thought-provoking, and a must-read for everyone concerned with the state of education.--Deborah Donovan, Booklist
[Ayers] makes the case that larger society needs to understand what it means to teach toward freedom. . . .Ayers's model asks that students imagine different future worlds where justice is better served and where we create a vision needed for a better world."--Lee Baker, Altar Magazine
"Five thoughtful essays that examine how teachers need to value their students, challenge themselves, and teach for freedom."--Bob Peterson, Rethinking Schools
Praise for A Kind and Just Parent:
"William Ayers is as sensitive and gifted a chronicler as he is a teacher."--Studs Terkel, author of Hope Dies Last and Working