Becoming and Being a Teacher:
Confronting Traditional Norms to Create New Democratic Realities
Editor, P. L. Thomas
3300 Poinsett Hwy
Greenville SC 29369
Critical Studies in Democracy and Political Literacy series (Peter Lang USA)
Paul Carr, Editor
This volume will seek to examine the tensions among economic, political, and educational goals and dynamics, specifically related to U.S. universal public education broadly and becoming and being a teacher narrowly, in the context of critical and postformal paradigms (Freire, Giroux, Kincheloe), confronting the assumptions driving capitalism, Western norms, partisan politics, consumerism/materialism, and corporatism in order to establish a more robust, critical and meaningful form of democracy that honors human dignity and agency.
Essays should present a wide variety of genres, including personal narrative, critical analysis, commentary, scholarship, and research. Essay lengths may vary from about 3000-4000 to 6000-8000, depending on the focus of the author(s). Please frame each proposal within the current climate attacking both teaching as a profession and teacher preparation—highlighting political literacy, teaching, and the state of the empire.
Please submit essay proposals that address the following, or suggest a focus you believe will enhance the project:
• Explore founding principles and justifications for public education in the U.S. (Jefferson), progressive tradition (Dewey), and critical alternative (Freire) as silenced and marginalized possibilities within a corporate paradigm for education, teaching, and teacher preparation. Unpack the contradictions and masking inherent in claims of normative democratic ideals as they flourish in public and political discourse. The question will not be how does universal public education contribute to a thriving democracy, but why do we maintain the traditional (normative democratic) workings of public education (Kohn) if education is primarily designed to perpetuate critical democracy for human agency?
• Examine and confront traditional norms of schooling and teacher preparation that maintain a stated allegiance to normative democracy (masking a deeper commitment to neoliberalism) as an avenue to recognizing and advocating for a commitment to critical democracy that honors student and teacher agency as essential for universal public education fulfilling its promise as central to a free people.
• Challenge the value of both traditional/authoritarian paradigms and normative democratic values as suitable for the justification or goals of universal public education. Argue that individual empowerment and agency are more suitable justifications and goals than neoliberalism masked by traditional normative democracy. Critical democracy may be discussed in the context of the problems posed by expertise within the simplistic claim that everyone deserves an equal voice (for example, does it benefit a culture or a field if the voice of laypeople has the same weight in the evolution debate as biologists and evolutionary scientists?) and the pedagogical norm that teachers must be unbiased, objective, and non-political.
• Establish the failures public education as enculturation and consider critical reforms for schooling and becoming/being a teacher, confronting the preparation and careers of teachers by examining the corrosive impact of certification and accreditation on teachers as well as students with a particular focus on NCATE and NCQT/ U.S. News and World Report. In short, certification and accreditation processes reinforce neoliberal norms by centralizing authority in bureaucratic organizations and by reducing learning to mere compliance and teaching to mere transmission (for example, in traditional schooling, U.S. history and history teachers are characterized as factual and objective even though U.S. history courses perpetuate a skewed advocacy for U.S. mythologies, policies, and norms).
• Present either personal narratives of experiences in teacher certification (as certifier or as teacher educator) and being a teacher—and placing those experiences in any or all of the contexts discussed above.
• Frame becoming and being a teacher in the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality as they all remain marginalized and normalized within corporate and neoliberal norms masked by narratives endorsing democracy and personal freedom.
• Explore and present specific alternatives to traditional and “new reformer” (Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan) calls for education reform and teacher preparation.
(1) Final manuscript due to Lang June 1, 2012.
(2) Essay proposals due to P. L. Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org) December 9, 2011 (earlier encouraged).
(3) Full draft of accepted essays due to P. L. Thomas (email@example.com)—attached as Word file—April 15, 2012.
(4) Editing/revision process: April 15-May 31, 2012.