Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ASCD Inservice: What Does It Mean to 'Teach the Taboo'?

ASCD Inservice: What Does It Mean to 'Teach the Taboo'?

What Does It Mean to 'Teach the Taboo'?

AyersThe challenging work of teaching pivots on our ability to see the world as it is, without blinders or limits, and simultaneously to see our students as three-dimensional creatures—each a work-in-progress making his or her twisty way through a propulsive, uncertain history-in-the-making.

As they enter our classrooms we must reach out and recognize our students as full human beings with hopes and dreams, aspirations, skills, and capacities; with minds and hearts and spirits; with embodied experiences, histories, and stories to tell of a past and a possible future; with families, neighborhoods, cultural surrounds, and language communities all interacting, dynamic, and entangled. And with a couple of basic questions: who am I in the world (or who in the world am I)? What are my choices and what are my chances?

This is the knotty, complicated challenge of teaching, and it's the intellectual and ethical heart of teaching the taboo: it demands sustained focus, intelligent judgment, fearless inquiry and investigation. It calls forth within us an open heart