Teaching the Taboo: Courage and Imagination in the Classroom

Teaching the Taboo

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Teachers College Press

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About the Book

Education at its best is about opening doors, opening minds, and inviting students to become powerful choice-makers as they forge their own pathways into a wider world. While many teachers long for teaching to be something transcendent and powerful, they all too often find themselves teaching obedience and conformity. This dynamic book—by two renowned educators—is filled with classroom stories of everyday teachers grappling with many of today’s hotly debated issues. These stories of courage and resistance will help today’s teachers confront the cynicism and demoralization that has gripped the profession in this age of standardization and testing. It will help teachers to teach initiative, to teach imagination, to “teach the taboo.” This is a hands-on manual for anyone looking to evolve as an educator.

Quotes and Reviews

“Drawing from a lifetime of deep thinking about education and courageous commitment to precious students, Rick and William Ayers have given us a marvelous book. Their devastating critique of the pervasive market models in education and their powerful defense of democratic forms of imagination in schools are so badly needed in our present day crisis!” —Cornel West, Princeton University

Teaching the Taboo is provocative, challenging, funny in places, wild enough and sensible enough to be useful, inspiring, and practical for educators who are working to negate the educational madness that is infecting the schools.” —Herb Kohl author of 36 Children and Painting Chinese

“Don’t be mistaken—what counts as ‘taboo’ is often the very thing that must be addressed for change to occur, as brilliantly illustrated in this new book by Richard and William Ayers.”  —Kevin Kumashiro, founding director of the Center for Anti-Oppressive Education and author of The Seduction of Common Sense

“Like all good teachers, the Ayers brothers challenge us to enter and engage our deepest, darkest questions and/or concerns in the classroom. In the end, the best thing we can do as critical educators is to teach that which is TABOO!”  —David Stovall, University of Illinois at Chicago

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