Fall 2019 Discussion

Welcome to our current dialogue.

James Baldwin
James Baldwin

We ask that you post an initial response to one or more of these questions from October 21st-28th, 2019. Then, please respond to at least two posts to generate dialogues across contexts and experience. The dialogue period will be from October 21st-November 1st, 2019.

Recommended reading/viewing:

Read A Talk to Teachers by James Baldwin

Watch James Baldwin on Education

Review Teaching Tolerance’s Let’s Talk: Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics With Students

You are invited to respond to one or more of these questions. (To post, please log in using a Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or WordPress account. Be sure to introduce yourself, and tell us where you’re coming from…literally and/or figuratively.) Please feel free to share experiences, dilemmas, questions, or information about particular contexts of teaching and learning (e.g., where you student teach, teach, study, or participant-observe) as you explore these prompts. You may also feel free to recommend or cite texts (e.g., articles, books, films) that may be of interest to others on a thread.

 Discussion questions

  • What are your thoughts about the following quote? What do you think Baldwin meant? How does this connect/disconnect with your own experiences in school?

One of the paradoxes of education was that precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society. It is your responsibility to change society if you think of yourself as an educated person.

  • Baldwin argues that, “any citizen of this country who figures himself as responsible — and particularly those of you who deal with the minds and hearts of young people — must be prepared to ‘go for broke’…you must understand that in the attempt to correct so many generations of bad faith and cruelty, when it is operating not only in the classroom but in society, you will meet the most fantastic, the most brutal, and the most determined resistance.” How might you consider a social justice and antiracist curriculum in the current political climate?

  • Baldwin writes very specifically about the experience of Black Americans. How do you think the experiences of other non-dominant people or groups resonate with what Baldwin has to say in his Talk with Teachers?

  • At the end of the essay Baldwin writes: “I don’t think anyone can doubt that in this country today we are menaced — intolerably menaced — by a lack of vision.” What is YOUR vision for the education of youth?

  • How does the work in your discipline or current/future classroom connect with this vision? How are you engaging (or how might you engage) daily practice towards these ends?






Let's Discuss

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