Teaching as Civil Disobedience

For a while I've been thinking about doing a podcast rather than a written post, and spring break finally provided me with that opportunity. I'm still struggling with making a podcast work with blogger, but you can listen by clicking here.

Let me know if there are any issues.


  1. I greatly enjoy your blog, but please do not shift to "podcasts". I find them annoying - no offense intended to you or anyone who creates them. I just prefer reading the blogs.

  2. Anon: Definitely NOT my intent to shift to podcasts. Just a little experiment with tech.

  3. I like the part at the beginning where you say one of the purposes of education is to provide students with agency. I hadn't heard that articulated that way before. I need to add it to my list:

    Why do we go to school?

    _____ To learn how to get a good job.
    _____ To learn how to be better members of the community.
    _____ To learn the same ideas and information older students learned.
    _____ To learn to be a citizen in a democracy.
    _____ To learn to challenge authority.
    _____ To learn to obey authority.
    _____ To think about the world and ourselves.
    _____ To find out that thinking about things can be exciting.
    _____ To validate our feelings and have good self-esteem.
    _____ To sit still and control our impulses.
    _____ Other: _____________________.

  4. Just listened to your podcast. You've got a good podcasting voice. Now get some incredibly intelligent people to argue with you on-air. I'd love to hear that. And get some awesome music for the intro. and outro. No pressure. But it was nice to listen to this while doing other tasks around my apartment. I had more mobility during my urban education.

    I haven't read the Postman book you mentioned but it sounds good. I love Postman. The list of 6 characteristics of teaching as a subversive activity - do you have that written down anywhere? And the quote you read out loud about teaching that ended with something like "That's good teaching" or "That's what a good teacher does"... can I get that too? One negative of the podcast is that I can't cut-and-paste my favorite Boutinisms into my files.

    The list of 6 is particularly interesting because all those things require the teacher to bury or hide his true self - maybe. I had a great history teacher who did this. The Religion of the Devil's Advocate. We never knew what he thought but he was always extending and provoking our ideas. Some days I love this idea because it makes understand that teaching is meant to be selfless, and this is the embodiment of that selflessness. On other days I think it's good to speak from the heart with students, and with authenticity. Which isn't really an either/or with the Devil's Advocate thing except to say that Devil's Advocate sometimes feels like a game. I guess it's a judgment call: When is it okay, if ever, for a teacher to share his convictions with students?

  5. Derek - right now my opinion (subject to change at any time) is that teachers should absolutely tell students what they think. We all have a bias, regardless of how hard we try to deny it. It's evident in the arguments we ask our students to have, regardless of how well we present both sides. However, i think if that occurs, it's important that a classroom culture is created in which students can feel free to disagree with the teacher, and accept the teacher's opinion (and reasons for his/her opinion) as merely one more piece of evidence to consider in wrestling with important issues.

    I totally hear you.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts