Over 20 years ago, William Ayers co-edited “Teaching for Social Justice: A Democracy and Education Reader” (with Jean Ann Hunt and Therese Quinn). Dr. Ayers presented to AATC as the keynote speaker at both the 2002 and 2009 annual conferences. As demonstrated by “Teaching for Social Justice”, Dr. Ayers provides a lasting message to be considered in our dialogue of teacher duties as activists in and out of the classroom and aligns with the 2019 Annual Conference theme of “Teacher Activism in Distressed Times.”
The endeavor of teaching for social justice requires the engagement of parents, students, teachers, and community members. Dr. Ayers presents articles that address topics essential in transforming education and supports teachers in becoming activists in facilitating necessary changes. As Dr. Maxine Greene states in her introduction to the book, “Teaching for social justice is teaching what we believe ought to be.” The messages of Dr. Ayers and his co-editors in “Teaching for Social Justice” are no less relevant today and we look forward to furthering dialogue and action at the 2019 AATC Annual Conference in Birmingham, AL (October 3-5, 2019).
We can consider the need for engaging communities to facilitate transformations of systems and approaches necessary for teaching social justice. As we consider the work of Dr. Ayers, the following questions may help us to further our work. In the spirit of encouraging dialogue, a foundational component of AATC’s identity, and the upcoming AATC Annual Conference (October 3-5, 2019) we encourage you to share your thoughts and engage in discourse in the comments section:
- How can teachers fill roles as activists for social justice both in and out of the classroom?
- How can teachers engage parents, students, and community members in education and, specifically, in teaching for social justice?
- How can teachers overcome the challenges of “distressed times” to foster teaching and learning for social justice?
Written by Dr. Corey Nagle