Food for thought for teachers engaging students in human rights, governance and global perspectives - written by Elizabeth Delacruz, Higher Education Leader, NAEA [National Art Education Association] 2011 in Higher List Serve:
"We need to reassert how we envision ourselves as teachers. Many of us have
set forth a notion of the "publicly engaged scholar/teacher", and I see
teachers as local "public intellectuals" in their own communities (although
positioning the teacher as "public intellectual" is hardly a catchy phrase in
the current anti- intellectual fervor that appears to have taken hold in the
US.) Teachers have many of the same skills and dispositions that public
intellectuals in civic life have. Both teachers and public intellectuals pursue
cross-disciplinary understandings. And they connect their own disciplinary
bodies of knowledge to history, to far reaching ethical questions, and to civic
life. Teachers and public intellectuals have the ability to communicate well to
general audiences, and they encourage their audiences to ask difficult
questions. These questions include “Why?” “Why not?” and “What if?”
Teachers and public intellectuals embrace research and rigorous debate; they
reject simplistic answers and closure. And they consider implications of
actions and inactions -- local, regional, and global, understanding that it’s
not an us/them scenario, rather, we’re all in this together. Inquiry,
intellectual rigor, imagination, collaboration, and civic engagement permeate
everything teachers do.
These are the very skills and dispositions we hope to foster in our students,
and beyond our classroom walls. These are also the skills we need to apply
to the problems of public perception and support for public education today.
If ever we needed to educate both our students and the wider public about
how essential it is to be creative, critically informed, and politically engaged
citizens, it’s now.
I end this commentary where I began. Education is a political/public venture
of utmost magnitude. We need to continue to evolve as a community of
practice dedicated to both creativity and civic life in order to both address
the present situation and to continue to shape our collective future as a
society. We need to strategize about how to best pursue these aims.
I greatly look forward to hearing your ideas at the NAEA conference.
See you in Seattle.
all my best,