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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, 



Elizabeth Delacruz


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    Emily Erickson Cook

    _National Board Certified Art Teacher
    Technology Specialist Endorsed
    Curriculum and Instruction M.Ed

    I teach middle school art in the suburban Chicago area. This project has allowed my eighth grade students to confront global issues and to have an artistic voice that expresses their concerns and passions that one day just might change the world.

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