William Ayers Lecture Podcast: Teaching Towards Democracy and Freedom

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

event: Thursday, March 8, 2012, Isla Vista Theater, UC Santa Barbara

William Ayers, formerly Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar
at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise.

His articles have appeared in numerous scholarly and popular journals, and his books include Teaching Toward Freedom; A Kind and Just Parent; Fugitive Days; On the Side of the Child; Teaching the Personal and the Political; (with Ryan Alexander-Tanner) To Teach: The Journey, in Comics; (with Kevin Kumashiro, Erica Meiners, Therese Quinn, and David Stovall) Teaching Toward Democracy; (with Rick Ayers) Teaching the Taboo: Courage and Imagination in the Classroom; (with Bernardine Dohrn) Race Course.

For listener's convenience the lecture has been edited into 4 segments.

Part 1(12:17)


Ayers analyzes the current false dichotomy framing the national discussion of education and defines what he means by teaching in a democracy.

Part 2 (15:54)


Ayers discusses the notion of a "curriculum of questions," stressing that students should interrogate the world and ask no one's permission to interrogate the world.

Part 3 (10:22)


Ayers takes questions, discussing issues of measurement and alternate means of evaluating students.

Part 4 (19:17)


Ayers takes further questions, examining how to challenge students of privilege and allow them to see and question that privilege. He also explains why he is neither an optimist nor a pessimist.