By Esther Kingston-Mann
This choice of essays written by way of non-traditional school on non-traditional scholars records a fancy and tough strategy of pedagogical transformation.
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Extra resources for Achieving Against the Odds. How Academics Become Teachers of Diverse Students
Appeals to contemporary practice do not resolve much either, since many people across the political spectrum think that something may be radically wrong with the contemporary world. The goal, then, is to get students to avail each other of the grounds on which their judgments actually rest, when they are inclined simply to ﬂy their familiar ﬂags and expect everyone else to salute. This is hard learning, because people do not ordinarily notice their assumptive worlds. “It is hard to describe someone you know so well,” a favorite literary character of mine says about her deceased sister.
The beauty, coherence, and community that I actually want to teach are generally wrought from such crude, unwanted materials. In my own case, what is crude and unwanted is the intensive scrutiny to which gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered lives are subjected by the strictures of sexual normality. Discussed and judged, we can either retreat into a doubled silence or take charge of our self-presentation and turn the inquisition into a conversation. Educators are people who lead out, and to lead an exodus, you have to be willing to go on one.
That is why it is so important that students like Alan keep the conversation going, even if their comments occasionally fall like the proverbial lead balloon. 28 Kathleen M. Sands The initial response of a class to my coming out is usually a momentary silence. Once or twice, there has been an audible gasp or some nervous giggling. Gay and lesbian students watch me with tense, eager faces and sometimes spring out the closet immediately afterward. Supportive straight students seem to square their shoulders, as if to be a buffer between me and whatever might get hurled back.
Achieving Against the Odds. How Academics Become Teachers of Diverse Students by Esther Kingston-Mann