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Eyes on the Ought to Be: What we Teach About When we Teach About Literacy (Kirk Branch)

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Code: 1-57273-713-1

Title: Eyes on the Ought to Be
Sub-title: What we Teach About When we Teach About Literacy
Author(s): Kirk Branch
Publish Date: February 2007
Pages: 252
Format: Cloth
Read one of the chapters

Myles Horton, founder and director of Highlander, claimed that Highlander focused not on the world as it is, but always had its "eyes firmly on the ought to be." This book extends Horton's argument by claiming that all educational practice has its eyes on the ought to be, and that what that ought to be should be forms a central issue within educational debates.

This book explores tensions surrounding the teaching of literacy practices in three settings of nontraditional adult education: correctional education, vocational education, and the Highlander Folk School. Alternatively tied to rehabilitation and criminality, to becoming a qualified and valuable employee, and to addressing issues of social and racial injustice, what literacy is supposed to do, and thus what it means, varies widely across these discourses. It explores texts as varied as curricular ideas for prison classrooms, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the FBI surveillance files of the Highlander Folk School, and lists of competencies employers want in their employees; at its center is the belief that teachers and scholars must understand the worlds which they, and the institutions they teach within, aspire to create through the process of education, and that teachers must necessarily learn to work with morally vexing and sometimes contradictory goals.

"Eyes on the Ought to Be" suggests gaps in which teachers and scholars might have particular agency in reshaping the ends of pedagogy; identifying such agency should be a central project for teachers and scholars in a period of increasing official attempts to control educational discourses and practices at every level.

INTRODUCTION. Chapter Outline. The (Unachievable) Goals of this Book. EDUCATIONAL LITERACY PRACTICES AND THE WORLD IN WHICH WE NEED TO LIVE. Toward a Model of Educational Literacy Practices. Education Works: Necessary Futures in Educational Rhetoric. The Adult and the Education in Adult Education. Basil Bernstein, Pedagogic Discourse, and the World in Which We Need to Live. "MAKE THEM WISE TO SALVATION": LITERACY AND LITERACY PRACTICES IN CORRECTIONAL EDUCATION. Criminality, "Blind Hogs," and the Contradictions of Literacy Education in Prison. What Is Most Important for Them to Know?: Prisoners and the Prison in Correctional Education. Conclusion. "IMAGINE THAT YOU ARE": LITERACY AND COMPETENCIES FOR THE HIGH-PERFORMANCE WORKPLACE. Competency, Competency-Based Education, and the High-Performance Workplace. Real Things in the Real World: The Rhetoric of Literacy in the SCANS and NWB Competencies. Control in the Competencies and the Testlets. "Imagine that you are": Learning to Learn and the Totally Pedagogized Society. Free Market, Context, and No Child Left Behind. Conclusion. THE BOLDEST AND MOST INSULTING THING: OFFICIALLY THREATENING LITERACY PRACTICES AT THE HIGHLANDER FOLK SCHOOL. The Highlander Folk School: A Brief History. Demanding Dissent: Crisis Education and the World Beyond the School. The Citizenship Classes. "The Boldest and Most Insulting Thing": Highlander as a Communist Menace. Early Students of Literacy: The FBI Goes to School. Conclusion. CONCLUSION: TEACHING WITH THE CANNON. Trickster Makes This Classroom: Teaching in the Aporia of Cultural Reproduction. Legibility, Context, and the Struggle for Definition. Teaching as Métis and the Construction of Context. What We Teach about When We Teach about Literacy. Notes. References. Author Index. Subject Index.

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