Teaching Defiance

I had the opportunity to listen to Anne Bartlett-Bragg’s podcast with Mike Newman, author of Teaching Defiance, while travelling last week. This cover note is what caught my attention:

This is a book about choice. It urges activist educators to help people break free from their pasts, take control of the present, and make deliberate, defiant choices about their futures. A true polemic, Teaching Defiance offers an exciting antidote to some of the formulaic writing in the fields of adult education, organizational learning, and human resource development.

Teaching Defiance sounds like the perfect book for any learning revolutionary. I made some notes while listening to the podcast and saw a clear linkage between critical theory and informal learning. Newman discusses three steps in the learning/teaching process. The first is Rational Discourse, which seems similar to traditional teaching. Here you get the facts and establish some common understanding. The second is Non-rational Discourse where learners gain non-teachable insight through various methods such as play or metaphor. The last step is Choose Action Well. This is where the learner exchanges stories and finds other people. I would also call this seeking meaningful conversations or networked learning. You have to seek out those who might shake your cognitive tree a bit, but you need a moral or philosphical framework from which to decide who you seek to converse with. Critical theory requires that you constantly question authority, including your own.

I have yet to pick up the book, but it’s on my list and I look forward to reading it. So far, there are no reader reviews on Amazon or Wiley.

By the way, I made these notes on my Moleskine notebook while on the plane.

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