Teaching against the Grain: Texts for a Pedagogy of Possibility

By Roger I. Simon | Go to book overview

Series Introduction: Critical Pedagogy Without Illusions

Henry A. Giroux

In what follows, I am going to depart from my usual tradition as co-editor of this series of expanding on the theoretical and political implications of the book to be introduced. Instead, I want to provide some brief "snapshots" that not only contextualize Roger Simon Teaching Against the Grain, but also situate this book within my own intellectual and personal encounter with Roger as both a colleague and a close friend. While I cannot flesh out the full implications of such an encounter, I do believe our longstanding friendship has been characterized by animated conversations, an attempt to work collectively as both writers and teachers, and a deeply felt need to develop a pedagogical project rooted in a politics of solidarity and hope. In part, this introduction is a reaffirmation of our ongoing friendship as well as the encounters and dialogue we have had regarding the politics of our own locations and how they fit within the social, cultural practices that surround them.

I first corresponded with Roger Simon in 1978. At that time, mainstream educational theory and practice was being challenged on a number of fronts, and the echoes of numerous radical discourses could be heard emanating from such diverse places as Teachers College, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Ohio State University, and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. As a first-year assistant professor, I was trying to read as much as I could of the new work being written at the time on curriculum theory and critical pedagogy, while simultaneously attempting to make a modest contribution to the emerging radical literature. One of my earliest pieces was accepted for publication in Cur-

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