Teaching against the Grain: Texts for a Pedagogy of Possibility

By Roger I. Simon | Go to book overview

2
The Horizon of Possibility

A language of possibility does not have to dissolve into a reified utopianism, instead it can be developed as a precondition for nourishing convictions that summon up the courage to imagine a different and more just world and to struggle for it.

Henry Giroux, "Rethinking the Boundaries of Educational Discourse: Modernism, Postmodernism, and Feminism"1

The idiom of possibility stands empty. Accused of meaningless rhetoric, it can only be rescued from the dismissal of convention and cynicism by developing its substance, sketching both its form and therefore its limits. This is not a task to be completed by one person. As I attempt to clarify for myself the question of what might be an adequate notion of education as a moral practice, I am at the same time seeking to join with others in what must be a collective and democratic venture.

During the 1980s, both in Canada and the United States, there was a revival of the question of whether "creation theory" ought to be introduced into curricula concerning the genesis of human life. This revival included a renewed interest in Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee well- known drama Inherit the Wind. Written as a play (also produced twice as a film, first with Spencer Tracy and Fredric March and more recently with Kirk Douglas and Jason Robards), Inherit the Wind is loosely based on the famous Scopes trial, which took place in Tennessee in July of 1925. In the play a teacher, Bert Cates, who has introduced the theories of Charles Darwin to his class, is accused of breaking a state law forbid-

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