Beyond Bystanders calls for a shift in the professional self-image of teachers from agents of socialization to active advocates of human flourishing, social justice, and world betterment. The editors propose that it is irresponsible for teachers to posit themselves as bystanders and to conceive of globalization as something happening to them. Their role as educators in all disciplines must be to establish educational leadership that would empower students to critically evaluate developing global realities – mass migrations, socioeconomic inequalities, global warming, and the dehumanizing effects of submission to social media and consumerism – and achieve the overarching goals of humanization and facilitation of the fulfilling life.
A shared commitment to humanist ethics, pedagogical activism, and social engagement at Kibbutzim College of Education (Tel Aviv) and Wagner College (New York) sparked this collaboration. The authors of the book include educational thinkers such as Nel Noddings, Michael Apple, David Hansen, Pasi Sahlberg, and Wiel Veugelers as well as scholars and practitioners from six different countries and diverse professional and cultural backgrounds. An essential part of our educational enterprise must involve promoting intercultural opportunities, confronting cultural ills and ensuring that civic engagement is more attuned to political realities. Educators in all disciplines can reframe their teaching and schools to be more cooperative and civic-minded and challenge views of marginalized, immigrant, undocumented and refugee communities as strangers.
“Education is not only about teaching people to read and to write. It is about teaching human rights and cultural diversity, nourishing peace and fostering inclusive and sustainable development … I wish to commend Kibbutzim College of Education and Wagner College for joining forces to compile this volume to inspire readers in crafting new models of intellectual and intercultural understanding.” – Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO (from the Foreword)
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