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"The Turning of One's Soul"—Learning to Teach for Social Justice: The Putney Graduate School of Teacher Education (1950–1964)


by Carol Rodgers — 2006

This article explores one teacher education program's experiment in "turning the souls" of its students to help them understand and care deeply about issues of race and social justice, including issues of environmental sustainability. The Putney Graduate School of Teacher Education (1950–1964), a small "reconstructionist" program, was based upon Deweyan principles of choice, discovery, and student-generated learning and had as its underlying tenet a commitment to change the world. These goals created a tension between student independence and the program's political commitments. Nonetheless, students discovered reasons for education that lay beyond themselves, their experiences, the classroom, and their traditional notions of school. By immersing students in experiences that moved them emotionally, students developed a willing accountability for changing their world.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 7, 2006, p. 1266-1295
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12556, Date Accessed: 12/17/2017 2:47:56 PM

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About the Author
  • Carol Rodgers
    University at Albany, State University of New York
    E-mail Author
    CAROL RODGERS is assistant professor of education in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Her teaching and research interests include reflective practice, the historical roots of reflection in the work of John Dewey, early reflective/progressive teacher education efforts, and contemporary reflective teacher education and professional development. She is currently interested in understanding how teachers learn to become “present” to their students and their students’ experiences as learners. Her articles include “Defining Reflection: Another Look at John Dewey and Reflective Thinking” Teachers College Record, June 2002, and “Seeing Student Learning: Teacher Change and the Role of Reflection,” Harvard Educational Review, Summer 2002.
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