Education Is Not Activism

Pocket Quintilian

A recently-published Australian book on education has been receiving rave reviews from the great and good on social media. I haven’t yet read the book so I can’t offer any comment on its content, but a section of the book’s conclusion caught my eye when one of the authors quoted it on his Twitter feed.

The cry that “all teachers are activists” and “education is a political act” is hardly a novel one; in fact, such a sentiment was virtually de rigueur among both academics and fellow students during my own teaching degree. Over the years I have come to disagree with it strongly, and it is worth explaining why.

Those who make such statements are occasionally inclined to take refuge behind the malleable definitions of words like “activist” and “political” when the less savoury implications of these sentiments are pointed out. But if such statements were not intended to…

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