To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher Themes

Bill Ayers
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Individuality vs. Collectivism in Student Treatment

As a member of the 60s left, Ayers's politics are a direct reaction to the previous generation of left-wing intellectuals. These intellectuals supported fairly orthodox Marxism or Progressivism, both of which appealed to a large, industrial state in order to bring about efficient and just social policy. New Leftists came to criticize their predecessors on the grounds that a belief in the equality of persons meant that they could not be treated as cogs in a machine but instead must be free to express their diversity, individuality and uniqueness.

When Ayers was a college student, many intellectuals on the left were becoming conscious of racial issues and later feminist issues, which tended to emphasize the ways in which social classes such as blacks and women were repressed and their opportunities for self-development squelched.

Ayers is not an individualist, exactly. While he believes that...

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This section contains 749 words
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Buy the To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher Study Guide
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