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The Critical Teaching and Learning Forum

The Critical Teaching and Learning Forum

By Erik Jacobson
The Critical Teaching and Learning Forum is a group of educators who discuss and explore education from a left-perspective. Podcast episodes will focus on critical pedagogy and related issues in a variety of contexts.

The website for the group is
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Women's Perspectives: Adult Learner Writers Share Their Work

The Critical Teaching and Learning Forum

Writing and Learning While Incarcerated
The guests on this episode of the podcast are Cynthia Peters and Sergio Hyland. Cynthia Peters works at World Education where she is the editor of The Change Agent – a magazine featuring pieces written by adult learners, with a focus on social justice. Cynthia also provides professional development to adult education teachers and staff. Sergio Hyland is an author, speaker, and human rights activist. He also works as an organizer in Philadelphia for the Working Families Party. While incarcerated, Sergio was a frequent contributor to the Change Agent., and during the discussion Cynthia talks about how Sergio’s work is a great representation of the philosophy informing the magazine. Sergio then shares his experience of writing while incarcerated, talks about mentors who shaped his thinking and identifies systemic and structural issues that are at the root of so many problems. The Change Agent:
May 22, 2022
An Update on Education in Brazil
Today’s guests on the Podcast are Karina and Laudo Nascimento, professors and education workers from Brazil. Their research focuses on teacher training, particularly with regards to the teaching and learning of English. Karina and Laudo are both interested in the ways that politics, culture and new technologies shape education. During the discussion, they provide an overview of the structure of the Brazilian educational system and an update on current conditions. As in other contexts, Brazilian classrooms are spaces for heated cultural and political struggles, and Karina and Laudo provide helpful insights into the implications of education policy and practice.
April 10, 2022
Women's Perspectives: Adult Learner Writers Share Their Work
WE LEARN is an adult education organization that in their own words focuses on the issues, needs, concerns, viewpoints, strengths, and wisdom of women. The latest issue of Women’s Perspectives, their annual collection of writing by adult learners, is out now and some of the writers graciously agreed to read and talk about their work. This includes writers Marcia Costa, Norby Vilario and Jessica Ramos, who is also a WE LEARN Advisory Committee member. Stacie Evans and Shellie Walters, WE LEARN Board members, are also on hand to talk about WE LEARN’s work and the Women’s Perspectives publication. The theme for the issue is: "We Are Still Here: Women and Resistance." The issue can be downloaded for free here. 
April 01, 2022
Adult Literacy and Social Justice
Today’s guest on the Podcast is Ira Yankwitt, a long-time adult educator. Over the years, Ira has been as a teacher, the director of a community based program and an administrator working within the New York City adult education system. He is currently Executive Director of the Literacy Assistance Center in New York City. Throughout his time in adult education, Ira has grounded his work in a commitment to social justice. This has often time put him at odds with approaches that speak in terms of human capital development, and during the conversation he notes how this tension has shaped the field. Ira highlights current openings for social justice work and he shares what he thinks the field needs to learn from its history in order to move forward. Resources/Click for Links Investing in Quality: A Blueprint for Adult Literacy Programs and Funders LAC's Literacy and Justice Initiative
March 25, 2022
Health Literacy and Communicative Justice
Today’s guest on the Podcast is Maricel Santos, an adult educator, researcher and professor with extensive experience in the field of health literacy. During the episode, we discuss moving beyond decontextualized approaches to health literacy and towards education that is grounded in the lived experiences of patients. Maricel is particularly concerned with issues of communicative justice, and she centers her analysis on the interpretive burden that is put on some patients, particularly those from immigrant communities. This approach highlights the links between adult education, health literacy and social justice.
November 07, 2021
Teaching the Troubles
Today’s guests on the Podcast are Saul Fussiner and David Senderoff, two high school teachers from New Haven, Connecticut. Saul and David have extensive experience with Facing History and Ourselves and the discussion focuses on how they refined their own approach to the material. A pivotal moment in their experience was when an African American student challenged them to move beyond units of study that all involved the oppression of Black people. In response, Saul and David were part of a team that developed a curriculum for teaching the Troubles in Northern Ireland as means of exploring issues of political violence and reconciliation. During the episode they talk about creating lesson plans, what they learned on a research trip to Northern Ireland and what student response has been. Teaching the Troubles:
October 13, 2021
Teaching Palestine
In previous episodes of the podcast, I have had conversations with one or two people about their work. This episode is slightly different, as I am joined by four other teachers for a group discussion about teaching Palestine. Two of the teachers work in high schools, with one being an art teacher and the other being a language arts teacher. Another guest teaches social studies at the middle school level, and the last teaches at the college level. None of the participants claims to be an expert on Palestine or the Middle East, but we all have an interest in helping our students move beyond narratives that marginalize and silence Palestinian voices. Rather than providing clear answers, the conversation captures the work we are all doing to improve our own practice when it comes to teaching Palestine. We believe that there are many other teachers out there who are in the same position, and we hope that our conversation can contribute to the ongoing struggle.  Resources Mentioned in the Podcast Can Be Found Here:
July 23, 2021
The Politics of Everyday Literacy Practices
The guests on this podcast are Michele Knobel and Colin Lankshear, literacy scholars who have long been at the forefront of New Literacy studies. Their work has been a key part of efforts to re-examine the nature of everyday literacy practices. They are also interested in the opportunities that new digital technologies present for re-thinking learning and teaching. In the conversation, they discuss the politics of everyday literacy practices, how literacy research has been depoliticized and the ways in which neoliberalism domesticates and narrows what is possible in classrooms, schools and communities.
May 12, 2021
Using Music to Create Critical Dialogues in the Classroom
Today’s guest on the Podcast is Danné Davis, Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Montclair State University. Danné works with pre-service elementary school teachers and much of her activity focuses on helping these future teachers recognize and be responsive to the diversity within their classrooms. A key interest of hers is using stories, poems and popular culture to start and frame critical dialogues. In the conversation, she discusses how she uses music to help her students make deeper connections to the topics they are discussing and to understand key aspects of the Black experience in the United States.
April 08, 2021
Comic Books and Critical Pedagogy
Today’s guest on the Podcast is Kevin Pyle, a comic artist and working teacher. He is the author of a number of books, including Bad for You, Take What You Can Carry and Blindspot. He has also helped create comics that focus on the issues of wage theft, migration and the prison industrial complex. His non-fiction graphic work has also appeared in the LA Times. In the conversation, he discusses how he connects political commitments to comic art, and what that looks like in the classroom. I encourage you to check out his work at
March 08, 2021
Immigrant Student Activists Fighting for Justice
Today’s guest on the podcast is Giovana Castaneda, a youth leader at Make the Road New Jersey in Elizabeth, NJ and a student at Rutgers – Newark. Giovana has been an activist since she was 16 years old, focusing on immigrants' rights and workers' rights. She is currently involved in an effort to remove police from Elizabeth’s public schools. In the conversation, she discusses the criminalization of students, getting the receipts via Open Public Record Act (OPRA) requests and making unexpected connections. Information about Make the Road New Jersey can be found here: 
December 19, 2020
Presence and Socioemotional Health in Correctional Education
Today’s guest on the Podcast is Bill Muth, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Bill spent many years as an educator working in correctional institutions and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Hope House, a non-profit organization that helps families separated by prison to remain connected through literacy projects, video conferencing, summer camps and other activities. He is a founding co-editor of The Journal of Prison Education and Reentry and the author of the recent Fathers, Prisons, and Family Reentry: Presencing as a Framework and Method. The Critical Teaching and Learning Forum website:
November 26, 2020
Critical Pedagogy in the Suburbs
This episode features a discussion with Andy Beutel, a middle-school social studies teacher working in suburban New Jersey. Andy discusses the need for critical pedagogy in contexts where students' experience of privilege limits their ability to empathize with communities they have little contact with. Andy shares samples lessons and explains his approach to helping students rethink their frames of reference when it comes to issues like immigration, Islamophobia and how social class impacts health outcomes. Samples of Andy's writing on this topic can be found here and here. The Critical Teaching and Learning Forum website:
November 11, 2020