Pedagogies of Kindness and Respect: On the Lives and Education of Children

Edited by P. L. Thomas, Paul R. Carr, Julie Gorlewski, and Brad Porfilio

Peter Lang USA

Rethinking Childhood Series, Gaile Cannella, series editor

Call and Submission Requirements

Submit a proposal of about 300 words by February 28, 2014, to

Chapter initial drafts due July 15, 2014, should be in APA citation/style format (see citation proofing guidelines below) and 5,500-6,500 words. Authors are urged to submit clean and carefully edited drafts to enhance the editing process. Please take great care with block quotes (do not set off with returns and tabs) and hanging indents in the references list (do not create hanging indents with return/tab, but use the ruler or Menu>Format>Paragraph>Special>Hanging Indent). (Please read carefully below the background underpinning informing this volume.) Also, it is important to have complete bibliographic information with up-to-date references. (See the end of this document for more information on APA).

Topics, problems, and practices addressing the following will be included:

  • How are “no excuses” ideologies dominant in child rearing and schooling in the U.S. and elsewhere? How are these practices harmful to children?
  • Why are the Commons essential to a thriving democracy, and how does a cultural attitude toward children impact that culture’s commitment to the Commons (notably public schools)?
  • What constitutes pedagogies of kindness and respect?
  • What practices in child rearing and schooling reflect pedagogies of kindness and respect?
  • How are attitudes and practices related to children connected to democratic values?
  • How are current educational structures reflecting and perpetuating stratified opportunities for children, and what education reform alternatives address those structures?
  • How does kindness play into the conceptualization of educational curricula, pedagogy, policy and evaluation?

Submission of Chapter Proposals

To be included in the 300 words are:

  1. Name(s) and affiliation(s) of author(s)
  2. Proposed title
  3. A detailed abstract on the focus of the proposed chapter, including conceptual, theoretical and methodological frameworks as well as the central research question.
  4. A list of 8 keywords.
  5. Also attach the CV(s) for the proposed author(s).

Points of Emphasis

Because we are living in times of historical amnesia, the chapters themselves should be critical, illustrate multiplicity and nuance, and demonstrate an awareness of historical and critical constructions of childhood (and the past work done related to these areas).  The following are examples of expectations for the work:

  1. The fields of education, and especially early childhood education, have included some histories and perspectives that view/treat those who are younger with kindness and respect.  Examples include the works of Nel Noddings (1992), The Challenge to Care in Schools, and Lisa Goldstein (1998), Teaching with Love (in Peter Lang’s Rethinking Series) as well as various scholarly and educational models practiced or put forward by multiple educators and scholars.  Chapters in the work should demonstrate an informed awareness of this history and the ways that both old and new ideas can counter current conditions that are harmful to both those who are younger and older.
  2. The chapters should avoid reconstitution of the romantic, innocent child to be saved by more advanced adults; this has been addressed by many.  The issue is the context in which we are all being placed (not that we should protect the “innocent” child) that is harmful to those who are younger, as well as everyone else.
  3. The notion of two interpretations of childhood: (a) those who are poor who are also often labeled as not knowing how to raise their children so needing help, and (b) those who are privileged and know how to raise their children, has been discussed and problematized over the past 30 years.  Rather than treating this circumstance as a new revelation, the issue is “why has this circumstance continued and even worsened?”  The gap between the rich and poor has certainly increased (why?); testing and standards based education has been critiqued as problematic, but the practices are more accepted than ever (why?); why has past work been ignored and what can be done to change our current circumstances?


  • Call, proposals due: February 28, 2014
  • Accepted chapters: March 15, 2014
  • Chapters due: July 15, 2014
  • Revised/final chapters due: September 30, 2014
  • Manuscript delivered: October 15, 2014


Eliot Rosewater in Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater implores:

“Go over to her shack, I guess. Sprinkles some water on the babies, say, ‘Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—:

“‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’” (p. 129)

In Sandra Cisneros’s short story “Eleven,” Rachel sits in class on her eleventh birthday, a day in which she is confronted by her teacher about a found red sweater that the teacher is certain belongs to Rachel:

“Of course it’s yours,” Mrs. Price says. “I remember you wearing it once.” Because she’s older and the teacher, she’s right and I’m not. (Cisneros, 2004, p. 42)

While these are fictional representations, children live in a state of powerlessness, silenced by the hierarchy of authority. The sweater in Cisneros’s story is, in fact, not Rachel’s, but as the narration reveals, facts are secondary to hierarchy.

In the U.S. and throughout the world, children tend to experience not only silencing but also a level of harshness not found in other cultures.

The twenty-first century remains a harsh place for children in their lives and their schools, even in the U.S. where childhood poverty is over 20% and the new majority of public schools involve children in poverty (A new majority, 2013).

But more than the conditions of children’s lives and schools in 2013 is worth addressing. As Barbara Kingsolver (1995) details in “Somebody’s Baby”:

What I discovered in Spain was a culture that held children to be meringues and éclairs. My own culture, it seemed to me in retrospect, tended to regard children as a sort of toxic-waste product: a necessary evil, maybe, but if it’s not our own we don’t want to see it or hear it or, God help us, smell it. (p. 100)

A sort of cultural antagonism and authoritarian control of children pervades the U.S., and during the current thirty-year cycle of accountability, children tend to face this formula[i]:

If children in the U.S. can survive the gauntlet that is the national formula for children, as young adults they can look forward to crushing debt to attend college so that they can enter a nearly non-existent workforce.

But there is a caveat to this formula: The U.S. formula for children above is for “other people’s children,” that new majority in U.S. public schools and those children living in homes of the working poor, the working class, and the dwindling middle class.

Children of the privileged are exempt.

This volume will collect a wide variety of accessible chapters from scholars and practitioners to explore pedagogies of kindness, an alternative to the “no excuses” ideology now dominating how children are raised and educated in the U.S. The genesis of this volume cane be linked to two poems by P.L. Thomas: “the archeology of white people” and “the kindness school (beyond the archeology of white people, pt. 2),” the second of which reads in full:

it simply happened one day
when the teachers decided
enough was enough

all the boys with OCD
spent the day playing drums
or riding their bicycles

and the introverts sat quietly
smiling periodically in the corners
while the extroverts laughed and laughed

and soon the pleasures became many
as varied as the children themselves
until one day a child stood to proclaim

after reading Hamlet all on her own
“I say, we will have no more tests”
to which there was thunderous cheering

yes it seemed simple and obvious enough
the founding of the kindness school
with open doors and children singing


Cisneros, S. (2004). Vintage Cisneros. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Kingsolver, B. (1995). High tide in Tucson: Essays from now and never. New York, NY: Perennial.

A new majority: Low income students in the South and nation. (2013, October). Atlanta, GA: Southern Education Foundation. Retrieved from

Vonnegut, K. (1965). God bless you, Mr. Rosewater or pearls before swine. New York, NY: Delta.

See also:

Citation Proofreading Guidelines

APA — Please copyedit submissions carefully to be sure you have cited following the APA style sheet; below are key points of emphasis that still need addressing in many chapters (also see for guidance

Copyedit carefully references, noting APA format for titles of books and article (CAP first letter of title, first letter of subtitle and proper nouns ONLY [for example The handmaid’s tale]; journal titles use standard CAP conventions [for example: English Journal]). Essay and chapter titles do NOT require QMs, but book and journal titles remain in ITAL. Also be careful to ensure that each reference conforms to the type of work you are citing; the OWL link has a wide range of samples on the left menus, and it is crucial that you match the type of work being cited to the format. The initial information in each reference bibliography MUST match your in-text citations. For example:

in-text example

James Baldwin (1998), in “A Report from Occupied Territory” (originally published in The Nation, July 11, 1966), confronted an “arrogant autonomy, which is guaranteed the police, not only in New York, by the most powerful forces in American life” (p. 737) and the corrosive deficit view of race it is built upon.


Baldwin, J. (1998). James Baldwin: Collected essays. New York, NY: The Library of America.

In-text guidelines include the following key elements:

First paraphrased reference to a source in EACH new paragraph must include either Author (year) or (Author, year). PLEASE keep Author (year) or (Author, year) in conjunction; do NOT place the year isolated from the author name. All subsequent uses in that paragraph require only either Author or (Author). Please note that parenthetical cites in the flow of your sentences require that the period come AFTER the ( ). ; for block quotes, the period comes BEFORE .( )


America the Beautiful created a minority class out of a race of people who are as rich, vibrant, and beautiful as any race of people. America the Beautiful has also created a criminal class out of African American men, building a new Jim Crow system (Alexander, 2012) with mass incarceration masked as a war on drugs. America the Beautiful created a dropout class and future criminal class out of African American young men, as Alexander details, building school-to-prison pipelines and schools-as-prisons as zero-tolerance schools imprisoning urban communities (Nolan, 2011).

In-text citing of print sources, required page numbers:

First quoted reference to a print source in EACH new paragraph must include either Author (year, p. #) or (Author, year, p. #). All subsequent uses require only either Author (p. #) or (Author, p. #). Note that a comma must separate Author, year, p. # and that a SPACE must be placed after the p. preceding the page number. For a quote from a single page use “p.” and for a quote spanning multiple pages, use “pp.” Please note that parenthetical cites in the flow of your sentences require that the period come AFTER the ( ). ; for block quotes, the period comes BEFORE .( )


In 1963, Ellison (2003) spoke to teachers:

At this point it might be useful for us to ask ourselves a few questions: what is this act, what is this scene in which the action is taking place, what is this agency and what is its purpose? The act is to discuss “these children,” the difficult thirty percent. We know this very well; it has been hammered out again and again. But the matter of scene seems to get us into trouble. (p. 546)

Ellison recognized the stigma placed on African American students, a deficit view of both an entire race and their potential intelligence (marginalized because of non-standard language skills). But Ellison rejected this deficit perspective: “Thus we must recognize that the children in question are not so much ‘culturally deprived’ as products of a different cultural complex” (p. 549). Ultimately, Ellison demanded that the human dignity of all children be honored.

Citing literary sources with APA:

APA is somewhat cumbersome for citing extended literary analysis, but you must first create an accurate bibliography of the cited works (such as novels) you will cite, and then maintain the above formatting principles when citing from and offering an extended analysis of that work. APA uses Author (year) or (Author, year) and not abbreviations of titles. If you are citing multiple works from an author published in the same year, you must alphabetize them in your bibliography by the titles, and then add sequential alphabet denotes that then MUST be used in the in-text citations.


Typical of contemporary education reform, CCSS began as a political process driven by business interests—not as an educational process designed by classroom teachers or educational researchers (Ohanian, 2012a, 2012b, 2012c, 2011a, 2011b, n.d). In the 1980s during the first wave of accountability, state governors became the primary voice for educational reform. Those governors often used their educational bully pulpit to pursue economic and business goals—improving the workforce or attracting new companies.

[note that proper hanging indent does not show in blog format]

Ohanian, S. (2012a, November 19). Common Core reality check: Here’s how Common Core assessments plan to certify workers for the global economy (with pix)…Let’s make sure the children read ALL of Ovid while we’re at it! Substance News. Retrieved from

Ohanian, S. (2012b, October 28). Snookered by Bill Gates and the U.S. Department of Education. The Daily Censored. Retrieved from

Ohanian, S. (2012c, February 4). NCTE allegiance to the Common Core is burying us. Retrieved from

Ohanian, S. (2011a, December 7). We’re being steamrolled into one-size-fits-all. Learning Matters. Retrieved from

Ohanian, S. (2011b, October 19). The crocodile in the Common Core Standards. Substance News. Retrieved from