Against the Grain



Much of middle school and high school education is mind-numbing, with students being taught to the test, based on a rigid curriculum that elevates breadth over depth and memorization over critical inquiry. How might it be done differently? Educator Ira Rabois spent almost three decades teaching secondary students at an alternative public school. He discusses an approach to pedagogy that emphasizes compassion and Socratic questioning.

Out of Bounds

With Tish Perlman


Educator and author of “Compassionate Critical Thinking: How Mindfulness, Creativity, Empathy, and Socratic Questioning Can Transform Teaching”

Out of Bounds

Interview with Tish Perlman


An interview of Ira Rabois by Tish Pearlman, on the NPR show Out of Bounds, about teaching critical thinking with meditation, empathy and emotional awareness.

Against the Grain

The Radical Philosophy of Alternative Public Education


An interview of Ira by Sasha Lilley, on Pacifica Radio’s Against The Grain, about alternative education and the state of education in the U. S. today.

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Recent Writing Published

Elephant Journal: Seven Billion Humans, A Meditation
7 Billion Humans, a Meditation: Skin is a Boundary that makes Touch Possible.
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OTV Magazine: The Most Important Lesson
One of the most important lessons a good teacher teaches, beyond the subject matter, is how to live a moment or a year of moments.
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Thoughts on a Gloomy Day: Hoping to Hear He’s Been Impeached
Life before Trump felt relatively predictable to many people. No more. He has awakened us to the fundamentally unpredictable and unknowable nature of reality.
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The Power That Liberates vs The Power That Corrupts
Two articles in the recent Scientific American Mind (May/June, 2017), when read together, provide an extremely relevant, even fascinating insight into the situation in the world today. One is on the psychological effects of power on the powerful. The other is on self-compassion.
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Re-Thinking Retirement
What does it mean to retire besides leaving your job? What do you do when you don’t have to do anything?
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The Place Of Wildness And Wonder In Critical Thinking
What is critical thinking? One element of critical thinking that most everyone agrees on is “higher order thinking,” which includes evaluating the appropriateness of evidence, the truth of propositions, and the soundness of arguments. But is this enough?
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Education As Adventure
“As a child, I dreamed of being an adventurer.”
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Why are You Wearing a Tie?
“Is wearing a tie a superficial act, a remnant of classist symbolism—or something else?”
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To Write Well, Write Truthfully
“How do you write well? On the surface, it seems writing is about language, which to a large extent it is. But from my point of view, it really is about the mind and body that writes. It is about being truthful and real.”
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An Open Mind: Mindful Awareness and Thinking Clearly
“By shifting attention to what was there in my own mind and body, and being open to it, my mind became the state of openness. The result was both calm and insight.”
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Those Who Lie to Create Fear vs Those Who Face Even Death to Reveal the Lie.
“As the inauguration nears, or as any feared event draws near, what do you do?”
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Dreaming of a New Movement
“Fighting the ideas of Mr. Trump”
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Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb
“How would you define “compassionate critical thinking,” and how did you use it in the classroom?”
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The Methods of a Teacher: Local educator emphasizes compassion
“Retired teacher Ira Rabois clearly loved being in the classroom, learning from his students as he taught. For 27 years, he taught English and history, as well as psychology, karate and drama at the Lehman Alternative Community School. A long-time student of meditation, he began teaching mindfulness practices to his students as well. ”
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Q&A with Ira Rabois
“In his new book, Ira demonstrates how to use mindfulness with instructional effectiveness to increase student participation and decrease classroom stress, and it turns the act of teaching into a transformational practice. ”
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Archetype in Action: putting archetype to work for the good of society.
“Anxiety and Critical Thinking: Helping Students Deal With Anxiety Will Help Them Learn to Think More Critically and Clearly.”
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The Good Men Project;
“How Is Awareness A Strength? The World Needs More, Not Less, Awareness”
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The Good Men Project:
The Relationship of All Humans
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Musings On A School Where “Dreams Are Born”
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