Erick Gordon is the founding director of the Student Press Initiative at Teachers College, Columbia University where he is also a full-time instructor in the Teaching of English Masters Program. He comes from a background in small press publication that later led to classroom teaching, first in Northern California and then New York City.
What does “publication” mean to you?
Publication, in its most basic form, means making ideas public. It’s the act of communicating through the written, the spoken, or even, the sung. And my firm belief is that everyone deserves a right to both communicate their ideas and to be received by an audience. Every student—not just the kids writing for the school news or literary magazine. And that’s why SPI is classroom based—and embedded in the curriculum. Those who have experienced publication—really experienced the thrill of seeing what words can do in the world—know the potential of publication as a tool to motivate the most rigorous learning. To me, student publication means preparing kids to be active citizens, teaching them necessary content, skills and strategies to take productive actions in the world.