Kathy Hytten


In this essay, I reflect on the need for an activist notion of hope as an antidote to the social, political, and educational challenges we face in our current times. I first discuss some of these challenges as well as emergent signs of hope based upon different ways of telling the stories of our present. I then define hope as a way of being and intervening in the world, as opposed to a personal character trait or optimistic demeanor, and discuss some enemies of hope. In the heart of the essay, I discuss four important habits of hope that can be cultivated and taught in schools: storytelling, creativity, mindfulness, and community building. I end by discussing ways in which schools can help cultivate the kinds of democratic, critical, and activist forms of hope that can buoy and sustain us in dark times, as well as transform our world.