1st Edition

Heart at the Center An Educator's Guide to Sustaining Love, Hope, and Community Through Nonviolence Pedagogy

By Mike Tinoco Copyright 2024
    348 Pages 65 Color & 28 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In Heart at the Center: An Educator’s Guide to Sustaining Love, Hope, and Community Through Nonviolence Pedagogy, high school teacher Mike Tinoco examines what it means to reimagine classrooms and schools as spaces that humanize, resist violence and injustice, and center love.

    Offering both a framework and a set of practices that are grounded in different nonviolence traditions, Heart at the Center asks readers to consider what a pedagogy of nonviolence looks like, sounds like, and feels like in the classroom.

    Written with warmth, expertise, and humility, Mike Tinoco invites us into his classroom, drawing on stories from his own life and powerful examples from civil rights movement leaders to explore questions such as:

    ● How do we create classrooms and schools that are grounded in needs and match our vision for the kind of world we dream of?

    ● How can we challenge conventional classroom management practices, welcome conflict, and nurture relationships with and amongst our students to foster positive peace?

    ● How can we embed love in our curriculum and be inclusive of our students’ lives, centering community, healing, and justice?

    ● How can we slow down and take care of ourselves without compromising the urgency to fight for justice? When can voluntary suffering meet our needs and empower us?

    ● How can educators navigate conflict, build community with one another, and create their own professional development opportunities that support collective care?

    Heart at the Center is a book for educators who believe that a different kind of classroom, a different kind of school, and a different kind of world are possible.

    Part 1: Inner Practice  Section 1: Rethinking Nonviolence  1. Reclaiming Our Stories  2. A Conscious(ness) Shift  Part 2: Classroom Practice  Section 2: Relational Nuturing, Not Classroom Management  3. Negative and Positive Peace  4. Surrendering Control, Retaining Command  Section 3: Life as Text, Love as Ink  5. Cultivating Self-Love  6. Cultivating Love for Humanity  Section 4: Slow Urgency  7. At the Speed of Breath  8. Honoring Suffering  Part 3: Outer Practice  Section 5: Tending the Whole Garden  9. Connecting Through Conflict  10. Leading Together



    Mike Tinoco is a high school educator and nonviolence trainer from San José, California. His practice draws from Kingian Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication, and aikido, with the aim of strengthening interconnectedness, healing together, and fighting for collective liberation. He is committed to working alongside his students, educators, and everyday people in creating a world that demands justice, centers love, and holds room for everyone to be part of the Beloved Community.

    "Given the current state of our world, we need a (re)centering of love more than ever. In this very important book, Mike Tinoco helps educators to (re)imagine a different and better world—moving readers toward the inner, reflective, and pedagogical work. Heart at the Center is an urgent call for truth, love, and justice for every educator and community member who deeply dreams of and seeks peace. Beauty is manifested on each page."

    Gholnecsar (Gholdy) Muhammad, Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Illinois Chicago

    "Dr. Vincent Harding, civil rights leader, author, historian, pastor, and professor is known for drafting the 1967 anti-war Beyond Vietnam speech given by his beloved friend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was also my cousin-in-law, my family. Vincent shared that before Dr. King was killed, he was thinking about what it means to create nonviolent revolutionary change. Today, as we bear witness to horrendous acts of violence locally, nationally, and globally, I wonder what Vincent and Dr. King might say. What does it mean to dedicate ourselves to the work of nonviolence? Heart at the Center: An Educator’s Guide to Sustaining Love, Hope, and Community Through Nonviolence Pedagogy addresses this call. Mike Tinoco builds upon the tools provided by educators and activists of the past and helps us recognize the historical and holistic pathways that can move us forward. I urge educators to read this book so we can radically reorient ourselves away from the conditions and mindsets that cause violence and turn toward a lifetime commitment to caring for ourselves, the collective, and to love."

    Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul, Founder, Red Clay Educators, adapter of the #1 NYT bestselling Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You

    "Mike Tinoco is one of the most grounded and visionary teachers I have ever met. He has built a way of being in the classroom that reflects a holistic and loving embodiment of justice and care through a framework of nonviolence that is tangible, visceral, and possible. Heart at the Center is a gift to all teachers, as Mike provides a path for us to both heal and develop clarity in our evolving visions for our classrooms, schools, and communities. The book guides us through a process of deep reflection and urges us toward realistic possibilities for love and justice in classrooms that are too often devalued and discouraged in school systems. I am grateful to have this book as a tool for transformation for myself and for the teachers and future teachers I support."

    Marcos Pizarro, Associate Dean, San José State University College of Education

    "Heart at the Center is not just the book I wanted to read; it is the person I hope to become. In an age where the world expects teachers to do everything, Mike Tinoco’s recognition of our shared humanity and the importance of our mission is such a welcome part of our professional discourse."

    Cornelius Minor, author of We Got This: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be

    "Written with vulnerability, humility, and powerful examples of his own classroom practice, Mike Tinoco offers a brilliant nonviolence framework to re-imagine our schools as spaces of hope, love, possibility, and vehicles for radical change. This book is a must-read for anyone in education; a space where we can dream collectively of a world that centers love, justice, and humanity."

    Ruchi Agarwal-Rangnath, Associate Professor in Teacher Education at the University of San Francisco and author of Social Studies, Literacy, and Social Justice in the Elementary Classroom: A Guide for Teachers

    "Courageous, yet humble. Theoretical, yet practical. Heart at the Center is a love letter on loving ourselves, our communities, and our young people."

    Aldrich Limpin Sabac, ELD, English, & Ethnic Studies Teacher, Stockton, California

    "Mixing personal story and applicable classroom strategies, Mike Tinoco inspires educators to reach for their authentic selves in the classroom and create opportunities for young people to find their own beat within. Mike encourages us to slow down and focus on the things that really matter: relationships, creativity and communication."

    KZ Zapata, co-founder, Teachers 4 Social Justice

    "If you are a teacher trying to build a culture of nonviolence in your classroom, look no further. In this inspirational work, Mike Tinoco skillfully weaves together wisdom from historical sources, examples from his classroom, and even practices from martial arts to offer a comprehensive playbook in the art of nonviolent pedagogy."

    K.M. DiColandrea, cofounder of Brooklyn Debate League