I read this for selfish reasons and am so glad that I did I needed a refresher in terms of my approach to teaching and than that, I needed to hear from a black, female intellectual one who does not apologize for being any of these things that has instructed at a predominately white college and in a way that prepares her students to be true learners rather than regurgitators of information who are passive listeners which is academically gross btw I get two weeks a year to prepare black kids who have been habitually under taught and nearly always over graded my wording for grade inflation and empty A s in their high school English classes to understand what it takes to truly write well at a collegiate level, hold their own in a college classroom and to speak up when they don t understand something all this while steeling their psyche to endure being questioned as to whether or not they earned their place on campus which is typically done by people whose parents have paid their way into damn near all of their opportunities I selected this book because during my fourth year of teaching this course, I noticed how lacking critical thinking skills had become among students who had been tested to death, but not truly taught How do you fortify a student whose assessment of her his academic merit is overinflated, while getting her him to unearth her his true potential and do the work required to galvanize greatness against the backdrop of an environment that is rich in opportunity, yet extremely isolating I chose to do this myself in high school, but my goal is to have them start the process BEFORE they are admitted to college All I can tell you is that it s possible and that many sections of this book either told me how, affirmed that I was already doing so for my students or provided me with concrete tools and creative ideas to improve my curriculum and fine tune my teaching Loved it and needed it. Teaching Critical Thinking Practical Wisdom When I need to reorient my feminism, I go to bell hooks without question Her writing has always been insightful and accessible to me in a way that truly spoke to me and awakened my critical feminist lens in a way no other writer did during my formative years This book has once again proven why bell hooks is a virtually unparalleled cultural critic This collection of short pedagogical essays truly demonstrate the practical wisdom the title claims The essays cover a wide range of seemingly mundane topics in education, but hooks insights elevate the topics to a hallowed experience Unfortunately, unlike her usual works, I found this collection a bit difficult to get into because of the syncopated rhythm of the very short chapters and the topics were so wide ranging that sometimes a central theme was lost But it s still bell hooks even her slightly less perfect works are still phenomenal and will stay on my shelf to refer to over and over again. bell hooks is my intellectual crush She s has the awesome ability to blend progressive ideas, complex theory, good will, feminism, love of self, and love of learning in all that she has written Meeting her at an NCTE conference several years ago continues to be an indelible memory in my journey as a thinker, feminist, teacher and man That she even seemed to be flirting with me as we conversed at least the complete stranger sitting next to me thought so stands as a bit of justification that I do come very close to the idea of the feminist man and justice loving teacher that I hold as my standard hooks approved Working as a high school teacher in 2011, though, I am often burdened with self doubt and feelings of failure all of the time While the classroom is a transformative place for me and will always be so, it is also astoundingly difficult to shoulder the unrealistic expectations, unhealthy pressures and negativity that pervades education these days While my students continue to be important people in my life, people who I develop great love for, I lately feel I have lost my way a bit The last couple years have been especially hard, in light of a string of district leaders without guts vision and my own personal struggle to start a family A lot of times I felt emotionally weak and unable to give students as much as they deserve.But that s why I am so grateful for this book It may seem to some as overstatement, but I think bell hooks has just professionally saved me Not only did hooks validate the powerful structures that I have set in place in my classroom I realize I ve been too hard on myself, as usual , but she also nudges me along to think in even radical ways She reminds me that community, trust, and love are transformative energies that change the classroom reading this book has given me pause to rethink why I am an English teacher and why I work with young people Yet she does all this with the knowledge that I must also take care of myself, to nurture and love the person and thinker and teacher that I am She s almost Buddhist in her approach to self improvement and social change.While hooks does focus much of her discussion on college professors and the university classroom as in the other two in the series , so much can translate or at least it should hooks empowers me to attempt to realize her healthy, safe, joyful, progressive vision of education in the high school classroom All three books have been moved to my bedside in their bright, bold covers as a reminder of the awesome transformative possibility education can provide to all and the gift of this vocation I have been given Thank you, universe. What I like about this book is that it shed light on the importance of emotion and relationship in education at the same time as encouraging critical thinking Many personal stories are shared to illustrate hooks ideas, so her ideas are very easy to relate to. ( Kindle ) ♨ Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom ☦ In Teaching Critical Thinking, Renowned Cultural Critic And Progressive Educator Bell Hooks Addresses Some Of The Most Compelling Issues Facing Teachers In And Out Of The Classroom TodayIn A Series Of Short, Accessible, And Enlightening Essays, Hooks Explores The Confounding And Sometimes Controversial Topics That Teachers And Students Have Urged Her To Address Since The Publication Of The Previous Best Selling Volumes In Her Teaching Series, Teaching To Transgress And Teaching Community The Issues Are Varied And Broad, From Whether Meaningful Teaching Can Take Place In A Large Classroom Setting To Confronting Issues Of Self Esteem One Professor, For Example, Asked How Black Female Professors Can Maintain Positive Authority In A Classroom Without Being Seen Through The Lens Of Negative Racist, Sexist Stereotypes One Teacher Asked How To Handle Tears In The Classroom, While Another Wanted To Know How To Use Humor As A Tool For LearningAddressing Questions Of Race, Gender, And Class In This Work, Hooks Discusses The Complex Balance That Allows Us To Teach, Value, And Learn From Works Written By Racist And Sexist Authors Highlighting The Importance Of Reading, She Insists On The Primacy Of Free Speech, A Democratic Education Of Literacy Throughout These Essays, She Celebrates The Transformative Power Of Critical Thinking This Is Provocative, Powerful, And Joyful Intellectual Work It Is A Must Read For Anyone Who Is At All Interested In Education Today
bell hooks writing in this book makes me feel pretty darn inspired so many beautiful nuggets.i think its particularly helpful while you re in some kind of structured program which i am and its suited for folks who already have tons of reading, because the chapters are only a few pages.i will admit some chapters fall flat for me in comparison to others favorites so far though the crying chapter, the discussion about what it means to be a critical thinker, the democratic education chapter, the concept of radical openness.as a person who has a hard time being in school because sometimes i cant figure out how i m connected to the world outside my program, i felt relieved by this book not because its telling me all the answers and making everything ok, but because it gives me some food for thought and a framework in which i can see myself and my classmates im not alone im just sad she doesnt live within walking distance. p.2 Imagine what it is like to be taught by a teacher who does not believe you are fully human Imagine what it is like to be taught by teachers who do believe that they are racially superior, and who feel that they should not have to lower themselves by teaching students whom they really believe are incapable of learning p.14 Nowadays, most students simply assume that living in a democratic society is their birthright they do not believe they must work to maintain democracy They do not read the American thinkers, past and present, who teach is the meaning of democracy They do not read John Dewey They do not know his powerful declaration that democracy has to be born anew in each generation, and education is its midwife p.20 I like to engage the minds and hearts of students by doing simple writing exercises, sentence completions We might all write a spontaneous paragraph beginning with a phrase like my most courageous moment happened when Or we might bring a small object to class and all write a short paragraph about its value and importance Reading these short paragraphs aloud to one another, we have the opportunity to see and hear each unique voice p.21 The root meaning of the word integrity is wholeness Hence, engaged pedagogy makes the classroom a place where wholeness is welcomed and students can be honest, even radically open They can name their fears, voice their resistance to thinking, speak out, and they can also fully celebrate the moments where everything clicks and collective learning is taking place Because engaged pedagogy highlights the importance of independent thinking and each student finding his or her unique voice, this recognition is usually empowering for students Engaged pedagogy assumes that every student has a valuable contribution to make to the learning process p.24 Drawing from the radicalism of militant freedom fighters from Africa, South America, China, and all over the world, radicalized Americans, especially those from disfranchised groups, were learning a new language with which to articulate our place in the United States p.25 Amilcar Cabral spoke of the decolonizing of mentality Liberation was a term constantly evoked p.27 My primary intent as a teacher is to create an open learning community where students are able to learn how to be critical thinkers able to understand and respond to the material we are studying together Since there has not been a radical transformation of education at its roots, education as the practice of freedom is still a pedagogy accepted only by individuals who elect to concentrate their efforts in this direction p.35 I did not understand at the beginning of my teaching career that the majority of students would arrive in the classroom colonized in their minds and imaginations I was unprepared for the reality that many teachers would view with hostility the idea of education as the practise of freedom p.45 Conversation is always about giving Genuine conversation is about the sharing of power and knowledge it is fundamentally a cooperative enterprise p.53 Stories help us to connect to a world beyond the self In telling our stories we make connections with other stories Journeying to countries where we may not speak the native tongue, most of us communicate by creating a story, one we may tell without words p.55 Academic classrooms were fundamentally changed by contemporary feminist movement s insistence that the personal is political, that experience is to be valued as much as factual information, and that there is indeed a place in the learning process for telling one s personal story p.57 By making ourselves vulnerable we show our students that they can take risks, that they can be vulnerable, that they can have confidence that their thoughts, their ideas will be given appropriate consideration and respect p.60 We live in a world where small children are encouraged to imagine, to draw, paint pictures, create imaginary friends, new identities, go wherever the mind takes them Then, as the child begins to grow, imagination is seen as dangerous, a force that could possibly impede knowledge acquisition The higher one goes up the ladder of learning, the one is asked to forget about imagination unless a creative path has been chosen, the study of art, filmmaking, etc and focus on the information that really matters In dominator culture the killing off of the imagination serves as a way to repress and contain everyone within the limits of the status quo p.61 Imagination is one of the most powerful modes of resistance that oppressed and exploited folks can and do use p.62 No matter the subject I am teaching, I always use the writing and reading of spontaneously written paragraphs to stir our collective imagination in the classroom When we are free to let our minds roam it is far likely that our imaginations will provide the creative energy that will lead us to new thought and engaging ways of knowing p.74 when we shift our minds into laughter we move from the left brain to the right brain creating a whole new place for thinking and dreaming, for creating great ideas p.106 Certainly in the study of literature many feminist scholars find it difficult to explain to students our conviction that it is important that they read works by authors who may be racist, sexist, engaged in class elitism, or homophobic p.129 Most teachers recognize firsthand that while new technologies, especially computers, can be great ways of acquiring information, they can also actually assault the senses and dull the imagination if misused Already studies are being conducted which indicate that young children who have advanced skills using computers are unable to be imaginative p.136 When I graduated from high school, the world was just beginning to really awaken and listen to the voices of black women Discovering a passion for working with ideas, for critical thinking, and theory I found a new path for myself Once again it was anti racist civil rights struggle and feminist movement which served as the locations where I channelled my desire to do intellectual work, to become a cultural critic p.138 When I think about the question of why to choose an intellectual life in an anti intellectual society, what immediately comes to mind is the transformative impact of new ideas and knowledge p.139 Either Or, S ren Kierkegaard If I were to wish for anything should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of what can be, for the eye, which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible Pleasure disappoints, possibility never p.144 It is a great gift to write books that aim to decolonize p.148 Ethics of the New Millennium, Dalai Lama Spirituality, I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony which bring happiness to both self and others p.166 No wonder then that contemporary feminist movement mocked the female search for love and made it seem that power was important than love To have equality with men, it was just assumed we would need to forget about love and get our minds and hearts stayed on freedom p.168 Clearly, women have been subordinated in relationships forever and have not found that this brings joy or happiness The best assurance that any woman will know love is that she loves herself and uses this love as the foundation for full self realization p.186 In my life becoming a critical thinker helped me survive the traumas encountered in our patriarchal dysfunctional family setting Seeking to know and understand fully gave me a way to create whole pictures in my mind s eye, pictures that were not simply formed through reaction to circumstances beyond my control Understanding the larger frame helped cultivate in me the seeds of mindful awareness and compassion. I ve been thinking a lot about several different topics in this book, the hierarchy between myself and the young people I work with, compassion, the place of love in my work, building trust bell hooks seemed to read my mind and address all of these issues, and Here are a few of my favorite quotes To honor a teacher with reverence does not require subordination In a democratic society where there is so much emphasis on equality, there is a tendency to forget that inequality does not necessarily mean domination is taking placeWe must be willing to acknowledge the hierarchy that is a real fact of our different status, while at the same time showing that difference in status need not lead to domination or any abuse of power p 114 In dominator culture where bodies are pitted against one another and made to stand in a place of difference that dehumanizes, touch can be an act of resistance p 156 It is essential for our struggle for self determination that we speak of love, as love is the necessary foundation enabling us to survive the wars, the hardships, and the sickness and the dying with our spirits intact It is love that allows us to survive whole.to love ourselves no matter our circumstances is already to stand in the place of victory p 176 While I agree with her theories on teaching, I had hoped this book would be practical in nature a how to teach critical thinking Instead it was a series of loosely related chapters although not in any sort of sequential order I could follow , which tried to speak to the importance of teaching critical thinking I am not sure for whom this book would be intended Is it intended to galvanize the choir to re energize those of us who already agree just needed a bit encouragement occasionally Because I do not see it convincing anyone who does not already agree since it begins from premises with which I think many would already disagree And it does not provide practical ways for teaching critical thinking It does promote the idea of using dialogue, rather than lecture, in class But although there are great personal stories scattered throughout, they are quite short I would have liked to have heard about how she handled the situations in depth, how she followed up Still, the writing is clear and very accessible. I think that this is probably not the ideal place to begin my reading of bell hooks I guess that this is what happens when you realize one day that you have somehow become a grown up person who calls herself a feminist without reading any bell hooks, and so you hop over to and grab the first couple of Kindle titles that sound interesting Not that this is a bad book by any means If you do any sort of teaching and I still do quite a lot of teaching even though teacher or instructor appears nowhere in my job title and hasn t for years , there are lots of good insights and things that will make you think here But this doesn t feel like a bell hooks 101 level book The essays are short, pithy, and sometimes feel to me like they could use a bit unpacking, as if they take for granted ideas and arguments that hooks has made at greater length elsewhere.