Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom

Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom

Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom

Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom

Synopsis

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 today.

In 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 Transgressand 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 learning.

Addressing 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.

Excerpt

When I began my schooling in the all-black, segregated schools of Kentucky in the fifties I was lucky to be taught by African American teachers who were genuinely concerned that I, along with all their other pupils, acquired a “good education.” To those teachers, a “good education” was not just one that would give us knowledge and prepare us for a vocation, it was also an education that would encourage an ongoing commitment to social justice, particularly to the struggle for racial equality. It was their strong belief that a teacher must always be humane. Their embodiment of both a superior intellect and an ethical morality shaped my sense of school as a place where the longing to know could be nurtured and grow. Teachers in our segregated schools expected us to attend college. They were infused with the spirit of W.E.B. DuBois, who proclaimed when writing about higher learning for black folk in 1933 . . .

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