Reading bell hooks “Teaching to Transgress” (1)…

November 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

…I like much of what she is saying, but I like it most when she tells stories about how she has tried to put her ideas into practice – here, for example:

Working with a critical pedagogy based on my understanding of Freire’s teaching, I enter the classroom with the assumption that we must build ‘community’ in order to create a climate of openness and intellectual rigour…It has been my experience that one way to build community in the classroom is to recognise the value of each individual voice. In my classes, students keep journals and often write paragraphs during class which they read to one another…To hear each other (the sound of different voices), to listen to one another, is an exercise in recognition. It also ensures that no student remains invisible in the classroom. (40-41)

And when she discusses the consequences of her teaching practice:

I have not forgotten the day a student came to class and told me: ‘We take your class. We learn to look at the world from a critical standpoint, one that considers race, sex, and class. And we can’t enjoy life anymore.’ Looking out over the class, across race, sexual preference, and ethnicity, I saw students nodding their heads. And I saw for the first time that there can be, and usually is, some degree of pain involved in giving up old ways of thinking and knowing and learning new approaches. I respect that pain. And I include recognition of it now when I teach, that is to say, I teach about shifting paradigms and talk about the discomfort it can cause…Often when students return from breaks I ask them to share with us how ideas that they have learned or worked on in the classroom impacted on their experience outside…Through this process we build community. (42-43)

I want to say thank you to the students and teachers of the Goldsmiths Educational Laboratory for Surprising Experimentation for getting me hooked on bell.

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