Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom

Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom

In this book, renowned author bell hooks provides clarity on teaching in her inimitable style. Hooks boldly raises controversial topics that require attention in order to move education forward in this country. Bravely addressing gender, race and class differences, she talks about the need for a complex balance that makes teaching so important and exciting.

When we teach, it’s important to value and learn from divisive works authored by sexist or racist writers. You can’t fight what you don’t understand. Hooks highlights that reading is essential to learning. Above all else, free speech is the most powerful tool of democracy and deserves primacy, no matter what the speaker is espousing.

In her essays, she elevates the transformative process that accompanies critical thinking. This is provocative book is a celebration of the intellectual. If you are interested in teaching, education or pedagogy in this country, this book is a must read.

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In Teaching Critical Thinking, cultural commentator Bell Hooks hits hards on topics of dear to progressive educators. Travel with Hooks as she shares her deep thinking on the most compelling issues teachers have to deal with in today’s classrooms.

In approachable essays that cut to the heart of each topic, she elucidates the reader and makes confounding issues more understandable. Hooks has responded to controversial topics raised by students and teachers, who urged her to publish their deepest worries and fears. Hooks previous works include best sellers Teaching to Transgress as well as Teaching Community.

The topics in this volume range widely. She asks how much meaningful learning occurs in overcrowded classrooms, raises the challenge of helping kids raise their self-esteem and many other critical discussion points.

In the book, Hooks talks about a professor who asked for advice on bias faced by black female professors, who are challenged when they try to exercise positive authority while teaching. Another teacher wants to know how to deal with upset students that burst into tears during a lesson. One intrepid teacher is curious how Hooks suggests he incorporate humor in lessons to ease the burden of learning.

This is perhaps Bell Hooks’ crowning achievement in her series on education. She covers most topics in broad strokes but with deft comments that add value and insight to even the most casual reader. You’ll find the influence of John Dewey and Paolo Freire in her work. She calls on their criticism of classical education that Hooks says drive the country’s current teaching models. When speaking about critical thinking, she orients the reader toward a specific, achievable aim. One example of this is democratic social progress.

To grasp the value of Hooks’ approach, come at this book with an open mind, ready to be persuaded by someone who is an inside observer. She weaves together the relationship between democracy and critical thinking and democracy. This allows her to position her conceptions of what critical thinking is at its core. Also, that ideas need reflection in reality to hold value. Hooks shows that practical wisdom must be questioned when students and teachers are not encouraged to think critically.


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