'The Teaching Trilogy' | bell hooks
bell hooks’s trilogy on teaching is by far one of the most important and intellectually engaging works on this subject I have ever read. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope and Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom build on each other to offer a profoundly transformative vision of education. It’s both revelatory and revolutionary.
There are powerful forces in our society that we can’t simply check at the classroom door, whether it’s natural human emotions like humor and eros or artificial social constructs like race, gender and class. Their presence in any learning setting should be acknowledged and reckoned with. Only by recognizing their influence and rethinking our teaching practices can we transgress the boundaries that hold us back from seeking and sharing knowledge.
It takes a major shift in how we think about education to create an environment that is conducive to learning and liberation, that nurtures the best of our humanity and promotes constructive dialogue, that reflects our commitment to sharing ideas and building community. I believe that bell hooks’s works have the power to inspire students and teachers alike to embrace education as the practice of freedom and transform our society.
Before I conclude, I would like to express my gratitude to those professors whose classes I was fortunate to attend at UCLA and who, in my opinion, exemplify these values—Professors Libby Lewis, Melvin Rogers and Fred D’Aguiar. I would like to thank them for restoring my faith in the power of education and reinvigorating my passion for learning.