"...our purpose is to be ... a community of learners together"
"Building a Teaching Community: A Dialogue" (2)

"Building a Teaching Community: A Dialogue" (1)

bell hooks structures this chapter as a discussion with her colleague Ron Scapp. This structure creates a critical space. (I had wondered what that meant.) This forum enables the free and frank exchange of ideas.
Her reconceptualization of engaged pedagogy resonates with me.
  • Cultural studies must combine theory and practice. Check.
  • We must consider all points of view. All permutations of race and gender. Check.
  • She identifies herself as a writer first, then as a teacher. Thus, she came to teaching with no pedagogical shibboleths. Me, too. Check.
  • These engaged pedagogical strategies benefit herself as much as they benefit her students. Check.
  • You can’t pay lip service to liberatory pedagogy (Talk the talk) without enacting it (Walk the walk). Check.
  • Decenter the teacher’s voice; encourage her to listen. Check.
  • Give students freedom in the classroom. This way, teachers and students can work together. This. Does. Not. Lead. To. Chaos. Check.
  • Acknowledge those precious moments when a student changes your way of thinking. Check.
  • Realize that this type of learning process is difficult (and painful; and troubling). That it takes time. Check.
  • Realize that learning is hard work but it’s also joyful. Check
  • Appreciate how sharing in the classroom elicits emotions. These emotions lead to therapeutic breakthroughs. Check.
  • Maintain high standards but de-emphasize the role of grades. Check.
  • Promote active participation in students. Check.
  • Recognize that being a teacher means to be with people. Check.
  • Understand that professors need to be aware of their presence in the classroom. Acknowledge what brought them to that point. Check.
  • Teachers must be aware of what they say and how they say it. Check
  • Appreciate the importance of sharing personal narratives that link knowledge with academic information. Check
  • Affirm the value of student voices. Check
  • Realize that what what happens in a classroom is the formation of a learning community. (As with this class!) Check.
But there are issues that we need to address. A lot of what hooks writes she calls experiments.
  • Are classrooms the proper place to conduct experiments?
  • The reconfigured classroom won't resemble their familiar banking system of learning. How to address that?
  • She calls it a tragedy that professors at repressive public institutions (CSUDH?) assume that students see themselves as having nothing valuable to offer. Really?
  • Students may fear the professor who acts like a passenger and not a captain in the classroom. Really?


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