Engaged Pedagogies- bell hooks




Bell hooks` piece, Engaged Pedagogies, was one of the most enjoyable pieces we have read to date. It was easy to read and the way it is written almost makes you feel as though you were with her while she was experiencing her personal events. 

I found it interesting when she was discussing the progressive, holistic education. She says, “Teachers must be actively committed to a process of self-actualization that promotes their own well-being if they are to teach in a manner that empowers students”. I don’t teach higher education so although most readings are relating to that I can see this being an issue for any grade level teacher. There is no way you can be an effective educator if you are not taking care of yourself. It is almost impossible to touch others if you are not in tune with yourself. It makes me think about professors that I had in the past that were not as effective. I had one that was always miserable and was never open to hearing anything the students had to say. Now thinking about it, she probably wasn’t a “bad teacher”, but simply was not at a good place with herself so of course she couldn’t foster a great learning environment.  

hooks, also mentioned how students can be fearful in the classroom and how that fear stems from professors having hostile responses to the vision of liberatory education. I always thought that fear in the classroom was either from the fear of failing. I never thought of the fear being aided by the teacher and not necessarily coming from the student, at the college level, younger grades are much different.  

Lastly, hooks discusses how teachers should be their true self to students. This is a topic I go back and forth with. She uses the example of one of her students expressing that he was pleading with a fraternity and hooks expressed her disdain for the idea and initiated a discussion about it. After thinking about it I think maybe this might be a grade/age level thing as well. As adults someone is more inclined to have a mind of their own and have discussions about controversial issues. That makes for an environment where everyone is learning, engaged and seeing aspects of real life where not everyone agrees but we can still respect each other.


One response to “Engaged Pedagogies- bell hooks”

  1. Chris Friend Avatar

    I’m fascinated by how consistently you find differences between hooks’ perspective and the expectations for K-12. I’ve always thought her ideas applied across the board, and that grade school teachers could enact the same principles but perhaps without as much direct commentary on it. For instance, I would think a K-12 teacher would need to be just as self-aware, and just as focused on student self-actualization, as a post-secondary educator—but you can’t really use that language in grade school. Are things really so different between the two?

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