Teaching Critical Thinking : Practical Wisdom book cover
1st Edition

Teaching Critical Thinking
Practical Wisdom

ISBN 9780415968201
Published September 15, 2009 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

In Teaching Critical Thinking, renowned cultural critic and progressive educator bell hooks addresses some of the most compelling issues facing teachers in and out of the classroom today.

In a series of short, accessible, and enlightening essays, hooks explores the confounding and sometimes controversial topics that teachers and students have urged her to address since the publication of the previous best-selling volumes in her Teaching series, Teaching to Transgress and Teaching Community. The issues are varied and broad, from whether meaningful teaching can take place in a large classroom setting to confronting issues of self-esteem. One professor, for example, asked how black female professors can maintain positive authority in a classroom without being seen through the lens of negative racist, sexist stereotypes. One teacher asked how to handle tears in the classroom, while another wanted to know how to use humor as a tool for learning.

Addressing questions of race, gender, and class in this work, hooks discusses the complex balance that allows us to teach, value, and learn from works written by racist and sexist authors. Highlighting the importance of reading, she insists on the primacy of free speech, a democratic education of literacy. Throughout these essays, she celebrates the transformative power of critical thinking. This is provocative, powerful, and joyful intellectual work. It is a must read for anyone who is at all interested in education today.

Table of Contents


1. critical thinking

2. democratic education

3. engaged pedagogy

4. decolonization

5. integrity

6. purpose

7. collaboration (written with Ron Scapp)

8. conversation

9. telling the story

10. sharing the story

11. imagination

12. to lecture or not

13. humor in the classroom

14. crying time

15. conflict

16. feminist revolution

17. black, female and academic

18. learning past the hate

19. honoring teachers

20. teachers against teaching

21. self-esteem

22. the joy of reading

23. intellectual life

24. writing books for children

25. spirituality

26. touch

27. to love again

28. feminist change

29. moving past race and gender

30. talking sex

31. teaching as prophetic vocation

32. practical wisdom

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bell hooks is a world-renowned intellectual, cultural critic, and writer who is also Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Studies at Berea College in Kentucky. Among her many books are the feminist classic Ain't I A Woman, the dialogue (with Cornel West) Breaking Bread, the children's books Happy to Be Nappy and Be Boy Buzz, the memoir Bone Black and the general interest titles All About Love, Rock My Soul, and Communion. She has published seven titles with Routledge: Belonging, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity, Where We Stand, Teaching to Transgress, Teaching Community, Outlaw Culture, and Reel to Real.


"Positing education as the practice of freedom to balance against (or as an antidote to) the notion of education as credential-collecting, Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom seeks to help engaged educators navigate the contradictions and challenges of the academy so as to fulfill our mandate to be of compassionate service to students—as whole people, not simply as someone's future employees." – Rain Taxi