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Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom [Paperback]

by bell hooks
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 18, 2009 0415968208 978-0415968201

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.

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Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom + Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (Harvest in Translation) + Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
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Editorial Reviews


"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


About the Author

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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (September 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415968208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415968201
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 3.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bell Hooks is a cultural critic, feminist theorist, and writer. Celebrated as one of our nation's leading public intellectual by The Atlantic Monthly, as well as one of Utne Reader's 100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life, she is a charismatic speaker who divides her time among teaching, writing, and lecturing around the world. Previously a professor in the English departments at Yale University and Oberlin College, hooks is now a Distinguished Professor of English at City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of more than seventeen books, including All About Love: New Visions; Remembered Rapture: The Writer at Work; Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life; Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood; Killing Rage: Ending Racism; Art on My Mind: Visual Politics; and Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life. She lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bell hooks is a fabulous educator April 14, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Any classroom teacher interested in improving their pedagogy and empowering students' to think critically will want to read this book. Chapter 12, To Lecture or Not, is worth the price of the book. hooks insightfully examines the contradictions between monologue and a more participatory methods. And the entire book explores a variety of pedagogical issues through race and gender lenses, all the while using her own experiences -- which will resonate with teachers and students of all races and genders -- to put flesh on a theoretical framework. If you care about transformative education then read "Teaching Critical Thinking."
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Education, Critical Thinking, and Freedom February 3, 2011
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bell is a profound and provocative thinker. She causes us to think about what education can accomplish. Her cornerstone is that of critical thinking, a concept that is not taught often enough or from a child's early years. She clearly demonstrates the value of critical thinking in every person's life, not just those who are intellectual or academic. Peace, freedom, and democracy rest on the idea of critical thinking. To excel and feel alive and free we must all learn to think critically. Clearly the masses do not know how to think critically, for they were never taught how and they don't recognize the value in it. bell hooks is passionate about her teaching and it this comes through so very loud and clear in the way she writes. Every educator should read this book. Every student should read this book. It addresses democracy, social change, feminism, critical thinking, racism, and freedom. Her book is a true pleasure to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First and Only Generation May 25, 2012
hooks just keeps on writing more inciteful books, one after another. In this book she shares teaching beyond that first generation of black students in white classrooms where both students (white) and teachers (also white) did not want us. I call us the "First-and-Only-Generation" because we often werre the first intelligent, articulate, and "human" blacks that these white folks had ever met. Thank you for integrating spirituality with critical thinking.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, poor execution April 26, 2011
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I found myself disappointed with this book. There is nothing new offered here in the commentaries and they are so brief as to lack the capacity to trigger deep thinking. There are some nuggets throughout the book but largely the book does not come close to this author's early works.
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21 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bell Hooks & Critical Thinking February 21, 2010
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This is an excellent book with regard to the value of critical thinking that takes the student below the surface to identify and evaluate core beliefs. Every student should be required to read at least the first three chapters. Unfortunately, Hooks allows her wonderful progressive ideas to become overshadowed by her radical feminism and her critique of "imperialist, white-supremacist capitalist patriarchal domination of academic thought"(94). Had she made the latter points in a slightly more irenic fashion, I think that the reader would understand her concerns in these areas and still be able both to sympathize and possibly to make the necessary changes that Hooks is seeking. As it is, the majority of the book becomes a reader's guessing game as to when the next salvo will come across the bow.

That said, it's still a valuable read. I identified at least twenty different themes related to critical thinking that should be evaluated by our students, many of whom would prefer that we simply do the critical thinking for them and regurgitate it in class in a manner that they can easily study for the test and move on to another subject.

I look forward to reading more of Hooks' work.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! February 28, 2014
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I love bell hooks and we are super excited to use this for our staff trainings and to see what we can use for it for our student programs!
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