Teaching To Transgress Book Summary, by bell hooks

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1-Page Summary of Teaching To Transgress

Overall Summary

Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom is a collection of essays on how multicultural classrooms can be more inclusive. Gloria Jean Watkins, who writes under her pen name bell hooks, has written over 30 books that examine American culture and race relations. She was born in 1952 and grew up in Kentucky. She earned degrees from Stanford University (BA) and Duke University (MA). Teaching to Transgress was published by Routledge in 1994.

In this book, the author focuses on education and how it can be used to bridge gaps. She uses her personal experiences as a student and teacher to explain how students can be marginalized in schools. The author grew up in the South, where she saw black men have power while women were oppressed. In her segregated school, however, she found hope because of her teachers who nurtured and loved her but also pushed her to think critically about society. They showed that classrooms could become transgressive spaces for change.

When schools were integrated, hooks was forced to leave her school and the teachers she loved. She had to go to a different school with mostly white students. This caused her identity as a black woman and student to be marginalized in an alienating environment full of racism from some teachers and classmates.

As an undergraduate, she felt isolated in the classroom until discovering the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. His work on liberatory pedagogy gave her a way to connect with others who were marginalized and oppressed around the world. Chapters 1-5 focus on engaged pedagogy, which is important for fighting oppression and working toward freedom.

The next few chapters discuss how feminist pedagogical strategies have contributed to this engaged pedagogy. In addition to Freire’s work, hooks’ feminism gave her a way as an undergraduate to examine systems of oppression and ways they can be dismantled. However, she criticizes the fact that many white feminists focus on the white female experience but ignore or refuse to acknowledge issues black women face in society. As a result, there is tension between black and white feminists because their experiences are so different. Ultimately, she sees the need for these two groups of people to come together for a broader solidarity and understanding of each other’s struggles against oppression in society.

In the last three chapters, we discussed how issues of language and class are often overlooked in discussions about classroom privilege. Students who come from working-class backgrounds or Black English speaking homes might hide those markers to fit into the dominant bourgeois classroom values. Desire has also been suppressed by the academy’s focus on a mind-body split that prioritizes the mind above all else. To counter this suppression, bell hooks wants students and teachers to embrace their entire identity, bringing diverse experiences into classroom dialogue.

It’s not easy to work hard and commit yourself to something, but it is necessary. It was for bell hooks. She had a difficult time in school because she felt alienated from the curriculum. Her book calls on teachers to confront bias so that they can make classrooms more inclusive and supportive of all students.

Introduction: “Teaching to Transgress”

Teaching to Transgress begins with the author’s childhood experience in a black segregated school. She describes how her teachers were loving and nurturing, while also encouraging students to question what they had been taught. The classroom was an environment of joy as well as learning. Later on, she would realize that these teachers had influenced her thinking about education greatly.

Teaching To Transgress Book Summary, by bell hooks

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