Behind the Netra Book Review - Bell Hook's 'Teaching to Transgress'

Behind the Netra Book Review - Firstly, Bell Hooks is one of my favourite black feminist writers so this review may be slightly bias. Hooks' writings on intersectionality of race, capitalism, gender, systems of oppression and class domination have inspired my own writing greatly. This particular text, Teaching to Transgress, is Hooks' exploration on how we can rethink teaching practices in the age of multiculturalism. She offers a theoretical framework and practical skills that she has successfully used to create an engaging, inclusive classroom. She discusses the prevalent issue of teachers who do not want to teach and students who do not want to learn. She also discusses how we can deal with racism and sexism in the classroom. Reading this book reminded me at a critical time that I am not the only one who believes education of marginalised people can - and should - be something more. I found that Hooks had articulated many things I felt and experienced but could not name, which proves her point about the power of theory. We as educators are compelled to confront the biases that have shaped teaching practices in our society and to create new ways of knowing and different strategies for sharing the knowledge. By doing so, Hooks hopes that education can therefore be the practice of freedom. As it stands, it feels everything but free. We fear to make mistakes, doing things wrongly and are constantly evaluating ourselves that we will never make the education system a culturally diverse place where scholars and the curriculum address every dimension of that difference. As budgets are cut, as jobs become more scarce and new policies are introduced many of the few progressive interventions that were made to change education, to create an open climate for cultural diversity, are in danger of being undermined or eliminated. I've tended to think about anti-oppression education in terms of the content that the teacher presents and that the class learns. Hooks also argues that *how* you teach and the dynamics of the educational space you help create are just as important as content in creating a classroom where education can be...well, freedom.
If you're passionate about education, teaching, transgression, coaching or anti-oppression then this one is definitely for you.