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Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,386 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Ten years ago, bell hooks astonished readers with Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. Now comes Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope - a powerful, visionary work that will enrich our teaching and our lives. Combining critical thinking about education with autobiographical narratives, hooks invites readers to extend the discourse of race, gender, ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published August 25th 2003 by Routledge (first published November 30th 2002)
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Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Adding the quotes I noted for my own reference here (private notes section was too small).

(xv) definition of dialogue: "both sides are willing to change" - Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhan Hanh

(22) "my commitment to radical openness and devotion to critical thinking... was at odds with the demands that I uphold the status quo if I wanted to be rewarded"

(27) "It is as though the very act of thinking about the nature of race and racism is still seen as 'dirty' work best suited for bl
May 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2009
A perplexing book-- if you look at it as a collection of essays, it makes more sense, but taken together it's a bizarre reading experience.

One of the reasons for this is that this is without a doubt the single most poorly copy-edited book I have ever read. It's hard to get through more than a few pages at a time without stumbling across a howler of a grammatical or sentence error that an editor has let stand. From time to time these errors are sneaky, but mostly they're glaring and obvious, inte
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: communicators/teachers/believers
Recommended to Amanda by: catalog
"Learned helplessness is necessary for the maintenance of dominator culture" This was my first book by bell hooks. I may be hooked. This was really the summary of everything I have been thinking about lately. Teaching, anti-racism, anti domination cultures. She also references Thich Naht Han who touched me after only a small dose of writing. I'm moving towards acceptance of the spiritual as part of the cure.

The book is about how academia upholds tha status quo. How dissident voices are needed as
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended.

Here are a few bookmarks i made:

“Many white folks worked for civil rights, then passively dropped the struggle when critiqued by people of color or told by them they were not wanted. Anti-racist white folks recognize that their ongoing resistance to white supremacism is genuine when it is not determined in any way by the approval or disapproval of people of color. This does not mean that they do not listen and learn from critique, but rather that they understand fully that th
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Not a pedagogy proper but a loose collection of essays, 'Teaching Community' addresses the progressive potential of cultural studies, her experience of black womanhood in a white society, the tricky nature of white allyship, spiritual and 'death-aware' education, the effect of shaming on the performance of students of color, and her own educational experiences under Jim Crow. The writing is plain to the point of feeling clunky at times, and the book could stand editing (there's a chapter on her ...more
Haley Elmendorf
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Very quick, valuable read. Collection of hooks' personal accounts on how to be a dissident voice as an educator. ...more
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have so much to say about this book!

As a youth organizer, I'm just beginning to learn what it means to frame my work as educational in nature. This book gave me lots to think about, regarding the connection between education and community-building.

bell hooks seems to be in such a different place, at the writing of this book, compared to some of her her earlier works. I guess evolution is a sign of growth and consistent investment, though, right?

hooks gives a lot of emphasis to the value of c
Meg Petersen
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Parts of this were out of this world good; some slightly less. The chapter on sexual relations with students pushed me out of my comfort zone... Loved the perspective on racism and the academy.
Mina Richards
Mar 08, 2022 rated it it was amazing
It opened my eyes to a new way of thinking when teaching students. To bring a melody of learning that flows, equitable, and accessible for all involved in the process. Hope, community, language, and loving what you do begins the process of sustaining their attention and achieving so much more for you and them.
Apr 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: college-teaching
Another text I'm teaching. Not nearly as good as _Teaching to Transgress_, unfortunately. It's a good example of what Flower refers to as "writer-based prose." Hooks takes a lot of dense theoretical concepts and fails, in some cases, to provide a clear context for her readers, in this case, my students. She references Palmer a lot, too. In retrospect, I wish I would've chosen his text rather than hers. Still a fan of hooks, though! ...more
What I appreciated most was when she got really specific about her own experiences with teaching -- what was hard about it & what lessons she learned. What I was frustrated by was when she got vague and meandering. I don't think this is her best book, but worth a read. ...more
Apr 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The Star card, La Estrella, both in the tarot and Loteria it means the same thing. Spiritual or divine inspiration, the coming of hope in your life journey.

Last fall I came up on the one year anniversary of dropping out of school. One year of healing from a dark and retched place. But this time also has me reflecting on the progressive professors I had in college, that I now realize were putting bell hooks’ philosophy to practice. Teaching with love. No matter what material failure I had in my w
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
It is nice that bell hooks intentionally uses language that isn't riddled with jargon. Academic work that is too dense to follow makes it inaccessible to most and she, rightly, realizes that.

For this book, the first 2/3 were solid and are potentially going to help form my dissertation framework. The last few chapters, eh, not my favorite.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved this.
Jan 31, 2022 rated it liked it
some great nuggets in this one, but the essays don’t really stick to the theme and I don’t see much that’s building upon “teaching to transgress”—a lot of repetition.
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone, really, but see above for more
Recommended to Owen by: Bilen
I highly recommend this book to anyone who teaches or facilitates and anyone interested in deconstructing racism. It is so important. I wish I had read this years ago, before entering any learning environment as a teacher/facilitator.

This book shows how teaching can work to make learning a more human process, one that challenges and works to end racism, white supremacy and sexism. While bell hooks attempts to make the book accessible to any audience, it is still very academic, but her free flow
Katrina Sark
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
p.xvi – Parker Palmer believes that enlightened teaching evokes and invites community.

2 – Time Out: Classrooms without Boundaries

p.15 – Understanding that there are times when we “must work for money rather than meaning,” educator Parker Palmer describes in The Courage to Teach the way continuing to work at any vocation, but particularly teaching, when we are no longer positively engaged does violence to the self “in the precise sense that it violates my integrity and identity… When I violate m
Cindy Leighton
"All our power lies in understanding when we should teach and when we should learn."
"We must become as articulate in naming our joys as we are in naming our suffering."
"If we want change, we must be willing to teach."
"Where there is domination, there is no place for love.
bell hooks has so much wisdom to share - her words never cease to inspire me. I could paper my walls in inspirational quotes from her, and words I need to tell myself Every. Damn. Day.
In Teaching Community, hooks reminds us tha
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When I put this book down, I felt equally empowered and disheartened at the work still needed in creating community in the classroom. hooks affirms for me that wholistic approaches to teaching go beyond current conceptions of student-centered pedagogy. It’s relational and we really have to deconstruct dominating ways in which relational connections to students are instead furthering disconnections. I kept asking, “But how??” And hooks responded with several chapters on spirituality as a necessar ...more
Niki Rowland
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Creating trust usually means finding out what it is we have in common as well as what separates us and makes us different. Lots of people fear encountering difference because they think that honestly naming it will lead to conflict. The truth is our denial of the reality of difference has created ongoing conflict for everyone. We become more sane as we face reality and drop sentimental notions like ‘We are all just human, just the same,’ and learn both to engage our differences, celebrating the ...more
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Having recently finished Teaching to Transgress, this is much more disjointed. There are points that are hopeful, and many of the obstacles to teaching community do become evident, but there is less of a feeling of Yes! This is how it's done. Maybe the material doesn't allow that.

It feels like a lot of the material needed more thought and understanding. For example, in the section on sex, the point about there being space for learning and agency in discussing attraction between students and prof
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a book borrowed from a friend that I needed to return before moving, so I only got halfway through. Highly recommend to educators, but also to those looking to be challenged about the concept of community. Reading this in May 2020 during the George Floyd riots in America, the chapters on racism and "when white people change" were profound to me. Words I needed to hear and be challenged by.

"Despair is the greatest threat. When despair prevails, we cannot create life-sustaining communitie
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: personal-library
I enjoyed many of the essays, while others seemed somewhat divergent from the main theme of pedagogy. In fact, I would have liked more discussion on pedagogy itself - much of the advice around pedagogy was implicit rather than explicit, which was sometimes hard to decipher among the essays that weren't as engaging/relevant. One of my favorite essays included in this book - that I will definitely refer back to in the future - is "What Happens When White People Change," a wonderful perspective on ...more
Jake Cotto
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
bell hooks is wonderful. hooks composes thoughts that are critical, necessary and essential for good teaching. I'll need to sit with these ideas for a while before I can fully explain how important they are to me. But I know that I will continue to change my teaching practice to be more inclusive and liberating in the wake of reading bell hooks books on education.

The ending quote is pivotal at a time when our country seems publically divided: "Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid,
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Each chapter in this book could’ve been an entire novel unto itself. Bell hooks explains, in so many ways, that teaching community begins by dismantling the dominant culture of white-supremacist, patriarchal, capitalistic thinking and behaving. She talks about the importance of love in the classroom and a teacher’s role in attending to emotions and creating freedom through vulnerability, how our classroom teachings of dominant culture sends messages of inferiority about minorities, and how the d ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
there were some very good tidbits in here, many (but not all) of which are captured on the quotes page. i internalized some key concepts, for example: "both/and" (dialectical) vs "either/or" (hierarchical) and radical openness.

bell hooks of course takes on conservative ideology at various points but also some problematic mainstream liberal ideas. i noted viewpoints on victimization, free speech, and "cancel culture" (bell hooks does not name it that in the book, i am just taking the liberty to c
Agung Soetedjo Putro
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
bell hooks provides another accessible examination of modern academia and education in this book of essays, focusing on the reasons in which we need democratic education and community more than ever before. The text is mostly theoretical in nature, providing little in the way of concrete practices, but the thoughtfulness of each point will stick with any educator concerned with teaching freedom, and they will be the ones to create practices inspired by hooks's work. ...more
Amelia Aretz
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this for a book club with some of my fellow teachers at my school. It brought up great conversations about how to improve our community building in our classrooms and school. Bell hooks does not mess around. She is blunt about the role of white supremacy in our current education system. Read with an open mind. Definitely focuses more on higher education, but many of the themes apply to elementary and secondary as well.
Meg E. Evans
Apr 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Demands an openness and humanity to teaching that tends to get lost in the modern teaching praxis. hooks envisages us to teach from love, push in systems, and exercise transparency in both our teaching and learning.
Good examples for and from both k-12 and Higher Ed.
A few times the texts take some wild paths to get to the point, but hooks always gets there - leading the reader undoubtedly to yet another a-ha moment.
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bell hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins) was an African-American author, feminist, and social activist. Her writing focused on the interconnectivity of race, class, and gender and their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and domination. She published over thirty books and numerous scholarly and mainstream articles, appeared in several documentary films and participated in various ...more

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“To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.” 112 likes
“Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, revelling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.” 103 likes
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