When education …

When education is the practice of freedom, students are not the only ones who are asked to share, to confess … Professors who expect students to share confessional narratives but who are themselves unwilling to share are exercising power in a manner that could be coercive. In my classrooms, I do not expect students to take any risks that I would not take, to share in any way I would not share. When professors bring narratives of their experiences into classroom discussions it eliminates the possibility that we can function as all-knowing, silent interrogators.

bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as a Practice of Freedom, p21


I know I don’t actually blog much about teaching here, but this is an idea that has stayed with me since my first or second year as an education student, and I think it’s powerful not just for tertiary education but for all learning relationships.

6 thoughts on “When education …

  1. Indeed… Ironic that the year I start writing again, I’m out of the english classroom and almost a pure history teacher. Currently enjoying Between Giants by the way.

    • I know what you mean, Simon – the English class (and most teaching it seems) uses so much of the creative energy and headspace, it’s so hard sometimes to keep both tanks full (teaching & writing tanks)

      Fantastic, wonderful to hear! 🙂

  2. Great quote. My favourite teachers always shared some of themselves in their classes—their personal experiences, their preferences in fiction or television, their memories from childhood. Since they trusted us with pieces of themselves, we were far more likely to trust—and like—them. The worst teachers were always the ones who made us feel as though it were all just a business.

    • Mine too! I remember the few who were completely closed off – it was difficult to relate too them. We as students knew nothing about our teacher really. The relationship building was stunted to say the least.

    • My pleasure, Dhyan – I remember when I first came across the quote – it really exploded some doors open, and I looked back on high school and other schooling and it clicked – when maybe it should have been obvious to me! 🙂

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