This book renewed my passion for teaching, especially in light of the rhetoric of adult education existing solely to create an efficient economic pipeline. It reminded me at a critical time that I am not the only one who believes education of oppressed people can–and should–be something more. Education needs to be more cultural adaptable to learn from students from working-class or low-income backgrounds. My passion was rekindled by the communion of finding that hooks had articulated many things I felt & experienced but could not name, especially about multicultural classrooms & engaging emotions in education, which proves her point about the power of theory. Chapter 3 in particular is critical reading for anyone teaching in a multicultural setting. Since I tend to work in multigenerational settings, the book offered some helpful guidance on how to make sure all voices are valued, not just a few. Through stories and dialogue, hooks explores how the intersection of theory, identity, teaching, and injustice is experienced in postsecondary classrooms. She offers a theoretical framework & practical skills that she has successfully used to create an engaging, inclusive classroom.
My one warning is that as a pioneer in stepping out from behind the podium, hooks’ approach feels incomplete. I think educators can do more beyond just transforming content or teaching methods. Instructors and instructional designers can develop learning processes that helps students take ACTION to apply their reflections & skills in their own context. In fact, I consider this approach a specialty of mine: service-learning! hooks confesses having struggled to help her college students feel prepared to integrate their new critical consciousness into the rest of their lives. Some students commented that they left her classes feeling like they could never be happy again because of their new perspectives. Perhaps in later books she further adapts or addresses this disconnect? However, this does not diminish the fact that in this book, hooks offers an important critical & historic perspective in an easy to read format. I highly recommend it.