Gloria always wanted to be a writer, but in the Apartheid South black girls only had three choices to either get married, become a maid or a teacher. She went to a segregated school called Booker T. Washington. Many black students were considered gifted and were given special treatment. Teachers were on a mission. They wanted every child to get the best education needed to make something of themselves so that they could be proud of their accomplishments. Most of the teachers had taught their parents and siblings since they all went to the same school. Everyone knew each other. Going to school there was a pleasure. Gloria loved to learn and express her feelings in class. It was a joy to attend.
After a while, racial integration occurred. Everything changed. Black students felt they weren’t as capable as white peers. “For black children, education was no longer about the practice of freedom.” (3) Gloria lost her love of school.
Education as the practice of freedom is having a teacher in a classroom that allows each individual to learn equally as much. The sense of equality allows people viewed as minorities or subordinate. To be viewed in a higher light. It should be a place for promise and possibility. A classroom should not feel like a prison or a place of punishment.
In our classrooms today we usually have wonderful open minded teachers. They support us in every way possible by having us speak as a group and having a conversation debate that establishes a sense of community and understanding.We have come a long way since the time of segregation.
I definitely agree with Hook’s vision of education mainly because she uses the term to include “critical and / or feminist perspectives that through the years included recognition of differences-those determined by class, race, sexual practice, nationality, and so on.”(9) Teaching students is a privilege and honor. As teachers, we should teach to the “Whole Child”an educator’s biggest goal is to get the children from where they are, to where they need to be. Students should not only learn the content of a lesson, but should be able to relate to those lessons within everyday life.In order for students to draw conclusions, it is crucial for them to be able to relate to the educational content.
How does a sense of community contribute to someone’s educational experience? How does being included in class discussions, for instance, help someone learn about a topic?
Besides classroom discussions, what are other methods that teachers could use to make the learning environment comfortable enough so that people feel they can speak their minds freely without judgements?
Bell Hooks. Teaching to Transgress. New York: Routledge, 1994