Transformative Pedagogy: From Conformity to Critical Thinking in the College Classroom

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Languages Association (NeMLA)

51st Northeast Modern Language Association Convention

March 5-8, 2020

Boston, MA

In Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (1994), bell hooks warns readers about a serious crisis in education marked by the increasing reluctance of students to learn and, ultimately, of teachers to teach. In order to fight apathy in the college classroom and the ‘banking system’ into which higher education is often trapped, hooks urges teachers and students to embrace an engaged pedagogy that allows both to build community, respect difference, and foster critical consciousness, thereby transforming the classroom into a communal inquisitive space of learning where everyone has a responsibility towards one another’s growth.

More than two decades later, the crisis described by hooks still remains true today in many higher education institutions where students often refuse to read the material and the focus is put more on grades than the teaching/learning process. This situation demands practitioners seek ways to promote student-teacher engagement in the classroom and help students develop their critical thinking rather than reiterating information, especially in the current post-truth era. Considering the content and nature of the material under discussion, disciplines in the humanities provide an invaluable site for self-exploration and growth unlike no other that challenge traditional ways of being and knowledge through language, literature, film, art, etc.

This roundtable aims to open an interdisciplinary discussion across the humanities about critical pedagogies that promote new ways of teaching and learning and contribute to transform the classroom into a communal space that stimulates critical thinking rather than conformity to satisfy pre-set expectations. We invite proposals that explore ideas, strategies, projects, and practices that address the question of community, student-teacher engagement, diversity and difference, and critical thinking within and outside the classroom.

Please submit a 150-200 word abstract and short bio before September 30th to the NeMLA submission page:

For further questions or inquiries on this panel, please contact Ruth Z. Yuste-Alonso (chair) at