Teaching facts or teaching thinking? The potential of hooks' 'engaged pedagogy' for teaching politics in a 'post-truth' moment

Greenwood-Hau, Joe (2021) Teaching facts or teaching thinking? The potential of hooks' 'engaged pedagogy' for teaching politics in a 'post-truth' moment. Teaching in Higher Education. ISSN 1356-2517

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    Abstract

    The rise of populism has sparked a debate about the role of facts in public discourse. How should higher education teachers respond? This article reviews the literature on approaches to teaching and identifies and problematises a tension between emphases on facts and thinking. It then outlines the current 'post-truth' challenge, which suggests reasserting the importance of facts. The institutional, disciplinary and personal context of the article are considered before it proposes hooks' (1994) 'engaged pedagogy' as a prescient response to the current post-truth moment. That approach provides an anti-authoritarianism that has the potential to break down barriers between teachers (experts) and students (trainee experts), accommodate different ways of knowing, and promote collective science. This is illustrated with an example of teaching practice from a first-year undergraduate seminar on politics in ethnically divided societies, which highlights how, despite its limitations, engaged pedagogy can facilitate incorporation of facts within thinking.