Monday, September 21, 2009

We have to stop saying no to kids...and teachers, too.

A recent article out of New Hampshire highlights a teacher who provided a writing prompt that led to disciplinary action. Briefly, the teacher asked students to write on the question, "If you knocked your brother down, would you urinate in his mouth?"

Clearly a provocative prompt. The setting...a class of about twelve seniors in a high school.

A quick review of some of the blogosphere comments on this article revealed an interesting assortment of prejudices regarding education and teachers. Some though the teacher should be walked out out of the school.

What is interesting to me is the ongoing belief that we have that ideas, statements or texts (media or otherwise) have the capacity to endanger our children. Notwithstanding the fact that a seminar size group of high school seniors can hardly be perceived as impressionable children, what is the likelihood that anything a teacher does within a single classroom is going to shift the values and beliefs of an adolescent when compared with the weight of 14-17 years of programming that precedes that moment in the classroom?

I say, perturb the system! Get the student's attention!

Otherwise we are just turning out a bunch of mashed potatoes. Processed flakes for that matter.

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