Sunday, October 07, 2007

Ei ole helppoa - Amerikan mailla!

Dave LaMorten blogista ja podcastista Teaching for the future kuulee aina mielenkiintoisia asioita USA:laisesta koulumaailmasta. Nyt Dave raportoi opettajasta, joka sai potkut tuotuaan sarjakuvaa kouluun. En kyllä ymmärrä tuota kaksinaismoralismia mitä kasvatuslaitos pitää sisällään. No, onneksi pyssyjä saa vielä kouluissakin kanniskella - ja tämä oli ironiaa, mitä syvästi painotettakoon.

Teacher Resigns over Comic Book

from Teaching for the Future with Dave LaMorte by Dave LaMorte

Recently a high school teacher in Guilford, CT has resigned because of a controversy that has arisen over his decision to give a student a comic book as part of a class assignment. The teacher decided to resign because of complaints made by parents that the comic was offensive. So offensive in fact that according to a New Haven Register article the student's father described it as "borderline pornography". (Scarborough King 2007)

The comic that caused the controversy is a graphic novel by Dan Clowes called Eight Ball #22. Clowes is the creator of Ghost World and is know for dealing with very adult topics in his work. The parents of the student were offended by how Clowes address topics of sexuality, rape, and murder in his story. Clowes is well regarded in mainstream media and has even begun to do a comic for the New York Times. (MacDonald 2007)

I found this so interesting because I am putting together a lesson plan about zines and most of my exemplars are independent comic zines. As I'm reading this article I'm collecting comics to bring into my own class. For a moment I pause to think about whether I should change the focus of our next project.

This scenario in Connecticut my worst nightmare, getting fired for trying to make my class engaging. I am always a bit nervous about what I bring into the class. I like to use a lot of contemporary art work that deals with serious societal issues. My exemplars deal with issues of racism, sexism, identity, and the role of the artist in society and there are some many ways images and ideas can be interpreted and offend. But I get permission for anything that I'm unsure of and I deal with the images in the controlled* environment of the classroom. (*as controlled as it can be)

In my opinion this teacher made two big mistakes. One, he did not clear the book with anyone else. An administrator or a department head could have suggested he used something else or even been able to discuss the book or warn parents before there was any conflict. Secondly, he allowed the book to go home where the student would be left without someone to guide them through the material.

One could argue that the parents are behind the times, but I thing the teacher was being unrealistic about the reality of public schools.

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