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Old 01-15-2017   #1
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Exposing Students to Controversial Writings

Controversial short story gets Sarasota substitute teacher banned - News - Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Sarasota, FL

Thoughts?

I agree with her ideas about literature, but also feel that she was pretty irresponsible for deviating from the lesson plan.

I suppose this thread could be about controversial writings in a school setting in general.

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Old 01-15-2017   #2
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Re: Exposing Students to Controversial Writings

Quote Originally Posted by Nirvana In Karma View Post
Controversial short story gets Sarasota substitute teacher banned - News - Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Sarasota, FL

Thoughts?

I agree with her ideas about literature, but also feel that she was pretty irresponsible for deviating from the lesson plan.

I suppose this thread could be about controversial writings in a school setting in general.
I thought it was clearly irresponsible. As someone who has substituted in the past for a private Christian academy, you never, never replace the teacher's lesson plans with your own. I would love to introduce bright students to writers such as Lovecraft and Ligotti, but I wouldn't be able to do so in good conscience. If I were teaching full-time at the moment, then I might deal with students individually; I could then introduce controversial subject matter to specific students whose minds are more developed.

There were times when I could mention something regarding Machen or Hawthorne (for instance), but that was after the students finished their assignments.

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Old 01-15-2017   #3
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Re: Exposing Students to Controversial Writings

The punishment was overly harsh in my opinion and a warning would have sufficed. With that said, it seems she has a politicized idea of what constitutes "real" literature and was wrong to disregard the lesson plan in favor of it.

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Old 01-15-2017   #4
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Re: Exposing Students to Controversial Writings

What others said: I fully sympathise with her sentiments, but putting one's personal politics above education is unwelcome and irresponsible.
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Old 01-15-2017   #5
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Re: Exposing Students to Controversial Writings

Proposal on sexually explicit content in Va. classrooms rekindles censorship debate | Education | dailyprogress.com

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Old 01-19-2017   #6
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Re: Exposing Students to Controversial Writings

I thought the ban was excessive, and it seemed to be about sending a message to teachers who step out of line.

I read the story "Alma" itself, and this is no Beloved. If you do a literary analysis (which is what the students are supposed to do), the story has no theme, the use of foreign words is interesting but you can find that from The House on Mango Street. This book has little literary value, and I don't know how the substitute can dig anything other than controversy out of it.

For the proposal, in theory I disagree with it, but in practice it doesn't matter because most students don't read. The students who do read will find out these books on their own.

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Old 01-19-2017   #7
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Re: Exposing Students to Controversial Writings

Quote Originally Posted by ToALonelyPeace View Post
I thought the ban was excessive, and it seemed to be about sending a message to teachers who step out of line.

I read the story "Alma" itself, and this is no Beloved. If you do a literary analysis (which is what the students are supposed to do), the story has no theme, the use of foreign words is interesting but you can find that from The House on Mango Street. This book has little literary value, and I don't know how the substitute can dig anything other than controversy out of it.

For the proposal, in theory I disagree with it, but in practice it doesn't matter because most students don't read. The students who do read will find out these books on their own.
Thanks for the link. I've just read the story, too. I have to say, I think it's really bad. I mean, it flows easily enough, but it has less substance than one of Rivington's pink wafers. If she'd wanted to provide her students with a whimsical literary dirty joke, she might have done better to have used Ihara Saikaku's 'The Umbrella Oracle'... On second thoughts, perhaps that wouldn't have been such a great idea, but it's still a better story.

Diaz has won the Pulitzer, hasn't he? Please tell me 'Alma' is not representative.

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Old 01-19-2017   #8
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Re: Exposing Students to Controversial Writings

The collection "Alma" belongs to is This Is How You Lose Her, which wiki describes as "The majority of the stories in the collection deal with men's infidelity in romantic relationships." and how "[By the end of the book,] he finally begins to see the women in his life as fully human...Something that for the average guy is very difficult to obtain, considering that most of us are socialized to never imagine women as fully human."

Looking at the awards this book won, I am at a loss for words.

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Old 01-20-2017   #9
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Re: Exposing Students to Controversial Writings

Well, this is much better than the space spaces and trigger warnings bull#### that is going on as we speak.

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Old 01-20-2017   #10
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Re: Exposing Students to Controversial Writings

I'm all for exposing the youth to obscene, pornographic, and offensive writing, but this piece seems particularly bad. Very glib and slangy, the sort of trash you'd expect the NYT to publish.
I don't think it was prudent of the substitute to teach the story; she was obviously just trying to be provocative.
If you're going to teach children obscene writing, at least teach them good obscene writing. Georges Bataille's "A Story of the Eye," for instance. I'm sure an optimistic tale of two teenagers falling in love would be much appreciated.
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