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free speech and teachers


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Apr 28 2003 - 15:08:54 PDT

Jane raises some interesting considerations.

I often feel I am in battle of weighing and measuring and mostly biting my
tongue as to what I say in class.

My problem is that my model for teaching is years years old. It comes from a
time when the inquiry was encouraged and things were not so white
-washed for fear of retributles and god forbid-law suits. I had
wonderful high school teachers that encouraged a different path, teachers
that asked me to question and maybe even dissent.

Today I see only the fear of what may "happen" from what we may encourage.
Critical thinking has been reduced to given standards. Just what if a kid
thinks all of this is BS? Do we encourage that path? from what I see
on this list , the encouragement is to the conforming.

Jane comments
> once you are a teacher, that is your first
> responsibility.

What does teaching mean? Is not teaching offering the means to question
what has been and maybe find another path?
If we don't allow for the controversery we will be absolute failures as path
makers. Kids see the hypocrisy. I'm amazed at what my kids see about this
whole recent situation in Iraq. They don't believe anything. They are not
so led as we may think.

It is crucial that we lead in the investigation of deciphering the
manipulations the media presents. If we have any regard for the role the
arts play, we must teach our students to think and analyze and interpret
media messages, regardless of community standards. We can do that without
imposing our own beliefs.