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Lesson Plans

Re: Censoring Children's Images

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Wendy Manning (wmanning)
Sun, 25 Apr 1999 11:50:13 -0300

menichino wrote:

> Thank you Joy and all --
> I have been so grateful for all the thoughts on this list about violence,
> censorship, and our general reactions to Littleton. I have been one of the
> teachers who tells my K-5 kids that "artists create, they do not destroy"
> when asking them to leave out gross or violent stuff. I definitely agree
> that I have been asking them to mask their feelings -- in the wake of the
> recent tragedy, I feel like I should be doing more to help kids to open up
> and express their feelings. I just feel so uncomfortable with the prospect
> of a tableful little boys all drawing violent and gross stuff, feeding off
> each other and trying to draw something even grosser or bloodier. Is my
> imagination running away with me or might this happen? And even if I
> discuss the images with the children, will the fact that I allow pictures
> like that seem like tacit approval or encouragement? I'm just not sure if
> a child younger than 9 or 10 years old can really understand why the
> concept is important to understand.... I would appreciate seeing more
> discussion on this topic.
> Liz in rural NY
> - Yes, I think it does happen. We are doing a unit on sea creatures in grade
> six. Many of the boys wanted to depict the fish ripping each other apart,
> blood and guts everywhere. My response to that was, "There's enough violence
> around without bringing it in here. Can't we have a place that's free from
> violence?" They agreed. They were allowed to depict the food chain sort of
> thing as long as it wasn't too gory. Since the fish could be imaginery, the
> would-be blood-and-guts guys got into making humorous depictions such as
> truckfisf, Elvisfish, etc. In fact they got quite excited , were chortling
> away and calling each other to come see what they were making.

There was a peaceful, happy atmosphere in the room and all the kids were
pleased and happy with their creations.
Is there not some value in creating something peaceful and feeling
satisfaction in it?
There is so much focus on violence in our society and media, can there not be
some benefit from having a respite from it?
The media (and popular response to it) teaches that violence is cool, and
boys especially are almost automatic in choosing to depict it. But I know that
I would feel very differently when drawing a violent picture as opposed to a
peaceful (or at least non-violent) one.
My students work can be weird or even scary if it fits the parameters of the
assignment, but I have to draw the line at gratuitous (sp?) violence.
From an aging Flower Child .