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Lesson Plans

Re: Art education censorhsip

From: Woody Duncan (wduncan)
Date: Sun Jul 30 2000 - 15:46:24 PDT

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    Jayne, On censorship:
            I teach art in a "middle school" with students that range in ages 11-15.
    All societies restrict the content that children this age are exposed
    to, as
    they should. In our "free" society the range of what is appropriate at these
    ages differs greatly depending upon whom you speak to.

    #1. Do you believe that art instructors should censor art material
            shown in the classroom?
    A- Of course I censor. Every time I make a decision about what to teach,
    and what to use to teach it with I am deciding to exclude something by the
    very fact that I made a decision. It is not a question of "should" I censor,
    because I do it every time I make a decision.

    #2 Should they state that certain ideas, themes and images are not
            acceptable in the classroom?

    A- "They" (Me the teacher), I teach young adolesences who are testing their
    allowed boundaries daily. Yes I set boundaries, limits, values and
    such. I prefer to say
    that I provide expectations (goals) that I want them to reach for. Also
    I quickly
    impose "my values" on my students. I don't allow disrespect of me or others.
    I tell them that I would like to think that I could teach them to love
    and respect
    each other, but I am not totally naive so I will settle for "a good
    acting job".
    For example I do not allow the word "nigger" in my classroom. That is censorship.

    #3 Should famous works of 'nude'
            people be presented at all, and if, when?

    A- At times I have had nude images in the classroom, but Michelangelo's
    ceiling of
    the Sistine chapel may not be what you mean. If we are going on a field
    trip where
    we might encounter nudes, I try to discuss the topic first to allay any concerns.
    But most of all to get the issue out in front and prevent snickers later.

    #4 What about images that show topics like violence, war, or other
            controversial topics?

    A- I do control the topics/subjects covered in my art class. Probably,
    much more
    than I should if I wish to promote individuality, and self expression.
    I try to ease
    up and give older students more freedom to make choices. I am an old
    "peace nik"
    and if we use images of "violence and war" it is to show the horror of
    it, as
    Kathe Kollwitz might have done.

    #5 Does your school district have a set policy on what is
            allowable, or do you as instructors decide?

    A- I don't know if they do, I'll check on it. On second thought,
    perhaps not,
    often it's better not to ask. I'll just use common sense, which I heard
    is dead now.

                            I hope this helps, Woody in KC

                    I'm from Kansas,  where evolution is outlawed
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