I live in Finland and have seven children of my own and have had lots of
children during my years as a teacher. I think you should not be scared if
a child uses violant feelings and strong words as a way to express himself.
I have found that children have some periods in life when they are solving
bad things, violance and even death. I think one such period in there about
5-years of age and another strong period is located in the beginning of
tee-ages. I think it is not good to press those emotions down with the
authority that an adult has. It is better to discuss them, how one feels
about them and what kind of experiences may cause them. And how we can
manage with them and solve them. I have not found that this kind of
approval would have caused more harmful expression, but just the other way.
This is the way to expolore them and so put them out.
---- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen Wood" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "ArtsEdNet Talk" <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2002 11:50 PM
Subject: Bad language in art- Help needed
> It was a simple project. The fair had come to town and had taken over most
> of the streets. This event takes place once a year. For those who were not
> inspired enough by this I suggested designing a ride so scary that nobody
> would want to go on it. We had real ghosts on ghost trains, bungee jumps
> with knives under them dinasour rides etc. This work was mainly coming
> 4 or 5 eight year olds. How could I have expected to raise any eyebrows
> with this project? Read on...
> One child had decided to draw a funfair disaster, the ferris wheel had
> accidently come undone and was rolling down a hill. A person on the ride
> yelling from a speach bubble to the ride opperator "You fu*cking B*stard".
> These children go to a very respectable school, in a very respectable
> Their parents are doctors, therapists, business people ect. Never have I
> come accross a desire for any child to use language like this in their
> I was suprised to say the least. I spoke to the child about this language
> and suggested that he might like to erase it and write something less
> controversial, but he was adamant that the words should stay and he was
> taking the piece home to show his mum. I could have been more forceful,
> that's not who I am.
> Now I'm obviously expecting some sort of backlash. But I felt it wasn't my
> place to intefere with this childs work. It transpired that a friend
> suggested the words which HE uses to stop his parents from arguing.
> My arguemnent is, that art is a means of communication and if this child
> felt so strongly about leaving the words on the page, there maybe
> else he is trying to tell us. To simply rub them out and replace them
> be denying him his right to express himself. I do not advocate swearing in
> our art clubs, I have never experienced it nor do I expect it and verbally
> NEVER allow it.
> I'm struggling to justify my reasons. Someone help me out here. I feel I
> could have handled it better, tried to find other words to do the same
> found out what was going on. I was so taken by suprise I handled it badly.
> What would you have done? It happened at an after school art club. We are
> not teachers at the school. Shall I phone the headmistress tommorow? And