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Lesson Plans

Re: censorship

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mon, 13 Oct 1997 22:26:59 +0300

The policy I set on these type of symbols is that images that are
included in art must be "original."0 That means that if it has been seen
before, they cannot draw it exactly as it is depicted by others. If
they want to draw a symbol, it must be changed to something
completely original. If a student begins drawing a symbol that can be
identified as some kind of personal issue like that, I simply ask the
question, "Is this a recognizable image with a defined meaning?" If
so, then I ask them to change it into something that is original.
So far, this has worked for me. Of course, there are times when I
intentionally ask students to draw symbols but I differentiate
between them by whether or not they are personal or cultural, if it
is problematic.

I have the added issue of a different kind of censorship related to
relgions. There are certain fundamental Christians who find problems
with the content and imagery or music I am playing. This year, I had
Muslim children in my classes who are not supposed to show their
emotions in any way except an even keel or if their parents are
fundamentalist, cannot depict the human body in their art. I had the
recent experience of a fourth grade girl who cut off her arms and
legs of a life sized body that I had kids do of themselves, so the
image didn't look like herself. Women in this culture don't shake
hands with men. Trying to be sensitive to everyone's issues can
get really hairy.

What the school does here is set policy that can be enforced
by standard practices. Exceptions can be made on a case by case basis
depending on the situation. It doesn't mean that I won't offer my
hand to a Muslim parent the next time, but I will understand why it's
not taken.

Teresa Tipton

" Some questions that have come up are students who want to use
witchcraft symbols and say it is a religion. I hope many people will think
about this issue and respond.

On Wed, 22 Oct 1997 Lishughes wrote:

> I am reviewing censorship issues in art education. I am a graduate student
> at the University of Arizona and a middle school art teacher. I would
> appreciate any responses related to censorship issues in your school at any
> level. Do you have a policy or "rules" for visual images that may or may not
> be expressed in your class? How do you know the latest "gang" related
> symbols and if students are expressing these to get a response from you or
> your peers? How do you know satenism is behind their visual thinking, if
> they tell you it is only a dirt bike symbol? I want to establish art making
> "rules" is my classroom from research in this area. Any information,
> opinions or situations concerning this issue would really be helpful to me as
> a teacher and a researcher. I believe that my students should be able to
> express with freedom and interest. I'm just not sure with how much in a
> public school environment.
> Many thanks to every response.......................Lisa email-
> Lishughes