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TOPIC: Too Violent

Too Violent 22 Jan 2012 18:16 #113757

My boy just came home to tell me that his teacher told him he could no longer do reading reports on his Warhammer 40K codex, which is one of things we've been able to get him to read. Too violent.

This is a nationally accredited teacher that has won a couple of awards and is well respected. She's THE teacher to get in the school. But -- she has no children and doesn't connect well with boys. This shortcoming was not apparent when my daughter had her but now that she has my high-spirited boy (one of two) it's become apparent that this is a weak spot in her skill-set. I don't think I'm in a position to make a change (especially with the school district scared shitless of anything resembling conflict) so I'm going to focus on having the boy work inside the system.

Option 2 is to have Loter stop in for a faculty meeting.

S.
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Re: Too Violent 22 Jan 2012 18:31 #113759

That's too bad. Kindle Girl (a girl geek friend of The Spawn's who spends a lot of time at my house) had her paren's called in because the English teacher was concerned at the level of violence in her creative writing assignments. She likes to write D&D fanfic. Fortunately, there is a teacher in the school that runs D&D club and writes stuff himself who was able to speak up for her and tell the English teacher that Kindle Girl's writing was actually rather good.
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Re: Too Violent 22 Jan 2012 19:17 #113765

The world sure has changed. I was recently going through a bunch of old crap my parents dumped off on me to store, including a bunch of my old creative writing assignments. In grade 4, I was writing Friday the 13th fanfic, with Jason getting decapitated in the end by the heroine, The Cute Chick. My teacher's comment for the story? "I'm glad the cute chick was ok."
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Re: Too Violent 22 Jan 2012 19:40 #113770

I think the teacher has an obligation to contact the parent about something like this...rather than just discourage the kid. If the parent is OK with it or can explain to the teacher why it is fine then she should be cool with it.

Discouraging a child from reading anything these days is pretty stupid. Most would rather just sit in front of TV or play a videogame. If the boy likes to read about space marines lopping off Ork heads then so be it. I don't see the harm in it (especially since the parents are totally fine with it). Try to speak with the teacher and maybe some sort of agreement can be reached. If she really is this award winning teacher I think that is least she could do.
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Re: Too Violent 22 Jan 2012 19:51 #113772

Welcome to the wonderful world of the modern school system. Check your boys at the door, please.

More broadly, considering the books that are offered to kids these days, it's not a surprise you have trouble getting your son to read. The publishing industry and those who support it really don't think much of boys.

I wonder what that "award-winning" teacher's views on censorship of other books like Huckleberry Finn are.
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Re: Too Violent 22 Jan 2012 19:51 #113773

I totally used to write D&D fanfic for my creative writing assignments in elementary school. And always illustrated them with crudely done copies of the already crudely done original monster manual artwork.

Sounds like the teacher just needs to be talked to about what's going on and why it's important for him to be able to continue doing it. I totally get where she's coming from, but at the end of the day, getting kids to do academic stuff with just about anything is better than teaching them to hate academics. Some of my best learning came from reading D&D books, doing math for Final Fantasy and writing about RPG characters.
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Re: Too Violent 22 Jan 2012 21:03 #113787

Is there anyway to continue with the book reports but moderate the violence. That teaches several lessons to your boy -- I would imagine the teacher would be amenable to something like that.
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Re: Too Violent 23 Jan 2012 00:52 #113821

The teacher did send us a heads-up through our boy. I don't have an issue with how it was handled as much as the concept involved. Last year his teacher had a better instinct for it and was letting him write from the books. Most of his exposition is about the game aspects not the story arc (which I'll admit isn't my favorite flavor) and that's likely where we'll direct his efforts. With a bit of care he can likely write on very similar books and, if he focuses on the die rolls instead of the weapon names he'll likely be alright.

The teachable lesson to my boy is this -- He needs to work in the environment being presented to him, and part of his success is going to be based on his ability to work within the rule set in play.

S.
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Re: Too Violent 23 Jan 2012 01:13 #113823

Bullwinkle wrote:
Welcome to the wonderful world of the modern school system. Check your boys at the door, please.

More broadly, considering the books that are offered to kids these days, it's not a surprise you have trouble getting your son to read. The publishing industry and those who support it really don't think much of boys.

I wonder what that "award-winning" teacher's views on censorship of other books like Huckleberry Finn are.

No kidding. These are the moments where I find myself overwhelmingly grateful for a daughter...

And then I see the neighborhood pre-teens dressed like they're on the corner stroll and, worse, make the mistake of listening to them talk amongst themselves and find myself wondering when, exactly, science managed to evolve to the point where they could give a nest of pit vipers human form....

Good luck with this one Sag. I'd have a hard time going with "work within the ruleset presented" as it's never been my particular strong suit. I generally go for "bend the environment to my will" approach. It ain't ever easier, but it's damndably more satisfying.
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Re: Too Violent 23 Jan 2012 01:30 #113824

Here's the tricky part Dog -- what question do I ask the teacher to get her to reconsider her outlook on the situation? It's tough to get someone on the top of their game to review the validity of their approach.

S.
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Re: Too Violent 23 Jan 2012 02:21 #113827

Sagrilarus wrote:
Here's the tricky part Dog -- what question do I ask the teacher to get her to reconsider her outlook on the situation? It's tough to get someone on the top of their game to review the validity of their approach.

S.

Was thinking about that because everything that comes to my mind is going to come across as a challenge. The first one that comes to my mind is to outline the violence in any number of "acceptable" books--Harry Potter, anyone? The next one is a simple question of exactly what baseline is she trying to set? No military fiction of any sort because, what, "war is bad, mmmmmkay?" THAT makes me a little berserk. No Patrick O'Brian (Master & Commander--rum, sodomy and the lash, and all that)? Horatio Alger (Go West--and kill some redskins--Young Man!)?

I guess the question I'd actually ask is, what IS her approach? I'm not sure I see one here other than a fiat about "acceptability". If it's that any violence makes her uncomfortable, then I'd point at the evening news and ask what she thinks all those combat troops are doing in Afghanistan. If it's a matter of her deciding what's best for my kid, that's more than 1 step too far on the in loco parentis scale. (If you could get him to read the new book about Seal Team Six or Blackhawk Down and report on that, 40k is going to look like Sesame Street. That's the approach I used to take in middle- and highschool. Tell me X fiction is too much for you, how'd you like this actual reality stuff...but I was always the nebbish sort, so it kind of came easily to me)

And, as you can guess, at that point, I'm one short, curly hair away from getting banned from the school campus. My daughter isn't yet a year old and my wife has already decreed that I'm not going to be allowed to attend any parent-teacher conferences....

Regarding your boy, does he read any of the 40k fluff? I don't recall his age, but if he's over the age of 10 or so, he should be able to read just about any of the 40k novels and report on those. The short story collections would probably be better but they tend to be kind of, erm...hrm..., decontextualized, I guess. I.e., you need to have some 40k world background in your head to understand the story they're telling.

A good place to start is either the Gaunt's Ghosts series or the Ciaphas Cain novels. In the case of Gaunt, it's good military sci-fi written by someone (Dan Abnett) who can string more than 6 sentences together before falling back on the near-bottomless well of cliche available to Black Library writers. The Cain series, on the other hand, is a bloody riot--it's 40k humor with action thrown in. More importantly, it's basically a 40k re-theming of the Flashman novels.
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Re: Too Violent 23 Jan 2012 02:33 #113829

Sagrilarus wrote:
Here's the tricky part Dog -- what question do I ask the teacher to get her to reconsider her outlook on the situation? It's tough to get someone on the top of their game to review the validity of their approach.

S.

You do it tactfully. :)

You also have to consider that you may have only gotten half the story from your kid. She may just be trying to push him to read a greater variety of types of books.
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Re: Too Violent 23 Jan 2012 03:56 #113832

Sagrilarus wrote:

The teachable lesson to my boy is this -- He needs to work in the environment being presented to him, and part of his success is going to be based on his ability to work within the rule set in play.

I totally agree with this approach. Writing to get passed the censors is a long and very distinghished tradition that has produced some of the greatests works one can read, so it might as well be part of school too.
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Re: Too Violent 23 Jan 2012 04:38 #113835

Dogmatix wrote:
Regarding your boy, does he read any of the 40k fluff?

The irony is that he has no interest in any of that. He's about the stats, the game part. Range, armor, damage. It's closer to Gin Rummy than violence from his perspective. He's just not a fiction kind of guy.

S.
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Re: Too Violent 23 Jan 2012 05:04 #113838

Sagrilarus wrote:
Dogmatix wrote:
Regarding your boy, does he read any of the 40k fluff?

The irony is that he has no interest in any of that. He's about the stats, the game part. Range, armor, damage. It's closer to Gin Rummy than violence from his perspective. He's just not a fiction kind of guy.

S.

Ah, I gotcha--"Strat-o-Matic Bolters & Chainswords."

Get him a copy of Bloodbowl. It's all the same stuff with a healthy dose of sports and campy violence, which I would think could pass muster...
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