Too Violent
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TOPIC: Too Violent

23 Jan 2012 02:21 #113827

Re: Too Violent

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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23 Jan 2012 02:33 #113829

Re: Too Violent

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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23 Jan 2012 03:56 #113832

Re: Too Violent

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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23 Jan 2012 04:38 #113835

Re: Too Violent

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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Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
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23 Jan 2012 05:04 #113838

Re: Too Violent

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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23 Jan 2012 07:35 #113844

Re: Too Violent

I think its within the teacher's judgement in this case to ban more book reports on the same kind of books either for being too violent or maybe (unspoken) too narrow minded and repetitive. It is absolutely within her rights to do so in her classroom and to challenge her authority on this particular issue might be pretty insulting to her and a terrible lessen for the boy. (not that I dont think Sag doesnt see that).

Kids aren't adults and sometimes they have to accept there is a broader world out there that is not always flexible and that they are the ones to have to adapt. This is not about censorship. nobody is stopping him from reading or writing whatever he wants on his own time.

Shit, I hated having to do algebra in math... amazingly, still had to do it.
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23 Jan 2012 10:38 #113849

Re: Too Violent

I too was a child who painted his armies the three color tourny minimum.
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23 Jan 2012 12:30 #113851

Re: Too Violent

I would ask if other works, which are considered classics by every conceivable standard (and are required reading in many college classes) would be more acceptable:

Romeo and Juliet
War and Peace
The Odyssey
The Illiad
The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven
Les Miserables
Animal Farm
Fahrenheit 451
1984

Yeah, the teacher just doesn't have the balls to say "I don't understand the content or its importance to culture"
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23 Jan 2012 13:21 #113853

Re: Too Violent

It's really not important whether the teacher lacks 'balls' or not... It's her classroom. It's amazing how many people think teachers can and should be pressured, swayed, coerced into meeting parents' notions of what is 'proper' for their child. Now, I can't comment on the state of the US school system, this school or this particular teacher, but how about a little respect for the person as a professional. Any other job, people outside will think twice before they come in and start telling you how they think you should do your work! There needs to be a little mutual trust, some give and take, sure, but where do some parents get the balls!

That said, course everyone had more than one shitty teacher in their elementary and high school days - I knew it, my parents knew it... but you have to deal with it.

Once teachers as whole have to justify all kinds of decisions and there must be a million of them because parents 'don't like it' , it's a slippery slope.

Seems to me the boy is being asked not to submit the same kind of book reviews on the same kind of subject matter - maybe she should have avoided the violence thing altogether and she could have. But god knows teachers already have enough on their hands without having to justify themselves all the time and she probably honestly sees them as being violent withOUT deeper resonance and themes like all of the literature you mentioned above.

I say all this as someone who dislikes authority himself but recognises that kids have to learn how to cope in the classroom environment with both good and less capable instructors; as adults in the workplace they're gonna have to deal with all kinds of shit. They should stand up for themsleves when there is a real issue - I don't think this is one.
Last Edit: 23 Jan 2012 13:26 by scissors.
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23 Jan 2012 14:20 #113857

Re: Too Violent

This is third grade so let's leap to the conclusion Richard II isn't on the reading list.

I'm not questioning her professionalism or ability to teach. And I think if she had wanted him to read on other subjects she would have sent message home that he needs to read on other subjects. I think the issue is the nature of the subject matter. This isn't a crisis, but it means I need to find something else and likely Magic The Gathering and Skylanders aren't going to look a whole lot better.

My other son his age did a project on a fiction book where among other things the lead character made a play sword out of two pieces of wood glued together. So we included that in the 'treasure chest' that he turned in along with half a dozen other items. The 12" wood sword was removed from the project "for safety." It was made out of 1x1s so you couldn't even poke someone in the eye with it but I think the issue is that it represented a sword. If we had written "sword" on a potato I think they'd have pulled it.

I think the heart of this is a zero-tolerance policy that provides legal cover for the school district. If that is indeed the case the teacher may have limited options. The question that remains is to what degree she's internalized the policy vs trying to live within it. We had a terrible time getting the boy settled with this teacher in the fall and I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't getting more scrutiny because of it. Last year's teacher made this kind of thing work. She adjusted assignments and my boy thrived. This year that appears to be out of reach.

S.
For he to-day that throws his dice with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
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