Creating Engaging Units of Study For Your Students. Will You Be Ready
Sep 18, 2009 Lesson Planning 2292 Views
You will be faced with censorship - if not this week, this month, or this year - then sometime during your teaching career. Depending on what subject or grade level you teach, you may have to deal with an individual concern regarding something in your curriculum or you may have to address an entire semi- or formally-organized group that is opposed to a book, learning activity, or visual image you are using. It is far better to be prepared for these challenges than to be surprised and unprepared.
To begin to get yourself prepared, do the following:
- Consider whether the unit you have developed could have any aspect of it "censored" by anyone? Ask yourself if there is anything about it that is controversial? Really think about it - and consider people who think VERY differently from the way that you think as your ponder the possibilities. It is those folks who see the world completely differently than you do who can blindside the teacher who never imagined the controversy surrounding one of the documents or learning experiences being used in the classroom. If you are a beginning teacher or one who is new to teaching a particular unit of study, then ask others who are more experienced what they recommend you 'be on the look-out for.' Take their recommendations seriously. You want to be prepared.
- Next, determine how you will respond to those who take issue with your instructional choices. Use this opportunity to think through the ways you will support what you are doing and why and for what purpose, etc.
- Write out your response. Define censorship as it pertains to your unit or your subject area. Depending on what you teach, write about censorship involving textbooks, censorship of books in libraries, censorship of art, censorship as a broad, first amendment rights' issue, censorship of what you may or may not teach, or whatever applies in your situation. Determine what aspect of censorship is most likely to be pertinent to you, take a position, and support it. You do not need to have quotes or citations, but you may if you like - and if you KNOW that your choices are typically challenged, then it would be wise for you to be ready.
- The more carefully you can craft your explanation of what you teach - and why, the better off you will be when (not if) you are challenged. It is much easier to craft a pro-active response (long before you need it) than to craft a re-active response when the attack has begun and your are emotionally involved.
Know this... As a middle school or high school educator, you will be faced with censorship in one form or another. You may have direct involvement with censorship in your classroom or you may be indirectly involved through your school or your students. Be ready.