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 Banned/Challenged Books 
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As we discussed in class on Tuesday, many people that decide what books should be banned from classes aren't people who have spent any time in a classroom. We also said that a lot of people (parents mostly) that challenge books haven't even taken the time to read them and just go on what others have told them to challenge the book. My question is how do we approach teaching a banned or challenged book? How to we reason with parents to help them see the purpose behind our choosing that particular book, especially with parents who are dead set against a book?

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Sarah Elizabeth Horne


Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:44 am
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As people, and especially as educators teaching other people's children, we must make sure that we do not overstep our authority. If a teacher wants to teach using a banned book in the classroom and the parents are not in accord with the idea, then it is not within the teacher's authority to simply go ahead and use the book/material anyway or to even try and lobby the parents into allowing the material. I often hear people talk about teaching tolerance and acceptance of other people's beliefs or ways of life and I cannot see a better way to teach that than being a living example by accepting the parents' decision to not allow the book in the class and instead use different material to teach the lesson. I can even relate this to my own teaching field in music. If I have Jewish students whose parents do not want their children performing pieces of music by Wagner (for reasons I will let you research on your own), then I can honor those wishes of the parents and use pieces of music by Beethoven instead to teach about the romantic period.

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Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:42 am
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I am also puzzled with how to go about teaching a banned book in the classroom. If I felt that a banned/challenged book would be sufficient in a lesson, I would probably seek permission before using it in the classroom, particularly with younger students in grades K-2. I feel that the parents should know what their kids are learning, so if I felt it was necessary, I could send home a letter about the book and explaining how exactly it ties into the lesson. If some parents are against using the book, then I may choose not to use it in order to not cause problems in the classroom.

I also think that if certain controversial issues are raised, either by parents or students, then it would be an appropriate time to answer them or incorporate them into a lesson. I am not quite sure how to go about teaching a banned book, but I do think that the parents should know what is being read to their students if it is something that may trigger emotional disturbances among certain individuals.


Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:37 pm
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I personally don't see an issue with using some of the books that we discussed. Even if a book speaks of something that is not considered of good moral value, I think society could benefit from being exposed to certain materials. If we teach our children to be more accepting of others and to understand that just because some people are different does not mean that they are wrong could only help society. For example, with the book "Tango Makes Three," if children were to be exposed a little earlier than college for most, that there is a gay community and yes it is OK and we should not judge them if it makes them happy, there may be less misunderstanding and a little more openness from people to be accepting of them. It took me a few semesters in college to be accepting of people no matter how they are, and I know that I would have been quicker to accept people if I understood where they were coming from. This goes for all types of people. Being a Sacred Music Major as well, I have to know the different religions that I could have a job in. Now that I know more about, for example, Christian Science, I am more understanding of how they live. I still think that is is really weird and I would have a hard time practicing that denomination of Christianity, but I am accepting of those types of people because I understand more of how they live in aspects to their religion.

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Drew O'Keefe


Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:09 pm
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