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Transcript of 6:210 Instruction
I selected this policy after seeing the library shelves at the Red River Area Learning Center. Instead of a full library, the students have some shelves filled with books in the main hallway. I was interested in the lack of a library, and then wondered if the same books allowed at a traditional public high school would be allowed at the ALC, or vice versa. Since student populations would be different, would the content students could check out or be exposed to be different? From this question, I wondered about how any books get chosen to be in libraries, or used in classrooms as curriculum supplements. As a future secondary English teacher, I want to bring in many outside texts, and encourage students to choose their own reading material. However, I will need to be aware and abide by my school’s selection policy in regards to many factors, such as, perceived appropriateness of material, quality of material, and application to curriculum study. I will need to justify every new book I bring into my classroom, and therefore understanding my school’s policy will be critical to expanding my materials in class.
Statistics of ethnicity of principals and teachers in public schools. Meanwhile...
Many students who are not socially accepted, are also not reflected in school curriculum
Most books still have white protagonists, leaving ethnic minority students out of curriculum, even though they make up a large part of our classroom populations. 20% of the top ten best sellers in YA fiction contained least one non-white protagonist.
White and Korean-American
Teachers must balance first amendment rights with student and community needs. The first amendment must be upheld in schools, but with more complicated considerations than in the general public. Free speech is a critical part of American democracy, but children, especially elementary age should for their own protection not have unlimited access to the world of information. Determining what is viable, necessary and challenging information, and what is inappropriate and damaging can be difficult for teachers and parents alike (15).
National Legal Perspective
Local School Perspective
Graphic Novel Club!
Graphic Novels, comic books, anime. All are nonintimidating resources for kids to start reading, and they circulate quickly, especially among boys. However, many teachers, principals, and librarians do not see them as legitimate reading sources, and they are left off library bookshelves.
Assmumption 1: Administration and teachers should choose curriculum.
Adminstration is 80% white (17, 18), while student populations are far more diverse. Those in charge select books, and are from differenet worlds than their students. Students must "see themselves in the curriculum" (2), and in order to engage kids and teach for social justice, they must have materials reflective of themselves. Literature and media representative of the present community connects students to the real world and encourages them to be involved (8). Michie experienced great success in incorporating The House on Mango Street in classess (14). This book is frequently banned, but connects with kids on a platform they are familiar with. Teachers need to include materials to engage all students. Students see themselves in protagonists like themselves: ethnically, culturally, and in terms of sexual orientation. Inclusion in literature leads to inclusion in life.
What is inappropriate for some students, is despeately needed by others. Particularly information about sex, sexuality, death, and drug or alcohol abuse (11).
Homosexuality is a contoversial issue, causing offense to some, but avoiding the controversy can be inhibiting to questioning teen. Storms and Heller write,"Because older teens returning to visit the school tell us that one of the difficulties they found in coming out during high school or later was the memory of how taboo the topic of homosexuality seemed to the adults in schools. We want to break that taboo by talking about the topic and also by talking about good books that feature lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning LGBTQ characters" (11).
Also, other books considered racist, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, can be critical in promoting racial harmony and healing. Banning it for racist language, denies its power to heal, and no one benefits due to an oversimplification of racism and its causes. (1)
Teachers must prove themselves
Form to remove child from class
The assumption is made that teachers cannot be trusted to select materials for their own classes. Each teacher, to bring in any new material, must prove it is age appropraite, matches the selection policy's values, and is valuable information to add to the
class. The burden is expected to fall on the teacher. Parents, are expected to have final say, which, as the guardian of a minor, makes sense. Parents want to have influence on the material taught to their children (1).
The struggle between teacher's right to teach, and parents right to control, is a dichotomy in the purpose of school. If the purpose is to create a common bank of knowledge, then the teacher should be the main controller of information, and but if parents and students are looking to design and drive their own education, then they should be the controllers (13). The issue does not have to be only two-sided, but the way the assumption currently operates makes it so. With teachers, students, and parents working together, then it is no longer school vs parents, but all one team working together with the student (9).
Libraries and Teachers Should Provide "Quality" Literature
A school’s selection policy reflects their philosophy in whether they value classic, prerennial education, or student centered, progressive education more(13). It questions what quality reading is, and what sorts of materials belong in schools. Graphic novels and popular YA fiction books have a place in an academic sphere(4, 5, 12 ). Graphic novels benefit ELL and learning disabled students by providing full visual immersion in the story, which is far more engaging than a traditional text (4). Schools should include student desired books, in order to promote reading among young people, instead of just promoting classic information, which are rarely checked out and read (12).