Thursday, November 08, 2007

An objectionable question

After the last post I have some questions rolling about my head.

If a book that truly was objectionable is published would it be best to ban it (no doubt increasing focus on it and therefore sales) or leave it be and hope it evaporates into obscurity?

If a child you knew (son, daughter, niece, nephew, younger sibling and all the rest) wanted to read a book you had doubts about do you let them just read it - not wanting to impact their liberties - or ban them entirely - seeking to preserve their innocence? Or would it be better (though a whole lot more work) to read the text first or along with the child and then discuss the objectionable parts and give then some perspective?

Being that I have been married a little over a year and children are a possible future for me, this is becoming startlingly relevant. Anyway, nothing particularly new in these queries, they have been a vexed issue for long before I was ever pondering them.


madbomber said...

gday mate,

I have been doing some research at Uni on a very similar topic. I feel strongly that students should not be banned from any text. This is of course assuming they are able to read it, and can make sense of the subject.

Adults should not interfere in the reading habits of students, and as much as possible should ensure that they do not censor.

I am not advocating that junior primary students be given texts that cover themes of rape of murder, but there are realistic issues that they need experience dealing with. It is too easy for adults to pretend they are protecting their children by taking away access to everything they deem as 'objectionable'.

This kind of naive approach to the learning of children will not actually protect them, especially if they are confronted with the same problem that was hidden from them. This could include drugs, pre-marital sex, bullying, sickness, or divorce.

I want to make it clear that I do not believe fantasy stories are 'objectionable'.

It is imperative that any difficult subjects be discussed, at home or at school in a safe environment.

Of course this poses many problems as undoubtedly you will face certain parents that have read somewhere or heard somewhere that such-and-such book is 'objectionable' or they will feel personally their own children should not be exposed to the themes. And in this case, there is not much you can do as a teacher.

I could go on but I will leave it there. For now at least.


Anonymous said...

I think communication is the key to raising children in an increasingly complicated world. I don't think any books should be banned, and I aim as a parent to keep an open discussion with my daughter about ALL things in life, even the terrible and ugly things.