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Thread: Teaching Children Animal Rights

  1. #1
    Purple Shoe's Umbriel's Avatar
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    Question Teaching Children Animal Rights

    I read a post earlier today about a teacher being asked to leave his job after having discussions with his students about being a vegan and animal rights.

    I am in the process now of applying for teachers college, primary level (Ages 8 to 12) and was thinking whether I would bring up the subject of animal rights (age appropriate) with my student's. I would like to hear from other teachers and educators and what approach they have taken.

    I do know SAFE in New Zealand has produced an animal eduction package for New Zealand schools http://www.safe.org.nz/Education/.

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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Hi, I am not a teacher but I work with children and am a mother and I totally agree with teaching children about animal rights, I don't actually think they need much teaching as children seem to be naturally compassionate towards animals and they click on pretty quickly about how they should be treated properly.
    It should just be a natural part of growing up to be aware of how we treat all living things, unfortunately this does not sem to be incorporated into the education system!

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    Fuhzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Umbriel, this is a very touchy subject for some people. I think it really depends on what class you are 'supposed' to be teaching the children. I believe the teacher you mentioned was an art teacher? If so, he really had no place to be teaching animal rights issues in the classroom. Of course, it's not that you can't mention it, but pushing a strong moral viewpoint on other peoples' children will easily anger them, so be careful!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Unfortunately, schools frequently censor critical thought in children.

    However, depending on the grade, you can open up a class so that students "teach themselves" about animal rights and human rights issues. Before any of this, you'd have to pass the curriculum by the principal of your school, and have some parameters for a safe discussion.
    context is everything

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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    I agree---some parents get very touchy.

    I am not a teacher, but run a small animal sanctuary. The local Brownie pack used to visit once a year, when i would introduce them to the animals, let them cuddle kittens or whatever was here, and tell their story of what had happened to need care.....and I always introduced them to Beau, the turkey in my avatar, and tell them his story.

    Beau fell off a lorry on the Forth Road Bridge on his way to be slaughtered, aged about 12 weeks. The workmen on the Bridge stopped the traffic to rescue him, but the vets didn't expect him to survive because he weighed 44lbs and his legs couldn't bear his weight. He did though and became a gentle ambassador for his kind, winning the hearts of all who met him. A lot of those Brownies went home and announced they were becoming vegetarian after meeting him-----------but then one year a mother complained because her daughter had burst into tears at the sight of the Christmas turkey and refused to eat it. The mother claimed I had ruined their Christmas. So the Brownies don't come here anymore.
    I do what I can and that's better than doing nothing

  6. #6
    Purple Shoe's Umbriel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Oh wow, thanks for the replies, I thought this thread would die without any replies. It is a very touchy subject, even talking about veganism makes people nervous.

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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Quote Zan View Post
    I agree---some parents get very touchy.

    I am not a teacher, but run a small animal sanctuary. The local Brownie pack used to visit once a year, when i would introduce them to the animals, let them cuddle kittens or whatever was here, and tell their story of what had happened to need care.....and I always introduced them to Beau, the turkey in my avatar, and tell them his story.

    Beau fell off a lorry on the Forth Road Bridge on his way to be slaughtered, aged about 12 weeks. The workmen on the Bridge stopped the traffic to rescue him, but the vets didn't expect him to survive because he weighed 44lbs and his legs couldn't bear his weight. He did though and became a gentle ambassador for his kind, winning the hearts of all who met him. A lot of those Brownies went home and announced they were becoming vegetarian after meeting him-----------but then one year a mother complained because her daughter had burst into tears at the sight of the Christmas turkey and refused to eat it. The mother claimed I had ruined their Christmas. So the Brownies don't come here anymore.
    Wow! I don't know what to think about that! Ya people are crazy when it comes to their kids, with good reason of course. Be careful!
    "i'm rejecting my reflection, cause i hate the way it judges me."

  8. #8
    Mahk
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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Please excuse my ignorance as to how it works in other countries, I can't speak for them, but living here in the US I can tell you that I am a strong defender of one of our founding principals: "the separation of church and state." What we call here a "public" school (as opposed to "private") is run by and funded by the government. [Is "public" and "private" used the same way everywhere? Sorry, I'm dumb ] Although veganism isn't technically a religion, it certainly is an ideology focusing on specific ethics and morals so in a legal sense it could be considered to be at least similar. It would be hypocritical to say that only my beliefs and ideologies should be taught in school, yet other people's shouldn't. In other words, no religion, belief system, ideology, dietary lifestyle or politics should be taught in public school.

    If we allow the ideology of veganism to be taught in a public school by one teacher what's next? Kosher laws? Halal? White supremacy? Black Power? Abortion views?

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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Quote xrodolfox View Post
    Unfortunately, schools frequently censor critical thought in children.
    quite true. Had it not been for my going to a further education college (rather than my conservative, all the same, dumbass schoolmates who stayed at the school sixth form), I would never have had my eyes opened to critical thinking. I would never have encountered alternative theories or ways of thinking. None of this happens in schools. God forbid having a socialist teacher, or having Film Studies on the agenda.

    I loved my college, simply for the variety and frankness in the teachers

    the management were fuckers though.

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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Quote Mahk View Post
    [Is "public" and "private" used the same way everywhere? Sorry, I'm dumb
    in the UK we use "public" for private, fee-paying schools, and "state" for free, universal education.

    It's confusing, I know.

  11. #11
    Mahk
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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Thanks for clearing that up.

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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Quote Mahk View Post
    It would be hypocritical to say that only my beliefs and ideologies should be taught in school, yet other people's shouldn't. In other words, no religion, belief system, ideology, dietary lifestyle or politics should be taught in public school.
    I agree with this completely...

    ...but I just want to note that CRITICAL THINKING is not indoctrination of ideologies, but it is in fact critiquing ideologies. I think that in some schools, the fright of a lawsuit from a teacher using critical pedagogy to address issues such as: racism, animal rights, dominant religion, facism, or what ever else is relevant to students, censors any discussion at all that may lead to thinking.

    Students have the capability to make reasonable decisions and have powerful discussions if they empowered and are given the safe space to do trust and talk to each other. How can we expect children to grow into adults that are critical thinkers that can remake society if those adults never had practice thinking critically? The dominant practice is all around memorization, and trying to figure out how to please authority figures (ie. find out what the teacher wants to hear to get an "A", and you do what it takes to please; or at the least, you do what it takes to avoid trouble).

    I know that I'm kinda throwing punches at a straw man. No one has argued that the dominant school system is ideal.

    I just worry that an unqualified seperation of [b]all[b/] idealogical discussion from the classroom will stifle critical thought, which is esential to the health of soceity and justice. I'm all against teachers preaching their ideology, *unfettered*, to students, regardless of whether I agree with that ideology or not. However, I am worried that schools don't promote CRITICAL THOUGHT because they are worried about a lawsuit from a parent who'll use the idea of "seperation of church and state" because their child has been questioning a dominant ideology.

    ps. I believe that critical pedagogy is rarely done anywhere, including colleges and graduate schools.
    context is everything

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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    [quote=bryzee86;379165]quite true. Had it not been for my going to a further education college (rather than my conservative, all the same, dumbass schoolmates who stayed at the school sixth form), I would never have had my eyes opened to critical thinking. I would never have encountered alternative theories or ways of thinking. None of this happens in schools. God forbid having a socialist teacher, or having Film Studies on the agenda.

    This is so true, the teachers at my college taught us to think more freely and start fighting for principles but nothing was ever pushed as "this is what you must think". Unfortunately this doesn't seem to stretch as far as universities!

    This is going off the original point though,sorry.

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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Quote Fuhzy View Post
    Umbriel, this is a very touchy subject for some people. I think it really depends on what class you are 'supposed' to be teaching the children. I believe the teacher you mentioned was an art teacher? If so, he really had no place to be teaching animal rights issues in the classroom. Of course, it's not that you can't mention it, but pushing a strong moral viewpoint on other peoples' children will easily anger them, so be careful!
    I agree. I saw some of the looks i got when i told my sons playgroup teacher that he couldn't eat the marshmallow spider he had made, i was trying to make a point that they should look into a bit more.
    I should imagine most parents would be a little annoyed if there children came back saying they weren't going to eat meat again. It would be wonderful if it was possible to arrange a evening about animal awareness and invite parents so they could educate there children but i doubt that would ever be allowed.

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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Quote annabanana View Post
    Unfortunately this doesn't seem to stretch as far as universities!
    what university do you go to? I've found my university (well, my school to be precise) to be extremely liberal. They are very helpful, will always deal with you on a one-to-one basis and allow for any discussion or digression, as long as it's viable to the debate. The students themselves seem very apathetic, but the staff aren't.

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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Quote bryzee86 View Post
    what university do you go to? I've found my university (well, my school to be precise) to be extremely liberal. They are very helpful, will always deal with you on a one-to-one basis and allow for any discussion or digression, as long as it's viable to the debate. The students themselves seem very apathetic, but the staff aren't.
    You might be lucky.
    I've found that a few CLASSES in my alma mater really encouraged critical pedagogy and critical thought, but most classes (intro Economics, all Mathematics, "weeder" Chemistry, basic Anthropology) were all about regurgitating information and spitting it out, and students had to figure out how to please the instructor instead of thinking critically.

    Of course, the classes that were all about critical thinking were marginalized within the academic setting, by relegating less credit, or less availability for a major, or by simply being seen as less "academic".

    I would challange that even small classes aren't always about critical thinking... it depends on the pedagogical approach of the school system, as well as the instructor, and certainly the openness, support, and trust of the peer students.

    Back on topic:
    I think that an Art Teacher could certainly have "Rights" of all kinds be critically engaged in the classroom. I have a problem with unreflective and uncritical preaching to students, but Art is certainly a medium and subject that should be all about Critical Thinking and addressing relevant issues, such as Animal Rights.
    context is everything

  17. #17
    Mahk
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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Teaching critical thinking in state run schools to children (years 1st-12th) sounds great "in theory", but I'm afraid in actual practice a teacher would be hard pressed not to bring their own personal beliefs, views, and prejudices/biases to light, which would obviously influence the impressionable youth, whether the teacher consciously realizes it or not. Sure, everyone "thinks", "oh not me, I'd be objective" but they're just fooling themselves. Take the vegan art class teacher who was fired, for example. His argument (if I understand correctly) was he was attempting to teach critical thinking. He told his students to look up on the internet the words "factory farming". Well I just did and besides factoryfarming.com you are going to find a whole bunch of sites with one-sided arguments and agendas (our side, yea!). For most controversial topics the mere terminology alone is problematic and shows a bias. Similar search strings which would invoke one sided/biased views might be "baby murderers", "Aryan youth", "Zionist conspiracy", or "the truth about 9/11". It just seems too prone to abuse and/or failure.

    Leave this part of the children's upbringing to the parents/church/mosque/synagogue/temple etc. or wait until college/university.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    I think it would be perfectly OK to provide information about farming techniques etc if it were in the context of the curriculum (biology, geography?). You wouldn't have to use propaganda from animal rights organisations - there is plenty of information on agriculture ministry websites and the like.

    Schools here do sometimes invite speakers from the Vegetarian Society (and perhaps the Vegan Society?) to talk to pupils. That seems unexceptionable because the speaker's agenda is clear - it would be like inviting a Sikh or whatever to come and explain their beliefs. But if a teacher did it instead of covering whatever they were supposed to be teaching, that doesn't seem such a bright idea.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    There is actually a strong tradition of critical pedagogy inspired by Paulo Freire that has worked in k-12 schools as well as University classrooms.

    Unfortunately, I think that the dominant educational systems are more concerned with control than critical thought. The concequence is that poor (often inner city) schools train their masses to be good prisoners, while well-off schools (usually ethnically dominanted by a monoculture) can afford a tiny bit of "critical thinking" while grooming their students to become better managers of the poor. Thus, dominant education often reproduces the worst in society when it could be a monkey wrench for a better future.

    Without a place to practice trying on different ideas, when a student actually confronts sites such as "baby murderers", "Aryan youth", "Zionist conspiracy", or "the truth about 9/11", then those soon to be adults can't even conjure up good critiques of those ideas.

    I work at a college setting teaching young adults critical thinking (in my classroom). Unfortunately, most of these really bright kids have never done it, and thus can't even engage in a critical discussion. Instead, all they are trying to do is to figure out how to get the "right" answer that pleases me the most.

    Dominant education right now is great for a totalitarian state. It is also great for sowing apathy towards public life and public policy and solidarity.

    Now, the dominant educational system isn't ALL wrong. It does get some things right. However, I'm quite sure that teachers and students (especially students) should be empowered to enage their reality critically. I'm confident that in a more free system, a distinction can be made for 1) "preaching" to students where success is marked by agreeing with the teacher, to 2) a system where questions generated by students are posed, with a teacher helps students make meaning of their own lives and questions and success isn't measured in how much a student agrees with the teacher, but instead by how much a student has engaged the material.

    So again, while I agree with you that students shouldn't be subjected to the authoritarian imposition of a teachers opinions (or IMO, a parent's, religious leader, law enforcement, etc), I do think that without critical pedagogy of some kind, education becomes just a method to reproduce the culture exactly as it came before us. The regular disinterest in learning and thinking (in contrast to the zeal for completing useless tasks to get a grade) by a large percentage of students of all ages is not in due to a lack of good teachers, or a lack of good students, it is because education, as it is currently arranged, is devoid of relevance to student's lives. What I read your argument as is a defense of the neutered status quo of education today.

    Now, I don't know squat about the vegan teacher's dismissal. So I can't comment of whether the school acted appropriately. I do know that working in schools, teachers are also subjected to the absurd authoritarianism of school bureoacracy. Many schools seemed designed to sqeeze out all the creativity from a teacher's craft with appeals to fears of lawsuits and the basic idea that a good student is one whose main job is to repeat and obey instead of questioning and thinking for themselves.
    context is everything

  20. #20
    Mahk
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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Harpy, a one time guest lecturer and a teacher with an sub-conscious agenda teaching/influencing the students for a whole year seem very different to me.

    Sure, a veg*n or a Sikh seems pretty benign to you and me, but what about a kid whose parents are cattle farmers? Do you think they might be upset that a person came to class and lectured to their kid that they thought the kid's parent's profession was evil? That's not fair to the kid.

    Just to play devils advocate, what if a teacher wanted to bring a member from a hate group to come lecture? I doubt you'd be OK with that! To me you can't have one without the other so you should just have none.

  21. #21
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    I know some schools here do try to teach some critical thinking - for example I went to one where they were encouraging children to look up topics on the web and then think about whether there were vested interests behind the "information" provided - a useful practice that a lot of web users don't seem to bother with.

    Actually it might be quite interesting for children to apply that technique to the sites providing information about agriculture and think about the various agendas behind them (animal rights, agribusiness, government and so forth). If the teacher was a vegan it might be difficult to facilitate the class in an even-handed way - though the same could be said of non-vegans...

  22. #22

    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    I think that in a classroom set up along DOMINANT pedagogical classroom settings (ie. the teacher is the all powerful authority that the students work to please while the students work individually to compete against each other to best repeat what the teacher has said or implied), inviting ANY speaker can be an endorsement of that particular opinion. In that Dominant pedagogical classroom setting, you'd have to bring in ALL opinions (ie. like a survey course in college) to have any parity, and that can be rather ridiculous. So of course, most overworked teachers have none.

    If a school was all about critical pedagogy, then ANY speaker would be great. The speaker coming to class wouldn't be an endorsement of the speaker's ideas, it would just be a chance for students to engage that frame of thought. I sure would want my kids to be able to critique Neo-Nazis, AR activists, etc, in a safe learning environment.

    Heck, I am rather annoyed that in public schools they invite DARE and other police programs into schools to speak to kids without any critiques made available by students or teachers. The same is done, to a lesser extent by the Dairy industry. I want my kids to be armed with critical thought, rather than protected from "bad" thoughts.

    I know my kids won't turn out just like I did, but what's more important is that my kids are agents of change in their own lives due to their own critical thought. I value my kids' freedom, and I trust them to engage critically with their reality and values. At worst, schools become part of the thought police.
    context is everything

  23. #23
    Mahk
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    Quote xrodolfox View Post
    I work at a college setting teaching young adults critical thinking (in my classroom). Unfortunately, most of these really bright kids have never done it, and thus can't even engage in a critical discussion. Instead, all they are trying to do is to figure out how to get the "right" answer that pleases me the most.
    So these are adults trying to get the "right" answer to please you. Imagine how much more likely that would be if they were children!

    Teachers are role models, whether they like it or not, and being human, can't hide their biases, like it or not. Add these two together and it tells me that matters of religion, ethics, morals, politics etc. should not even be discussed in state run (1st-12th year) education.

    Teaching critical thinking outside of school is fine.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    It is interesting that you came to a different conclusion based on the same facts.

    I am appalled that my students (17 to 20 year olds, mostly), have a hard time with critical thought. I think the reason is because they have little to no practice! So, my cure is for them to PRACTICE critical thought when they are are in schools as kids.

    My children (aged 1.5 and 3.8) are lucky enough to have two teachers as parents, and they are getting a good dose of critical engagement early on. They are already (especially the 3.8 yr old) that not everything the parents say is "perfect" and that he has a right to figure some things out on his own. Unfortunately, it is SCHOOLS that beat that out of kids, so I don't know how far that critical thought will get him if he goes to a traditional pedagogical school. Now, we have a society of robots rather than engaged members of society.

    I think that kids are CERTAINLY mature and savvy enough to deal with complex subjects. I think that problem is the adults can't handle 1) trusting kids, and 2) adults want to maintain their power over youth.

    Of course teachers don't come into a classroom without biases, but those biases can be countered by a critical classroom full of critical students. It is the critical students who can counter authority. However, in a dominant pedagogical classroom, that teacher's bias will interrupt learning no matter how much a teacher tries to hide it.

    The problem isn't the teacher, it is the setting and PEDAGOGY of the institution of learning.

    I too am afraid of teachers (in schools following authoritarian dominant pedagogy) of subtly influencing students. But I am not afraid of that in classrooms where critical thought is encouraged, as the teacher isn't on an authoritarian pedestal, and the student is free to think for themselves and reject or accept all ideas.

    So, I do agree with what you say... but ONLY as it applies to dominant pedagogical systems: especially systems that are authoritarian. But I DON'T agree with you when it comes to better systems, such as critical pedagogy. In that end, I do hope that dominant, authoritarian pedogogy goes extinct and is supplanted by critical pedagogy.
    context is everything

  25. #25
    Mahk
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    I think it's great you're teaching your kids to be critical thinkers. I think its important for all parents to teach ethics, morals, and critical thinking to their own kids but not their neighbors' kids.

    I think we have a glass half full vs. half empty conflict going on here between us. I think it's important for kids to be critical thinkers but I think its naive to think that that could be achieved in state run schools without moral/ethical biasing and influencing going on, even if it is only at a subconscious level, and you think it can, right?

    I can just imagine a teacher saying to their class, "Today we are going to put aside all our prejudices and biases and have a frank, open discussion about the relative pros and cons of baby murderers." See everyone thinks they are objective, yet in truth no one is. Not even you or me.

  26. #26
    Mahk
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    Quote harpy View Post
    If the teacher was a vegan it might be difficult to facilitate the class in an even-handed way - though the same could be said of non-vegans...
    Exactly, and doesn't all vegan teachers + all non-vegan teachers = all teachers?

    Prove to me the contrary (that the vast majority of teachers are even-handed) and maybe I'll change my views.

    I ask myself if I could teach a class about animal rights objectively, without my vegan biases, and I don't think I could. Could you? Could most people?

  27. #27

    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Mahk, you seem to be saying: "Teachers with a bais can't teach that material well" and your conclusion is: "Teachers should avoid subjects that are prone to bias such as religion, ethics, etc."

    What I'm saying is: "It doesn't matter if a teacher is biased if the teaching SYSTEM is CRITICAL PEDAGOGY and if the students are critical participants in non-hierarchal learning".

    Now, what I'm describing doesn't happen much in any schools, let alone public schools. What you are describing is much more common place.

    So your solution is essentially reform. You say, "Don't change the system, just make sure that teachers don't cross the (arbitrary) line on what they teach".

    My solution is Revolution. I don't think that the current system that dehumanizes students and teachers will solve the problems of schools and education regardless of the reform. Especially if that reform is more thought control. The only solution is to use a pedagogy that encourages liberation rather than submissiveness, and critical thinking rather than banking education.

    If a teacher has a bias in a school and classroom modeled on critical pedagogy, I still believe that the students will learn. I do believe that students are the "check" for teachers when students are empowered and teachers given less absolute authority. This is powerful ESPECIALLY, as you note, that all bias cannot be removed.

    In schools with dominant (authoritarian) pedagogy in practice, I do believe that overly biased teachers can be a big problem. However, I think that schools themselves are biased towards dominant ideologies which SHOULD be critisized by are not by schools (such as DARE program intrusions). In the case of schools based on dominant (authoritarian) pedagogy, it is hardly the sole fault of the teachers or the students that little learning happens, it is the fault of the entire system.

    In sum, I think that cosmetic changes to education are essentially pointless. What we need is a Revolution.

    ps. I've finally added links to vocab that may be unfamiliar, such as critical pedagogy and pedagogy and Paulo Freire and Radical Teacher, a magazine for teachers discussing, reading, and doing critical pedagogy.
    context is everything

  28. #28
    Mahk
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    Quote xrodolfox View Post
    Mahk, you seem to be saying: "Teachers with a bias can't teach that material well" and your conclusion is: "Teachers should avoid subjects that are prone to bias such as religion, ethics, etc."
    More precisely, I'm saying since every teacher is a human being, and every single human being carries biases and prejudices (regardless of their common claims and delusions that they don't, imagining rather that they are "totally objective") that we therefore must preclude them from addressing topics of religion and ethics (in what you and I call "public schools", or "state run") since that would be an infringement on the separation of church and state. As Harpy termed it, they can't be trusted to be "even handed", despite their claims to the contrary.

    I'm not saying our current school system is perfect, far from it, but until your revolution takes place, I think it is important to maintain this basic protection. After the revolution...we'll talk.

    I'm certainly no expert in critical pedagogy (and I appreciate your links). If you tell me that it can be taught (or should I say "implemented") without ever broaching the topics of religion, morals, lifestyles, and ethics, then maybe I'd be OK with it for young children in state run schools. Can it? My initial impression is it would be like trying to teach someone how to drive a car, without the actual use of a car. Sure, children should be taught critical thinking, but not by a government sanctioned body and in a venue where the topics of religion and ethics are off limits. Teach it at home where these topics should be openly discussed.

    I'm definitely pro-critical thinking, by the way, just not in the public school system if it necessitates discussions re. religion and ethics etc., which is a big no-no in my book.

  29. #29
    yum! angelamc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Well, I think that it would be OK to have a mostly nonpartisan discussion about animal rights in class. If you don't express a strong personal opinion about animal rights but you make it a discussion topic (like alot of classes do on presidential candidates, current events, ect.) I don't think any parents will object strongly to it. Even if someone does object, as long as you don't say or show anything very graphic or upsetting (difficult I know) you shouldn't get in trouble. My boyfriend is a high school math teacher and this is how he handles controversial subjects in class (when the discussion gets off topic, obviously).
    On the other hand, I have a friend who is a 3rd grade teacher and he feeds his boa constrictor live rats in front of the class. I think this is very inappropriate, especially for such young children, but the principal of the school is fine with it. So I guess if my friend can do that, discussing animal rights shouldn't be such a big deal.

  30. #30
    pat sommer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    This is all way over my head. When I have the opportunity I do explore the facts of our treatment of animals= children and adults. No right and wrong, good or bad, just the simple and unspoken facts.

    Amazing that most folks don't know that milk comes from mothers.

    AR will be discussed in my daughter's school, by my daughter!
    I hope I have taught her to be respectful of other's feelings.
    the only animal ingredient in my food is cat hair

  31. #31

    Default Re: Teaching Children Animal Rights

    Quote Mahk View Post
    More precisely, I'm saying since every teacher is a human being, and every single human being carries biases and prejudices (regardless of their common claims and delusions that they don't, imagining rather that they are "totally objective") that we therefore must preclude them from addressing topics of religion and ethics (in what you and I call "public schools", or "state run") since that would be an infringement on the separation of church and state.
    I think that to not allow this sort of discussion in public schools WITHOUT attempting to revolutionize pedagogy is like getting angry that people kill animals for food without going veg*n. It is a really nice thought, but it does nothing.

    I think that to censor all teachers because of "bias" is to put a band-aid on a problem (too much authoritarianism in schools) that allows the problem to continue. The kids get even less of an education, and the authoritarian school systems get another wind of life.

    Of course, this goes down a slippery slope. I know you draw the line of "bias" as politics and religion. But the reality is that ALL subjects are at some point uncertain, and thus require some bias. Example: Evolution. Frankly, Evolution as a biological theory is as certain as the Atomic Theory in Physics (being that electrons move around neutrons and protons with most of the space taken up by an atom being empty). However, Evolution (and Atomic Theory) are not certain, and thus some teachers and schools decide to teach "Intelligent Design" paralell to Evolution. Heck, some teachers and school districts could also teach that Atoms don't exist.

    All teaching is biased, even the stuff that seems less biased. Physics is biased, so is biology, Language Arts (thus the censorship of certain books), and every other subject. By giving one more wind to a ridiculous system of authoritarianism in schools by helping out with censorship it retards the ability to really do systemic change; it gives more more tool to authoritarian school districts, and it makes it even harder for a teacher or parent or school board member to fight back for real change.
    context is everything

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