Saturday, December 6, 2008

Incredibly stupid teacher lesson re: "slavery"

Apparently some idiotic school teacher thought that she (I think it's a she, I've not read the newspaper yet about it) could "teach her class" "about slavery" by tying up two of the children and placing them under a desk. Parents are outraged and the kids are traumatized (what a surprise). That was not a lesson about slavery, that was lesson about bondage, ignorance and humiliation.

My point is not to bash the moron more than she is already getting, rightfully, but to use this as a case study. Regular readers know that I always try to watch for useful news and social issues to use accordingly as case studies.

When a modern tries to interpret history they have a problem with understanding facts. Moderns seem to think that history is about "feelings." So this moron tried to "help" "explain slavery" by making two children feel bad, and thus conveyed nothing about the facts of slavery, facts which all of their own make one feel "very bad and sad."

Here is what I would have done. I would have had a class exercise that illustrated the facts of slavery, and then asked the kids how that made them feel.

Using a pile of coins, such as pennies, have several children "earn" one penny each time they walked across the room and back, carrying a heavy book. So a child who walks five times across the room with a heavy book earns five pennies. However, under slavery, the five pennies are taken from the child who carried the book and given to a child who remained seated in the front row of the class.

That would illustrate slavery to a perfect "T" without traumatizing.

Teachers, parents and other "educators." You do not need to be Hollywood or Bollywood drama queens to "explain history" to children, and in fact, you do violence to the facts of history and end up blurring the child's understanding of history, rather than illuminate it, if you are only projecting your "feelings." Simple present the facts using simple tools and devices, like the book and pennies. Stop trying to brainwash children into feeling "outrage" and "hurt" when they will comprehend history like slavery perfectly clearly by being given fact based examples and using simple and clean exercises based on facts.

The facts of history speak for themselves and children have, on the whole, very compassionate and easily violated senses of 'fairness,' so they would understand working hard for pennies and then it all being given to someone else, the "owner" very easily.