Saturday, October 13, 2007

What do you think?

This message was recently posted to the TESL (teaching esl) list. I thought it would make a good discussion topic.
Recently, it occured to me that teachers should take care in choosing what materials they use for various lessons in ESOL classrooms. Coming from a conservative background, I know that there are various genres of movies, music, and literature that my late parents would not have approved of me encountering in my class when I was younger. Furthermore, as an adult student, there are various books etc that I would wish not to study that some teachers may not have a problem with teaching.
My question: how important do you think this is when it comes to choosing materials to be used in ESOL classrooms? I've asked couple of friends (a student and a teacher) about this. Both had a very short list of what they feel is inappropriate. Thus I am curious, in this generation, do most people have an "anything goes" attitude, or is it only certain cultures? Should we just use anything (age appropriately of course) in our classes or should we be mindful of what is socially appropriate based on other cultures? I'd like to know what others think about this issue.
Are there materials or topics that you think should be off-limits? What? Why? If you think something should be off limits, you need to explain why you think so. Conversely, if you think no topic should be off-limit, explain that too.
Gerald Graff, a well known American professor and "cultural theorist" who writes about literature and teaching, thinks we should not avoid controversial material in the classroom. Instead, he says, we should, "teach the differences." This - sometimes called "the culture wars" - is a touchy topic in American universities now.
Maybe it does not apply to ESL classes. Maybe it applies even more since we are even more likely to be a diverse group. Maybe there are difficult topics we need to learn how to talk about.
What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Hey folks - this is a discussion question. That means I expect EVERYONEyou to DISCUSS it by posting comments.


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