Wednesday, February 06, 2008

All in the definition

Part of the challenge facing teachers in our global society is how exactly to address certain topics, while keeping themselves out of trouble. Here in the United States, plenty of instructors are finding themselves teaching mainly to standardized tests, even skipping other pertinent information that could be useful in order to prepare the students best for the tests that they know will be given out. In other parts of the world, some teachers take their own tactic.

Take, for example, the Australian teacher who, at first, found himself under fire for an assignment, only to be cleared of wrong-doing and later promoted. His assignment?

He asked a group of 8-year-old students to answer the question, "Is Nudity and Pornography the same thing?" Of course, he encouraged the students to use the Internet as a valuable resource to come to their conclusions. After all, the Internet has plenty of material on both subjects.

That's where the "Oops" comes in. A number of the students viewed the homework assignment as an opportunity to download porn off of the Web. When questioned, the teacher stood by his assignment, pointing out that he merely intended the students to gather definitions, not to actually view the imagery. Of course, he also pointed out how important it is for children to understand the difference, and to learn about sexual health and awareness within a physical education curriculum. Complaints were lodged, the computers were cleansed, and the teacher was given a pass on his assignment.

Of course, part of the outrage comes from children being exposed to pornographic material, but, in today's modern world, it's almost impossible to shield people completely. Heck, most internet sites have at least a little implied pornography, if not blatant imagery. We've even talked about the frequency of celebrity nipple slips, and it's hard to avoid a comment here or there about various sexual acts.

Part of us wonders if this had come about because, for some reason, people are still more comfortable with children viewing violent acts, as opposed to sexual ones. While it's certainly true that children are often too immature to deal with the sexual ramifications, a good number of them can't quite separate when their favorite movie character gets into a fight. And yet the double standard still exists, where sex is taboo, but a good raucous gunfight is suitable for primetime entertainment.

If only it had gone the other way around. We might have been treated to images of celebrities fighting each other, as opposed to showing a severe distaste for undergarments.

"One Night In Paris" could have been an entirely different video.

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