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IceAlisa
08-11-2011, 04:24 PM
I worked as a municipal administrator, and when writing bylaws it was suggested you write them at the grade 8 to 10 level. So clear and effective communication that can be understood by most people is of more value in some cases.
Health care providers are supposed to explain things to patients on the 8th grade level.

Matryeshka
08-11-2011, 06:18 PM
My issues with Twilight aren't just about their lack of literary merit, although Stephenie Meyer is a laughably bad writer and her editors don't seem to know how to fix her problems. I actually think they are detrimental in many ways and have issues with the misogynistic content, the casual portrayal of teenaged girls in ways that are supposed to be positive but are actually enforcing dead, negative stereotypes, and many other problems. I don't allow students to bring these books through the doors of my classroom. They can (and do, I know) read them elsewhere, but not in my English class.

Please. Half the Classics read in English classes have misogynistic content and contain negative stereotypes about women. If you've taught one Shakesepare play, you have taught a work that contains negative stereotypes. In fact, if it bothers you so much, I would encourage you to do the exact opposite and discuss Twilight with your students. You might open their eyes, and they might open yours as well. I've seen girls sighing over Edward one second and then giving some poor 7th grade boy the most cutting set down you imagine for the mere suggestion she might not be able to take care of/protect herself.

They know it's fantasy; it's really not affecting their world outlook. I've read books that featured sympathetic serial killers. It didn't turn me into one (unless of course dove bars count). And if it does affect their poor little psyche, they were going to be like that even if they hadn't read the books. To me, thinking female students are so weak that one series of books is going to somehow make girls dumber and less capable is more demeaning than anything Stephenie Meyers could write.

GarrAarghHrumph
08-11-2011, 06:24 PM
I would love to be SKATER FAT. :shuffle:

I am a fat skater. Is that the same thing...? Alas, not.

milanessa
08-11-2011, 07:06 PM
In general, reading requires a higher level of language skill than watching TV (speaking and listening). And as such, it goes hand in hand with writing. I don't have any research to cite, but it would seem only logical that reading builds more connections in the brain.

Although of course what you read and what you watch on TV makes a difference. It is less challenging mentally and in terms of language skills to read Harlequin romances than follow a fact-packed historical documentary or debate on political issues on TV.

TV is a social or family activity, but for the most part more passive than reading in terms of brain activity. And thanks to the internet and forums like FSU, reading and writing have attained a social dimension. One of the reasons I spend so much time here is that there are so many opportunities to learn different things (by read8ng).

I'm basically opposed to TV in the way that it is used these days: as a babysitter for kids, as a time-passer for adults, and as a background noise. With regard to kids, the constant exposure to advertising is a real issue as much is specifically targeted at children.

With regards to adults, it can be both a pacifier and an addiction. I have a friend who for various reasons (including health issues) spends about 95% of her waking life in front of the television. It has basically turned her brain to silly putty. She is such a bright and funny person, but I've been watching that person disappear. She is losing the art of conversation and losing the capacity to relate to others.

Reading has certainly isolated me, but I also think it helps to keep my brain quite sharp. I won't read 'anything' just to read, I am quite fussy about my books.

I have no issue with planning to watch a show on TV or a movie - for entertainment or for education - and then turning the TV off. But the TV is the center of many people's lives today and entire evenings and week-ends are spent in front it. It is one of the most acceptable addictions in society.

I hate having a TV on in my space when I'm not watching it. I find it intrusive. Something has to occur in the brain for it be normalized in the environment and I'm sure that 'something' is good or healthy.

The internet is also an addiction, but if you are reading, writing and learning, you aren't numbing yourself mentally.

This post sounds like an endorsement of current thinking which ag is questioning.

vesperholly
08-11-2011, 07:22 PM
My issues with Twilight aren't just about their lack of literary merit, although Stephenie Meyer is a laughably bad writer and her editors don't seem to know how to fix her problems. I actually think they are detrimental in many ways and have issues with the misogynistic content, the casual portrayal of teenaged girls in ways that are supposed to be positive but are actually enforcing dead, negative stereotypes, and many other problems. I don't allow students to bring these books through the doors of my classroom. They can (and do, I know) read them elsewhere, but not in my English class.

My 14-year-old cousin was reading Twilight on our family vacation. I asked her how she liked it, and she said she had loved the movies, wasn't very far into the book but so far was enjoying it. Later, she came back to me and told me that Bella was a little annoying and Edward was a stalker. :cheer2:

IceAlisa
08-11-2011, 07:28 PM
This post sounds like an endorsement of current thinking which ag is questioning.

Sounds like Japanfan happens to agree with the current thinking even though (le gasp) it is being questioned by ag.

PrincessLeppard
08-11-2011, 09:13 PM
but I would rather have kids watch TV all day than read something like the Twilight series.

I teach high school English, too. I would love to have some of my students read ANYTHING.

You don't even allow it in your classroom? Damn.


Please. Half the Classics read in English classes have misogynistic content and contain negative stereotypes about women. If you've taught one Shakesepare play, you have taught a work that contains negative stereotypes. In fact, if it bothers you so much, I would encourage you to do the exact opposite and discuss Twilight with your students. You might open their eyes, and they might open yours as well. I've seen girls sighing over Edward one second and then giving some poor 7th grade boy the most cutting set down you imagine for the mere suggestion she might not be able to take care of/protect herself.

They know it's fantasy; it's really not affecting their world outlook. I've read books that featured sympathetic serial killers. It didn't turn me into one (unless of course dove bars count). And if it does affect their poor little psyche, they were going to be like that even if they hadn't read the books. To me, thinking female students are so weak that one series of books is going to somehow make girls dumber and less capable is more demeaning than anything Stephenie Meyers could write.

QFT. I've had this argument more times than I can count. Hamlet & Ophelia, anyone? For starters?

The majority of my students are not idiots, even if they often act like they are. :)

aliceanne
08-11-2011, 09:58 PM
Alas, tis Speaking of correlation v causation, I'm curious what people think wrt reading. Does reading more help students do better in school, or is it that kids who typically do better in school just so happen to like to read? Do kids who read more generally do better in school? I'm wondering if I've just assumed reading and better educational outcomes go together, or if there's really something there.

I read one or 2 books a week as a child (we lived up the street from the library). I had above average language skills in school, but was terrible at math. I did take it through trigonometry, but it took me 10 times as long to do the work as the other kids and my grades were barely passing to average. Yes, spending extra time at math did get me through it, but it didn't make me good at it.

Reading is a good way to get general knowledge which gives you a context in which to learn and remember new things, but there are other ways to get general knowledge. Social interaction and creative hobbies may work better for some people.

As far as TV is concerned, I see kids making up their own shows on youtube. Some of them are very creative and took a lot of effort.

milanessa
08-11-2011, 10:07 PM
Sounds like Japanfan happens to agree with the current thinking even though (le gasp) it is being questioned by ag.

I get that. That wasn't my point.

And you're being rude again. I've disagreed with ag plenty of times - not gasp worthy - so please don't drag me into the two of yours feud.

numbers123
08-11-2011, 10:32 PM
Disagree. I think students have gotten lazier, at least in my province.
I am 58 years old and can tell you that my classmates were lazy and didn't want to read either. I had a teacher I hated in 7th, because she made us write the major sentence in the paragraphs in our history book. Nearly everyone in the class chose the shortest sentence in the paragraph because they were lazy and didn't want to do the assignment. I chose to do the assignment as it was given and the gift I received was the ability to read rapidly and to comprehend what I am reading.


In general, reading requires a higher level of language skill than watching TV (speaking and listening).
But not if you have issues like dyslexia or color reading issues (http://irlen.com/index.php?id=30). My youngest has both of these issues, which was not discovered until he was in junior high school. Because it is so difficult to read without assistance he prefers to watch the Military or History channels or Nature channels or Financial programming. That doesn't mean that he avoids things like The Simpsons, or Family Guy or other programs I consider garbage. But he can discuss how to do car repairs, HVAC repairs, etc.



Please. Half the Classics read in English classes have misogynistic content and contain negative stereotypes about women. If you've taught one Shakesepare play, you have taught a work that contains negative stereotypes. In fact, if it bothers you so much, I would encourage you to do the exact opposite and discuss Twilight with your students. You might open their eyes, and they might open yours as well. I've seen girls sighing over Edward one second and then giving some poor 7th grade boy the most cutting set down you imagine for the mere suggestion she might not be able to take care of/protect herself.

They know it's fantasy; it's really not affecting their world outlook. I've read books that featured sympathetic serial killers. It didn't turn me into one (unless of course dove bars count). And if it does affect their poor little psyche, they were going to be like that even if they hadn't read the books. To me, thinking female students are so weak that one series of books is going to somehow make girls dumber and less capable is more demeaning than anything Stephenie Meyers could write.

This and one should realize that the classics were contemporary novels or poetry at some point in time. To me, the basics of using the classics in educational processes is to have discussions on what the premise of the writing is about, what it said about the societal norms of the times, etc. What makes it a classic? - someone identified it as required reading at some point in time. 1984 was a projection into the future when I was in high school and the politics of what could be. What does it say to this generation - it should be used to discuss what politics does to our society. But maybe there are more contemporary books that can make that same argument.

As for the quiet reflection time that mmmmary talked about with no television, when I was/am devouring books I had/have no concept of what was going on around me. When I was young, my parents and sibs enjoyed fishing and we would go fishing every week or sometimes more often. I hated fishing and would read books. Someone could have set off a bomb next to me and I probably wouldn't have noticed. No communing with nature, no awareness of the beauty of the sky, etc.

In part the decrease in physical activity is the elimination of PE programs in schools (I do not want to start that argument, but know that my kids did not have to have PE classes during high school), the fear we have of letting our children out to play or walk because of the stranger danger factor, the use of passive transportation models - autos vs. bikes, and TV/Internet/Video Games/texting. And that the foods that are good for us - veggies, fruits, etc. cost more and to some extent require a longer prep/cooking time (beans being an example).

And while the stats might not support kids in a farming environment as a year round thing, I know that I spent at least a month every year on my grandparents farm and that required a lot more activity. And that environment also had more access to TV, since my grandparents had the TV set with little restrictions on what I could watch.

kia_4EverOnIce
08-11-2011, 10:36 PM
I've always assumed reading was superior.

Agree, reading let you think, while watching tv imo is such a quick consumption you don't reflect on what you're watching (unless of course, we're speaking of documentaries or some educational programmes)

The unintended consequences totally reminded me how I was at elementary school! :)
My parents were really strict on TV: I had half an hour a day to watch it.
I couldn't go out playing with friends more than once/twice a week.
So I took on reading.
I was like your son:
in my little world...yeah, 15/20 or so years later sometimes I'm still like that, but I love it as a way to relax :D
comatose while reading (don't worry, fantasy at work there!), yes, but after so many years on school and uni books, I read much less :( , and if I have the opportunity of a break I won't let it go! :D

Someone could have set off a bomb next to me and I probably wouldn't have noticed.
they always tell me so!!! :)
pronunciation of new word: let him take a bit of confidence, and then he'll start to use new words and you can correct it!



i think agal should make her children do book reports on what they read so that it is more interactive. also the followup posts would be funny.

I had to do it both at school, both (sometimes) at home (my parents ordered me so) -> I hated it!!! it could be good for learning, but it's also a good way to make someone hate reading/writing: it depends on the child attitude, I suppose...


Speaking of correlation v causation, I'm curious what people think wrt reading.

I believe reading can give better general culture, certain books can open the mind and create curiosity, and they teach to reflect more than other activities (videogames and tv..)
I don't know if that mean better results at school.
In my experience, until I was 15 or 16, I used to read about 100 books/school year plus another 30 or so during the summer. I was always good at school, but loved humanities (ended up studying that at uni) more than sciences (I was good there, but didn't like them too).

Jenny
08-11-2011, 11:22 PM
I don't allow students to bring these books through the doors of my classroom. They can (and do, I know) read them elsewhere, but not in my English class.

Keep that up and you might as well send an invoice to the author and publisher for helping to promote their books.


In fact, if it bothers you so much, I would encourage you to do the exact opposite and discuss Twilight with your students. You might open their eyes, and they might open yours as well.


:respec:

skatingfan5
08-11-2011, 11:51 PM
And while the stats might not support kids in a farming environment as a year round thing, I know that I spent at least a month every year on my grandparents farm and that required a lot more activity. I, too, spent a portion of the summer at my grandmother's farm and definitely was quite active with all sorts of outdoor stuff ... until about age 12 or 13, that is. One dreary, rainy day when we couldn't go outside I discovered a large trunk-sized wooden crate in the attic, filled with 1930's magazines (Colliers, Woman's Home Companion, Saturday Evening Post, etc.). They all had a ton of short stories and serialized long fiction in them, which I devoured. In fact, even on nice, sunny days, it was hard to get me out of the bedroom where I was reading all sorts of fiction, ranging from Fannie Hurst to MacKinlay Kantor to Mary Roberts Rinehart. (Lots of romantic schlock and mysteries iirc.)
And that environment also had more access to TV, since my grandparents had the TV set with little restrictions on what I could watch.The farm was in Vermont and the TV reception was very, very poor -- we only got 2 channels and one of them was very "snowy". I can't remember watching much TV at all when we were there in the summer.

ETA: PE in high school was three days a week, a full class "hour" (actually 50 minutes) and ran the gamut from swimming to tennis to basketball to field hockey to golf and archery to track and field to gymnastics to modern dance! :eek: :lol:

dramagrrl
08-12-2011, 12:09 AM
Keep that up and you might as well send an invoice to the author and publisher for helping to promote their books.
Right, because I'm sure my students wouldn't have heard about the books without me disliking them. :rolleyes:

I'm not even going to discuss the comparison another poster made between Shakespeare and Twilight because it is patently ridiculous. All I will say is that yes, there is racist, misogynistic, etc. content in Shakespearean plays, but there is also a vast amount of literary merit in these plays, while there is less than zero literary merit in the works of Stephenie Meyer.

As for discussing the novels with my students, I do, and have gotten into several extended debates. My problem is not that I think my students are stupid and cannot tell fantasy from reality; my problem is that a lot of the negative content in Twilight is embedded in a way that younger readers do not see it (or refuse to see it). Meyer is clearly trying to pass off Bella as a strong, even feminist heroine, and I find that insulting. Yes, some teenagers who read it also see through that and find it insulting as well, but many - many - do not.

And really... I'll do what I want to do in my classrooms (which are awesome classrooms, I will say for myself, and even more awesome for their Twilight-free nature!), and other teachers can do what they like in theirs.

Japanfan
08-12-2011, 12:21 AM
Sounds like Japanfan happens to agree with the current thinking even though (le gasp) it is being questioned by ag.

I actually thought AG presented a good case for kids watching TV. And I'm not attached to being 'right', nor do I have any research to cite on the mental processes required for reading versus TV.



Without having done or read any research on the subject (so I could be all wrong), I would think that a complex dramatic movie or TV show that requires the viewer to pay attention to and synthesize both visual and aural cues as to what is going on would be more mentally challenging and build more brain connections than either reading a book or watching a documentary that simply present facts without demanding interpretation.

I.e., I don't think fiction in a visual, dramatized form is necessarily less challenging than in written form, and I don't think fact-based television is necessarily more challenging than fiction, as your examples suggest.

Admittedly, most network television (fiction or "reality" TV) is designed primarily to keep the viewer in front of the screen to receive advertising messages without much critical engagement. And many TV viewers (including those who like challenge elsewhere, including occasionally on TV) use television as an opportunity for mental relaxation and prefer not to actively engage while watching.


I often find books more challenging than their visual, dramatized form. For example, last fall I read all 12 of the Poldark book series, then watched the 29-episode TV series. Pride and Prejudice and other classic works made into film come to mind as well.

That said, I can think of quite a few films/TV shows that were demanding to follow in terms of the focus and thinking processes required. For example, I recently watched 'Insider Job' (documentary about the financial crisis) and had to review certain points a second time. For me the challenge is to keep up with all the facts and the same happens in a show with a twisty plot.

But I think it's fair to say that a good proportion of the population watches TV passively and indiscriminately, zones out while watching, and doesn't spend much or any time reading. How high that proportion is, I don't know, but when a person does that with all their free time, how could it not have a numbing effect on the brain?