Alternatives for those not comfortable with mythology

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by platypusok, Oct 29, 2013.

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  1. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Using the meaning of the English language makes it true that the fiction draws on themes from the Bible. It has nothing to do with being a teacher, just reading comprehension.
     
  2. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    atoz:
    So is it just my turn to be at the top of your list of People to Disagree With? What is it about your world that makes it impossible for you to accept that other people have different thoughts and opinions?

    To borrow words, not every discussion has to be an argument, and not every argument must be won.
     
  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I hope I didn't imply that I wouldn't work with a parent to find the solution. Of course I would, and teachers should!

    I was just sharing that, based on some unpleasant personal experiences, teachers have to be careful when presenting the Bible in class, or as an assignment. No matter what the intentions of the teacher, and no matter how carefully things are worded, there is always the risk (and I would say strong likelihood) that someone will interpret what is said differently than intended. I mean, just look at this board! We can't even discuss the assignment without misunderstandings, and we are neutral observers without personal connections to the situation!
     
  4. Ted

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    And I hope I didn't imply that you weren't willing to work with families. If I did, I sincerely apologize! :sorry:
     
  5. Cerek

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    It would have to be handled carefully, Miss Celia, and would best be handled on an individual basis. I agree with Ted that how the option is presented would be instrumental in the way it was received by the parent.

    Rather than "comparing" the Bible to fictional stories in any way, I would present it as an alternative to fictional stories that not only presents the same learning objectives, but has the advantage of being based on true stories rather than fictional ones.

    I understand the arguments of caution completely and agree with them wholeheartedly, but if a parent objects to the presentation of mythology based on moral/religious grounds, then I would think that particular parent would be pleased - perhaps even excited - to being given the option of letting their child use "real stories" from the Bible instead.
     
  6. MissCeliaB

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    I would not present it this way because I do not believe the stories in the Bible are true. It's tricky when studying religious texts.
     
  7. JustMe

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    I have worked with families in these situations...but I don't think I should necessarily. Just clarifying for those saying teachers should...
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    YES! YES! YES!
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

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    I'm afraid I agree with MissCelia and with kc that offering Bible stories as the substitute materials in a unit that is clearly labeled "mythology" is liable not to be well received by a parent who's already unhappy on the topic of myth. It is no disparagement of the parent to note this, but simple practicality: the popular conception that the meaning of "mythology" includes 'beliefs and stories that are not true' is widespread enough to have appeared in this thread and some others - and the teacher who doesn't recognize the potential for friction here may well end up fighting a fight that could have been avoided.
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I just started reading this myself. I can't wait to get into it!


    I think some parents don't give their kids enough credit. They are much more open minded.
     
  11. a2z

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    So, I'm not allowed to express an opinion that differs from yours?

    I didn't realize there was a pecking order, and I am less allowed to express my opinion or disagree with another's opinion.

    I guess we do disagree on a lot of issues. I express opinions based on ideas not based on who expresses those ideas. So, if you find that I disagree often with your ideas it is because I disagree often with the ideas you express, not because it is you. I'm sorry if it upsets you that someone has such different views than you and is willing to expresses it. I also didn't realize that your ideas can't be challenged.
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    a2z~I think the point that kc is trying to make is that it seems (and I could be wrong) that it seems like you disagree on almost every thread you post to, no matter the topic..and the disagreement is brought up again and again in the same thread.
     
  13. Ted

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    Sorry if I added to the "argument".

    I saw it as a discussion, not an argument.

    I'm learning, on this forum anyway, that discussions = arguments.

    Or perhaps I should just always reply with "I agree 100%!"
     
  14. kcjo13

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    Never mind. Over it. I think I'm going to start wearing a rubber band on my wrist, and every time I am tempted to weigh in on a subject, I'll just snap it. Why bother otherwise? :crosseyed
     
  15. Cerek

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    You may not, but the parent does. So you would be offering them an option to use stories THEY believe are true as an alternative. In that light, I feel a parent who feels strongly against mythology would be more willing to accept the alternative option of using stories and characters from the Bible or any other religious text of their choice.
     
  16. Cerek

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    Then perhaps the unit should be labeled something other than "mythology".

    The standard states that the goal is to analyze and express how a current work of fiction borrows themes from other works, including works of fiction OR works from religious texts.

    The Narnia books are a good example of a fictional story that openly borrows heavily from Biblical principals and stories of the Bible. So I would present it to the parent as an opportunity to show how the Bible is so influential, the stories and themes it contains have even been borrowed and used by other authors in their own works.

    As I've said from the beginning, this would still have to be handled carefully and (perhaps) delicately to the parent, but I do feel it is a viable option for parents who object to the unit otherwise.
     
  17. gr3teacher

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    Ugh... the more I read this, the more I come back to thinking that the unit should be taught as is, and the parent can just keep their kid home those days. It's specifically being taught as fiction folklore from a culture. Mythology is an important part of both history and language arts curriculum. If it were being presented in any way as "hey, this is true!" then I'd understand the complaints, but as it is, the parent is being incredibly unreasonable, and I'm failing to see any reason you should bend over backwards trying to squeeze mandated objectives into a narrow band this parent might conceivably accept. Run it by an administrator, show them the standard and your curriculum, have them agree that no semi-reasonable person would take it as you trying to forcefeed religious beliefs down their throats, and be done with it.
     
  18. kcjo13

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    :clap:
     
  19. dgpiaffeteach

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    I'd rather create a separate plan and still have the kiddo at school. I've never had to change my units, but my CT in ST did. Some kits couldn't read about ghosts so she had them do Othello instead. It worked well for her.
     
  20. a2z

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    I agree with this completely.
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Why bother expressing your opinion? Well, because some others may agree with it. Because it may bring out other opinions that you didn't think of or others didn't think of.
     
  22. Cerek

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    I don't see it as "bending over backwards to satisfy a parent". I see it as just another form of differentiation, which has become a standard practice, even an expected practice, in every classroom of every subject.

    The standard does not say "The students must study mythology". It says "The students will study how selected fictional works are influenced by themes or lessons from other fictional works or from various religious texts such as the Bible or others. The teacher could use the very same learning goals and objectives for the lesson with all students, but just allow this student to apply those objectives and her efforts to a different story.

    The possible use of Bible stories is specifically included in the Common Core standard. So it seems to me the only ones being "unreasonable" are the teachers who would refuse to even consider the possibility of that alternative because it is too difficult or because they just don't want to be bothered with it.

    Just my opinion, of course. ;)
     
  23. dgpiaffeteach

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    Agree 100%.
     
  24. JustMe

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    I don't think it's so simple. I've done something similar and, frankly, it screws up everything. The student can't reasonably/meaningfully be part of class discussions, participate in group activities, and so forth. And, yeah, I "don't want to be bothered with it" because I have a few dozen other things to tend to. I don't think it makes me unreasonable. In fact, I think it's actually quite reasonable for me go determine how I am going to address a standard, create the unit, and expect students to follow along.
     
  25. Ted

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    :clap:
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Grade 3 CCSS calls for students to read myths, folktales and fables. One would think a high school student would be more equipped to set aside their personal beliefs when reading such literature than the younger students...and yet my kiddos are energized by reading mythology! And not one hint of a whisper of discontent from anyone.:2cents:
     
  27. dgpiaffeteach

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    Teachers do this all the time though. I had a transfer student last year who had already read a novel we were reading. I did more of an independent study with her for that quarter. We had a blast! I gave her a couple books to choose from with similar themes. She is very bright so I enjoyed being able to challenge her. We did more advanced grammar, vocabulary, writing, etc... I found it completely reasonable to approach it this way.
     
  28. JustMe

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    Just a difference of opinion in this case.
     
  29. dgpiaffeteach

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    In my case then, would you have the student reread the book? Knowing that she is an A student and more advanced than her peers? Obviously this situation is fairly unique to higher grade English classes. I know some teachers who would have had her reread it, but I didn't feel it was in her best interests.
     
  30. Ted

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    I applaud you for taking the extra step to do a unique project with her.

    Make no mistake that she'll remember your decision to do this for years to come. :)
     
  31. JustMe

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    It would depend on whether she was taught the same standards using that book and how she felt about it. Some teachers mostly teach books while some uses the book to teach skills. Trust me, I've made my share of independent units and so forth.

    But that's what I mean. There are more legitimate reasons for me to create new plans and units for unique situations. I do not agree that the situation at the heart of this discussion warrants modification.
     
  32. dgpiaffeteach

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    I can understand that.

    With this girl, I knew she'd met all sophomore standards so we started to focus on the next set. I could see how rereading could benefit some though.
     
  33. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Exactly. And the fact that she can't participate in class discussion regarding mythology will likely make her classmates ask why she's not participating and doing another assignment all together.

    I know when I re-read books, I tend to find something new with each reading.
     
  34. gr3teacher

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    The problem being that, as has been pointed out, using the bible in this standard will likely create even more problems.
     
  35. Cerek

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    Just because the student read a different story than the others shouldn't mean she cannot be a meaningful part of class discussions on how her story and the character(s) involved reflect similar themes and lessons as the characters in the story read by the rest of the class. Seems like it could actually be an expansion of the discussion and show how different stories from different sources reflect the same basic concepts and ideals.

    And at least some, if not most, of the other students will be familiar enough with the Biblical story to add their own input as well.
     
  36. Cerek

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    Which can be addressed by showing the actual standard allowing it. :)
     
  37. JustMe

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    I don't mean just hanging out discussing the texts. I mean guided discussions. I mean lessons using the text addressing speaking and listening standards. It's very, very likely it would be "messy".
     
  38. gr3teacher

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    If the parent had an issue with teaching mythology :rolleyes: why would they suddenly be okay with using the Bible in lieu of mythology? I'd expect the parent to get even more upset at that idea.

    I'll admit I have little patience for people with religious beliefs this extreme though. Believe what you want, teach your kid what you want, but don't try to screw things up for everybody else or to keep your child from legitimate literary or historical discussion. I'm afraid I'm also assuming this parent isn't particularly intelligent if they can't figure out that these things are in no way being brought up in a religious context.
     
  39. Cerek

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    {emphasis mine}

    So the unit doesn't have to focus on mythology. It could focus on other types of folktales and fables. This is why I suggested a different label for the unit other than "mythology" as another possible solution to help avoid parental objections.

    I've always been enthralled and intrigued by different mythologies myself. I find them incredibly interesting. When I played AD&D in college, one of the things that impressed me the most was the number of different real-world mythos and pantheons that Gary Gygax had included in the game. That only added to my curiosity and made me want to learn more about those mythos as well.

    My own boys love mythology as well. I completely agree with the value of these stories and the validity of teaching them. However, I also understand not all parents feel this way, especially those that may be more sensitive than others about their religious beliefs.
     
  40. Cerek

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    And that does happen sometimes. It's the ultimate irony that the parent objects to mythology because they feel the diety's are being taught as being "real", but when offered the alternative of substituting stories from their own beliefs, they suddenly believe the unit will be teaching that their beliefs are false. You can't really have it both ways.

    If you believe the stories are being taught as being about "real gods", then being allowed to substitute stories of your own God should be the perfect alternative. If you believe the stories being taught as fiction, then there shouldn't be any objection in the first place.

    That's the logical approach. Unfortunately, we all know that parents aren't always logical. :rolleyes: So we sometimes have to make accommodations simply to avoid needless arguments or complaints from the parent to admin or the school board.


    I can understand that, but with all due respect, your personal lack of patience is not a valid justification for trying to find an acceptable alternative for the student.

    Having one student read a different selection does not arbitrarily "screw things up for everybody else". In fact, it could be used to expand and perhaps even enhance the class discussions even further.

    Claiming the parent is trying to prevent the child from legitimate literary or historical discussions is just your belief (or opinion) on the topic and, in this case, you are subtly suggesting your beliefs about what the child should learn ought to override the parents belief of what she should learn.

    I don't disagree with your point, but even though we are the teachers, it is not always our place to make that type of judgment call. If an agreeable alternative cannot be reached in a one-on-one discussion with the parent, then it might be best to invite admin into a meeting as well and let them make the final determination.
     
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