Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    The way that school was used as a tool for social engineering?

    Example : Throughout my time at secondary school the only books that we studied in English Literature were to do with racism, usually towards blacks. Holes by Louis Sachar, To Kill a Mockingbird, Othello, etc. Now these are fine books, but even as a kid I could see that we were being programmed to think in a certain way and treat people according to their race rather than their personal qualities.

    It got to a point where one of the black girls in my class asked the teacher "Why is this class so racist? Why do we always have to learn about racist books?" . Admittedly she was a moron so thought all this racism was directed towards her.

    Really I think society would be alot more cohesive if people were left to understand each other as people rather than through the prism of 400 years of oppression yadayada.

    Anyone else have a similar experience at school?
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    To Kill a Mockingbird is about how you shouldn't be racist though?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by aspirinpharmacist)
    To Kill a Mockingbird is about how you shouldn't be racist though?
    ...your point is?
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    Maybe that's a good thing? Though to be honest, I didn't have to read Othello to realise black people are equal to the rest of humanity.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I was forced to read Of Mice and Men, The Lord of The Flies and The Long and the Short and the Tall, what does that mean?

    Maybe that's a good thing? Though to be honest, I didn't have to read Othello to realise black people are equal to the rest of humanity.
    Or The Merchant of Venice to realise Jews are inherently inferior. I am joking by the way, but that play is clearly racist. Mind you at the time all Jews had been deported from the country, for "breach of usury laws" and being better at money and **** than other merchants.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by A level Az)
    Maybe that's a good thing? Though to be honest, I didn't have to read Othello to realise black people are equal to the rest of humanity.
    Precisely. Equal. Not to be treated with some special victim status.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    At GCSE and IB HL English I never felt like we were focusing just on one theme. At GCSE level the Shakespeare text that we studied was Macbeth, which has nothing to do with race, and the main text that I can remember was Of Mice and Men, which is about social exclusion, the American dream, etc. And of course Heaney - potatoes and peat are important dontcha know.

    In IB HL English we mostly studied dystopian and existentialist texts. That was actually great fun. Camus, Kafka, Suskind . . . MIND. BLOWN. :woo: We also did study a lot of more naked commentaries such as Pygmalion and Death of a Salesman, but there was never some overarching theme to them. I really enjoyed HL English.

    I think it ultimately depends on what type of teacher you have - English literature can be taught in many different ways and the interpretation of various texts is entirely subjective. If you get a Glorious People's Front For The Teaching Of The Revolution type teacher then of course you're going to focus on texts that emphasise their world view. If you're lucky enough to get a teacher who just likes English as a language for it's aesthetic and symbolic richness, then based on my experiences you might have a much broader literary base to study.

    All that said, Othello, TKAM and Holes are important literary works, well worth reading, and it's entirely possible that it was just coincidence that your teacher or English department picked them out from the National Curriculum. Racism is also an important theme in 20th century literature especially, and it often comes up on exams, so it's also possible that your teacher did consciously choose texts with a common theme so that you could "ace race" if it came up on the exam.

    Personally I just like to treat stories as stories, and not read too much into it unless it's very deliberate social commentary like Dickens. I hate English teachers and academics who like to meticulously study every word and weave a completely unsubstantiated and fabricated line of social commentary from a highly symbolic but ultimately apolitical text
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Bonged.)
    Precisely. Equal. Not to be treated with some special victim status.
    I guess...
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Aphotic Cosmos)
    At GCSE and IB HL English I never felt like we were focusing just on one theme. At GCSE level the Shakespeare we studied was Macbeth - nothing to do with race - and the main text that I can remember was Of Mice and Men, which is about social exclusion, the American dream, etc. And of course Heaney - potatoes and peat are important dontcha know.

    In IB HL English we mostly studied dystopian and existentialist texts. That was actually great fun. Camus, Kafka, Suskind . . . MIND. BLOWN. :woo: I really enjoyed HL English.

    I think it ultimately depends on what type of teacher you have - English literature can be taught in many different ways and interpretation is entirely subjective. If you get a Glorious People's Front For The Teaching Of The Revolution type teacher then of course you're going to focus on texts that emphasise their world view. If you're lucky enough to get a teacher who just likes English as a language for it's aesthic and symbolic richness, then based on my experiences you might have a much broader literary base to study.

    All that said, Othello, TKAM and Holes are important literary works, well worth reading and it's entirely possible that it was just coincidence that your teacher or English department picked them out from the National Curriculum. Racism is also an important theme in 20th Century literature especially, and it often comes up on exams, so it's also possible that your teacher did consciously choose texts with a common theme so that you could "ace race" if it came up on the exam.
    Kafka and Camus, you lucky sod. GCSE book reading sucked, the books were ok Of Mice and Men and The Lord of the flies made very interesting points about post collapse societies and the threat of nuclear annihilation, but not what I would of chosen had I any choice.

    The Trial, The Myth of Sysiphus and Crime and Punishment and perhaps Don Quixote would of been my choices.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Bonged.)
    The way that school was used as a tool for social engineering?

    Example : Throughout my time at secondary school the only books that we studied in English Literature were to do with racism, usually towards blacks. Holes by Louis Sachar, To Kill a Mockingbird, Othello, etc. Now these are fine books, but even as a kid I could see that we were being programmed to think in a certain way and treat people according to their race rather than their personal qualities.

    It got to a point where one of the black girls in my class asked the teacher "Why is this class so racist? Why do we always have to learn about racist books?" . Admittedly she was a moron so thought all this racism was directed towards her.

    Really I think society would be alot more cohesive if people were left to understand each other as people rather than through the prism of 400 years of oppression yadayada.

    Anyone else have a similar experience at school?
    As a primary school teacher I can confirm that one of the points of primary education is to educate children in social skills, how the world works, citizenship etc, not just academia. I can only assume this theme continues at secondary school.

    Is it really such a bad thing? Yes, most people know racism is a bad thing. But many people won't know historical events such as apartaid, segregation in America, slavery etc, if they aren't taught about them. Rather than just lecturing children about these events they read books about them. Mind you I also read Of Mice and Men and Lord of the Flies, neither of which were about racism, but perhaps had other life lessons. What would you prefer people read?
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    So much **** about race in college it was unbelievable, not that much in secondary school though.
    I think they are teaching you not to be racist though, not to be racist, but it's hardly an issue that needs that much education on, it just made me really aware of racial differences and I thought it was a very simplistic way of exploring human conflict.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by modgepodge)
    As a primary school teacher I can confirm that one of the points of primary education is to educate children in social skills, how the world works, citizenship etc, not just academia. I can only assume this theme continues at secondary school.

    Is it really such a bad thing? Yes, most people know racism is a bad thing. But many people won't know historical events such as apartaid, segregation in America, slavery etc, if they aren't taught about them. Rather than just lecturing children about these events they read books about them. Mind you I also read Of Mice and Men and Lord of the Flies, neither of which were about racism, but perhaps had other life lessons. What would you prefer people read?
    It seems that others on this site have had varied and interesting books to read. I'd love to have read lord of the flies in a school setting.

    My personal experience from only studying books to do with white people being mean to black people was that it gives children a world view that is skewed towards victim hood and labelling based on race, and that only studying historical events to do with racism is a strange way of giving people life lessons.

    I would prefer that I could have read something more substantial than the passive poor black man theme.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    We had to read An Inspector Calls, and I did get very annoyed over the utterly unsubtle preachyness of it. I can remember the 'guided discussion' seemed to be in total favour of the morals conveyed, which the majority of my classmates lapped up, without ever being encouraged to argue for the opposition. I seem to remember the coverage of HG Wells' Time Machine being taught a little better though.. Otherwise, I don't think there was much bias in what we covered in English. Actually, due to budget constraints I think my teachers were stuck teaching the books their predecessors had already bulk bought 15 years prior.

    What I did have a problem with was both science and religious studies.

    Though I can no longer remember any examples off the top of my head, I do remember being very frustrated with how little actual science knowledge and teaching of basic principles went in to my science curriculum. I remember a fair few opinion based questions based of minimal statistics, and I was never really taught the core principles, particularly in physics.

    RE : Well perhaps I suffered from never having a specialist teacher in the subject, through secondary school I was taught RE by a maths/ICT teacher and two 'humanities' teachers who had degrees in geology and environmental science, the latter of which was clueless and taught straight out of the textbook. But regardless of this I feel RE education as a whole truly suffers from the curriculum and exam specifications seriously restricting the possibility of students learning to enquire in to human belief systems. Our study into the world religions was at a purely superficial level. It was simply being told what the religious buildings were like, what the major festivals were, the most common practises and rituals, with a brief explanation of what they believed and why (usually 'because the scriptures say so' kind of explanation). No one was asked to question things through, it was just presented as a 'isn't the world an amazing multicultural world where we all get along in complete harmony'. A proper grounding in principles of philosophy and how to think would serve us better I think.

    Due to this I think, particularly the RE, the misinformation and the restriction of the curriculum into chunks of information only useful in an exam and not for the real world is a method of social engineering in itself.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    My education just taught me to be a massive socialist. Down with big business! Down with multinational corporation! Down with class-based society! Yada yada yada don't be mean to anyone existentialism racism is naughty, drugs can be cool (Dagenham...) you get the drift.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Bonged.)
    ...your point is?
    So why complain about how school's are encouraging racism, when they're studying books about how you shouldn't be racist? I suppose studying Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech is also encouraging racism, is it? :rolleyes:

    Honestly, I would much rather have done Othello than "Feather Boy" *bangs head against wall* or "The Silver Child", I didn't get to do any real Shakespeare at school until I was 15. It's pathetic. Not that that stopped me, I'm just saying, I did some rubbish stuff at school. Some good stuff as well, but there was a high crap content in there. We didn't even do the real Frankenstein, and we did a play version of Dracula. What the hell was wrong with the originals?!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by aspirinpharmacist)
    So why complain about how school's are encouraging racism, when they're studying books about how you shouldn't be racist? I suppose studying Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech is also encouraging racism, is it? :rolleyes:

    Honestly, I would much rather have done Othello than "Feather Boy" *bangs head against wall* or "The Silver Child", I didn't get to do any real Shakespeare at school until I was 15. It's pathetic. Not that that stopped me, I'm just saying, I did some rubbish stuff at school. Some good stuff as well, but there was a high crap content in there. We didn't even do the real Frankenstein, and we did a play version of Dracula. What the hell was wrong with the originals?!
    I'm not saying that they're encouraging racism, they're just creating a hypersensivity and focus on race that really isn't required of children.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Bonged.)
    I'm not saying that they're encouraging racism, they're just creating a hypersensivity and focus on race that really isn't required of children.
    It's still a well-written book. Kids should be exposed to good literature. I had one English teacher who considered letting us study Twilight.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Eleanor13)
    We had to read An Inspector Calls, and I did get very annoyed over the utterly unsubtle preachyness of it. I can remember the 'guided discussion' seemed to be in total favour of the morals conveyed, which the majority of my classmates lapped up, without ever being encouraged to argue for the opposition. I seem to remember the coverage of HG Wells' Time Machine being taught a little better though.. Otherwise, I don't think there was much bias in what we covered in English. Actually, due to budget constraints I think my teachers were stuck teaching the books their predecessors had already bulk bought 15 years prior.

    What I did have a problem with was both science and religious studies.

    Though I can no longer remember any examples off the top of my head, I do remember being very frustrated with how little actual science knowledge and teaching of basic principles went in to my science curriculum. I remember a fair few opinion based questions based of minimal statistics, and I was never really taught the core principles, particularly in physics.

    RE : Well perhaps I suffered from never having a specialist teacher in the subject, through secondary school I was taught RE by a maths/ICT teacher and two 'humanities' teachers who had degrees in geology and environmental science, the latter of which was clueless and taught straight out of the textbook. But regardless of this I feel RE education as a whole truly suffers from the curriculum and exam specifications seriously restricting the possibility of students learning to enquire in to human belief systems. Our study into the world religions was at a purely superficial level. It was simply being told what the religious buildings were like, what the major festivals were, the most common practises and rituals, with a brief explanation of what they believed and why (usually 'because the scriptures say so' kind of explanation). No one was asked to question things through, it was just presented as a 'isn't the world an amazing multicultural world where we all get along in complete harmony'. A proper grounding in principles of philosophy and how to think would serve us better I think.

    Due to this I think, particularly the RE, the misinformation and the restriction of the curriculum into chunks of information only useful in an exam and not for the real world is a method of social engineering in itself.
    Isn't that what GCSEs are now, teaching you how to pass exams? Thinking is not required.
 
 
 
Poll
Have you ever experienced bullying?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.