Monday, May 27, 2013

Reflecting the Real World

Today's Winnipeg Free Press published "Inclusion in the classroom: Teachers support adding sexual-orientation themes to all curricula."  Here is my response:


...teachers need to know they can reflect the real world without worrying what the school board will do to their careers,” says Nick Martin in “Inclusion in the classroom.” This is a reference to teachers being able to acknowledge the LBGTTQ community in all facets of the education they give but if this is indeed a truth—that teachers need to be able to reflect the real world—then why is a teacher's job threatened if she tries to reflect the real world of Christianity? If “an advanced math class studying string theory might discuss how British mathematician Alan Turing was driven to suicide when his homosexuality was made public,” why might a physics class not discuss Blaise Pascal's Wager?

If the “real world” is to be reflected by teachers in their classrooms, this needs to be done across the board and not just for isolated topics. As Paul Olson said, “There shouldn't be these tiered realities.” And if that's so, then why not the reality of a teacher praying for a student whose father has just left the family or whose mother was out all night drinking, leaving the student and her siblings unattended? For that matter, why not the reality of a Muslim teacher prostrating herself at the front of the classroom during the call to prayer or a Jewish teacher wearing his prayer shawl?

It is true that Christians have treated homosexuals abysmally and unjustly.  It's about time Christians offer an apology to the gay community as is being done this weekend at Gay Pride events around the world--not to say our theology is wrong but rather that our attitude and behaviour has been prideful and sinful.  

Yes, the classroom needs to reflect the real world but it needs to reflect all aspects of the world and not just those that are currently politically popular.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like it or not, Canada is a secular nation. Public schools in Canada are funded by tax payers, who pay, regardless of their religious/political beliefs. So "a teacher's job may be threatened if she tries to reflect the real world of Christianity" because Christianity does not have a place in a public school. Neither does Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam or any other faith. To do so in a public place that is funded by tax payers could be seen as imposing a religion upon people who do not want a/your religion imposed on them.

That being said, if a teacher feels the need to pray on their own time for a student who is in a troubled situation, then by all means that is their right.

When you say that "the classroom needs to reflect the real world but it needs to reflect all aspects of the world and not just those that are currently politically popular", which parts of the real world did you have in mind? Murder? Rape? Colonialism? Racism? Discrimination? These are all facets of the 'real world'. To what end do you suggest that teaching about the 'real world' stop? Or is it just the 'real world of Christianity' you are interested in teaching? If so, that is what privately-funded Christian schools are for.