Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Leading the student 

Joanne Jacobs has found evidence of teachers using 9-11 to teach their own biases.
One of the more striking examples took place in Room 201 on Thursday afternoon at Washington High School in San Francisco, where teacher Martin Wolf deftly transformed a discussion of plot, setting and character in "The Lion King" into a focus on plot, setting and character on the world stage.

"In Iraq, we also have a setting," Wolf told the 10th-graders in his ethnic literature class, pointing out that the conflict, complications and climax of fiction are no less present in Baghdad and Washington.

"Yesterday, George Bush said that the 1,000 soldiers who have died in Iraq died fighting terrorism," Wolf said. "I wonder -- did they? Does George Bush believe this? Let's go back . . . "

He then recounted the events since Sept. 11 using slides filled with facts, photos and the vocabulary words "mujahedeen," "theocracy" and "secular."

. . . Later, Gwendolyn Samson, 15, said she found the lesson valuable because she hadn't known that Iraq was not responsible for Sept. 11.

Students like Gwendolyn were his "target audience," Wolf said -- the reason the lesson was important.

"We need to be an informed citizenry," Wolf said. "I'm planting the seeds."
Ri-i-i-ight. Planting the seeds.

And since when did 10th grade literature start using the "Lion King" as a text?