Monday, September 23, 2013

NCTE Twitter Chat Kicks Off Banned Book Week

Because of my research on the outlawing of Ethnic Studies/Mexican American Studies program in Tucson, AZ, I feel invested in discussions of banned books, especially since I used many of the MAS authors banned in my composition classes.

Last night, I took part in NCTE's online chat via Twitter to kick off Banned Book week. The participants ranged from teachers, students, authors, and even some policy makers, not a single of whom was in favor of banning books. However, I was intrigued by the different ways that experienced teachers and newcomers approached the issue and argued to defend the books they chose to teach. Some of the more interesting responses were things like:
  • You want to ban this book? Have you read it because I have and I'd talk to you about it if you'd like
  • A Guardian story about the importance of not lying to your children about difficult topics
  • Turning controversial material into teachable moments
  • Being a teacher-researcher so that teachers know about the books, controversies and can be prepared to have discussions with parents, students, and administration
Also in part because of my understanding of House Bill 2281, I was interested in the response of teachers who qualified the banned books that they would work to defend. Works like "worthy" and "legitimate" were used to describe the books that should be defended--I responded to a couple of arguments such as these, and asked how they define or decide the worth and legitimacy--I asked not to problematize for the sake of being critical, but because HB 2281 has shown that when going against ultraconservative legislators that book awards, student opinions, teacher opinions, and even research on the positive effects of courses with this literature do not change the minds of book banners.

The NCTE Twitter Feed on Storify

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