Sunday, July 15, 2007

Read a book

How effective do you think this video is in getting reluctant readers to dive into a work of literature? WARNING: Contains explicit lyrics and is not appropriate for children (or, for that matter, most adults).

A personal aside on explicit lyrics: In 9th grade I was one of the first members of my class to own Body Count, a rap album that contained a number of highly controversial songs, the titles of which I am not going to list. I initially enjoyed listening to the record because of its shock value and "taboo" status, but over time I grew disinterested.

I don't think the vulgar language contained in the following video is necessary to communicate its positive message that reading is beneficial, but perhaps others will find that this "gloves off" approach to lyrical composition works.

* FINAL DISCLAIMER * Mr. B-G does not condone the use of offensive language in his classroom.

3 comments:

Jocelyn said...

Interesting video. We're having a conversation on our blog about how to improve the educational system in the US and specifically how to address the alarmingly high rate of illiteracy in this country.

Hope you will stop by and join the discussion. It's located here:
http://www.oddpodzblog.com/2007/07/question_of_the_week_no_1.html

Jocelyn

Rita said...

Ha! I would love to know how my AA students would react to it. I can't figure out how to manage it, though. One of my babies introduced me to a song about a student with straight F's last year that sounded very similar, but with the refrain being "Slap a D on that bi*!" That I found it hilarious was probably inappropriate.

The problem of the achievement gap I do think boils down to the lost habit of reading -- it is showing up in the white kids, but not to the degree it does in the AA kids. My district has managed to make big strides in math scores on the state test, but English is really lagging. We teach a LOT of AA authors, but they don't read that either. I'd love to think the panacea for the problem is as simple as a vulgar video on iTube, but I'm not an idiot.

Mr. B-G said...

I'm currently at the beach on vacation, so I won't have a chance to check out your illiteracy discussion for a few days.

Teaching reading is tough. In a culture where information is instantaneous, students expect that everything will be available to them at the click of a button.

The thoughtful, contemplative, exploratory, meditative, analytical, and connective skills that reading fosters take YEARS to develop. They also require a lot of hard work and patience.

Unfortunately, many of the attributes we'd like to instill in our students are not present in those who are running our country. I don't want to use my blog as a political platform to preach my beliefs, but the leadership vacuum in our country is far beyond the limits of acceptability.

It's no wonder students are disillusioned and skeptical about the authority figures in their lives. They have every right to be disgusted.

Our challenge is getting them to see that we, their teachers, can arm them with the skills and tools they need to begin the journey of making an unjust, corrupt world just.

We need them to believe that we are truly advocates for their success, not just additional pieces of a broken and disjointed puzzle.