Now, three things I want to address before I get into my blog.
- I understand that this segment is called, “Somewhere in America,” but that doesn’t mean that it does not apply to us. I am aware of the title of our course, but I think this video carries some very important messages.
- My main interest in this segment is the mention of censorship by schools and by the government. However, I am also interested in the mission of “Get Lit,” a non-for profit organization focused on teaching teens about literacy. I will talk a little bit about “Get Lit,” but if you’re interested in learning more about them, check out their website: http://getlit.org/getlit/
- I do not own the rights to this video. This video was borrowed from YouTube. If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste it into your browser, or search “Changing the World, One Word at a Time!”
This video came to me through Facebook, and I think the general message it carries is very important. Like Get Lit, I wanted to spread the word about this organization and the work that they are doing for youth, not only in America, but also, as we live in the technological age, the world. A catchphrase for Get Lit is “Words Ignite” and I would love to spread this video around like wildfire, so please, if you haven’t already, watch the video, show it to your friends, post it on your own blog, your Facebook, MySpace (is that still around?), Twitter, Instagram, etc., etc., because we should embrace our role in the technological age and spread the important messages, because if I read another damn thing about Kanye or Kim Kardashian, I swear I’m going to scream…loudly… and probably all over social media.
Get Lit’s “Mission” and “Vision” say it all. This organization’s programs are “designed to boost literacy, foster cultural understanding, and encourage creative self-expression.” They aim to “empower youth to succeed by drawing connections between the emotions and experiences fuelling the work of classic writers to the complexities and struggles teens face in their daily lives” (http://getlit.org/getlit/about-us/). This organization acknowledges the importance of literature and the role it plays in young adult lives, and in my opinion proves why censorship in classrooms is damaging to the learning environment. For example, in this video, the girls powerfully explain that the reason they are not allowed to read Maya Angelou in school is because they are not allowed to discuss rape. They say, “Just because something happens doesn’t mean you have to talk about it;” a problem that I believe could be remedied by the open discussion of “inappropriate” content in the classroom.
For me, the amount of information so easily accessed nowadays is sometimes a little frightening; especially for youth/young adults/adolescents (pick your definition and role with it). The level of accessibility to “young adults” is why I feel so strongly about censorship in schools. It is pretty obvious (as shown in this video) that if students don’t find something in the classroom, they WILL find it elsewhere. (Like come on, the KKK website is open to the public, but kids can’t read To Kill A Mockingbird because of the use of the N-Word.) As a future education student and future parent, I would much rather have my students/children learn about these topics that have been deemed “inappropriate” or even outlawed, in an environment that encourages discussion, questions, and provides the services/an outlet to help answer and even deal with these “real life” questions and issues.
If you want to do the math of the amount of time a student spends in the classroom with their teacher (8 hours/day, typically 5 days/week, almost 10 months/year, for 12 years) you can see just how much influence that teacher can have on that one student. Now multiply that one student to say 30 students/year for 20 years (as a teacher, potentially). Yay, math! So, if this teacher did not spend one single minute in all that time in all those years dealing with any of these “harsh reality” topics, you would be sending your kid into a world with no idea what to do with themselves, or how to deal with anything. Catch my drift?
I believe that organizations like Get Lit are opening eyes to these worldwide issues, and are paving the way to a greater understanding and hopefully a change in practices that will benefit rather than hinder young adults in their learning and growing experiences. I encourage everyone to check out the Get Lit website, watch the many videos on YouTube dedicated to “Changing the World, One Word at a Time,” and spread the messages they send like wildfire, because “Words Ignite.”