On Wed, 15 Dec 1993 13:40:05 -0500 Daniel B. Case said:
>A right to watch is not a duty to watch-there is also the right not to watch.
>The notion of human rights is based on the idea that people can make a certain
>amount of choices for themselves. If you were prevented from seeing "Taxi zum
>Klo" and you wanted to, wouldn't you invoke that priniciple? The students'
>to refuse to watch it is the same right as your right to watch it if you want.
>What would I have done? Explained ahead of time what was going to be in the
>(Having seen it, I say that no one should be unaware of its contents before
>seeing it)-I think that probably had a lot to do with the students' outrage.
>Daniel Case State University of New York at Buffalo
Daniel, I applaud your position. A classroom should be a "safe" place, a
place of civility, communication, exchange, where participants (students and
teachers)can expand their awareness, deepen their understandings. I do not
believe this ever happens through shock effects, confrontations backed by
power plays, whether by students or teachers. You can get people to stretch,
move into unfamiliar territory, entertain provocative ideas, only by eliciting
their good will. Dumping sophisticated material on students who aren't ready
to handle it will only result in a closing off of discourse, not an
expanding of it. I have been hearing a lot of horror stories about cultural/
ethnic confrontations between students who are forced into collaborative
projects with others that they are not yet comfortable enough to work with
productively. Provocative course material and collaborative projects can be
immensely rewarding, but not when administered through force.