Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Censorship in a Time of War: The Devil's Advocate

On Amanda Crosby's class blog The Devil's Advocate (btw, one of my favorite blog names ever - particularly her tag line: Crosby's Position: A teacher's job is not to tell students what to think. A teacher's job is to encourage students TO think.), the students are having a lively discussion about censorship of the media, particularly in time of war. Viewpoints vary widely:
Emily: My opinion is that I think the government should always have the right to censor news media during a time of war. Otherwise, how will we know if the information we are receiving is accurate?

Sarah: The government wouldn't necessarily sensor the media to make sure it is putting out accurate information. They would sensor it to make sure the press didn't put anything they didn't like out there, and what they don't like isn't unreliable information.
As the conversation continues, it's interesting to see students outside of Ms. Crosby's class (which is a 9th grade U.S. History class) jump in. (I don't know all the students, but I know Ben and Hannah are not in the class. Ben and Hannah, if you read this, please leave a comment about how you discovered the Censorship blog post. Was it from the AHS Start Page or the Learning Network page on the AHS website, or word of mouth, or what?)

I think it would be great if readers of this blog who have an opinion on this topic head on over and leave a comment on The Devil's Advocate. I think extending the conversation through additional perspectives would really help the students as they grapple with this complex topic.


  1. I had Ms. Crosby as a freshman and loved her teaching, her class, and her blog. Ever since I left the class I have checked back for interesting topics of discussion.

    Although one of my goals for this year is to try and utilize the learning network more effectively to find other great discussions like this one.

  2. Like Ben, I had Crosby as a teacher last year for honors US history. I loved her blog last year and miss controversial conversations in history class, so I look at the blog (it's linked on my computer) every night because it is so much fun for me to jump in. I'm so happy that I have the ability. I wish this could happen on a school-wide level, I would love it if there were department-wide blogs that any student in any grade could post on that talked about important topics for students to think about.

  3. I'm not Ben or Hannah (last I checked), but I have been keeping up with Crosby's blog since my freshman year as well. I haven't posted recently but I'm still keeping up with it because she brings up a lot of interesting topics--and I doubt I'm the only one.

  4. So, Ben and Hannah and Tom, what does this mean? (Other than Crosby is a fantastic teacher.) Is this somehow filling a need for discussion/debate/inquiry by and for students that you don't think AHS is meeting? If so, what should we as a school change to meet that need?

    Or are you guys just exceptions to the rule? (I know you're all exceptional - I've seen each of you in action - but that doesn't necessarily make you exceptions.)

  5. Karl,

    You spoke today at MV high school. Thanks for your presentation. I would love to get into your 'loop' if you don't mind. I have had kids use blogs for class, but I found that there were too many problems with forgotten passwords, assessment (I know that should not stop me), and buy in from the students. Some students nerded out; some could not get in the groove. Any advice?

  6. @russell - Glad you enjoyed the presentation. Your questions are great ones, but too hard to answer in a comment on a post. We could setup a phone call or a visit if you'd like. I'll email you.

  7. I think to an extent we might be exceptions to the rule. There were a decent number of kids that never used the blog even while in her class, and even fewer came back.

    But I think at least among some of us there certainly is a need for such discussion. I don't know exactly how the school would fill it. I guess it would be kind of interesting to see a school wide blog where discussion issues were presented to the entire student body. There certainly are some kids who enjoy discussing just about anything. I'm one of them.

  8. @BenH - That's an interesting idea. I'm wondering about how that might look, whether the topics would need to be pretty AHS-related, pretty much not-AHS related, or a mix of the two. I'm also wondering whether I could recruit some teachers and students to be regular contributors and "moderators" if you will of the topics. Hmmm . . .