10 comments
  1. I think you and your student also hit on why fans of anything can be so critical, especially when what we love does not live up to our expectations. We feel that we have invested our time, money, and even part of ourselves in enjoying [insert whatever it is here] and when it lets us down, we can even feel betrayed.

    A thought-provoking post.

    Although Michael Bay movies are shallow.

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  2. "it's not about the topic, but how well we think about the topic." I think I'm going to put this Lewis quote up on my classroom wall.

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    1. My best thoughts are ones that are rehashed ideas from C.S. Lewis.

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  3. Isn't it great to have students like this who make us think!

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    1. Makes me wonder how often I'm missing it when a kid isn't bold enough to speak up.

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  4. Terrific piece. Reminds me of a NatBd video I once saw. Middle School American History teacher is teaching a lesson on the civil war, with what looks like a football play on the whiteboard. The union horse cavalry is here (XX), the rebel foot soldiers here (OO), and have a creek to cross...etc etc. Camera pans to front row, where about three boys are riveted to this strategic discussion of 19th-century warfare. Remainder of the class is demonstrably "drifting."

    Girl raises her hand. "Did women wear hoop skirts during the civil war?" she asks. He barks at her--"Was I talking about that?"--and she is properly chastised. Teachers watching the video blanch at the sharpness of his disciplinary approach, and begin the discussion there, instead of the relative value of the historical content embedded in his lecture, her question.

    The good news: he later uses the video to reflect on the fact that his deep love of Civil War battle tactics (he's a re-enactor) is boring his class. Don't know whether he eventually gets around to cultural questions, about why women who worked in civil war hospitals were considered less than ladies (can't wear a hoop skirt when walking between fetid rows of men dying from gangrene or dysentery), but it was a start.

    Justin Bieber is shallow.

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    1. If someone watched a video of my entire year, they would see as much or worse. In the moment, it feels okay. Later, though, I end up realizing just how careful I need to be with my words.

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  5. Slight retractor:

    Some things are shallow. Some things are designed to be escapist. Some things are aimed at people who don't want to think. However, I think we should err on the side of caution when approaching the "this is shallow" argument. We shouldn't write off whole topics, interests or concepts. Skateboarding isn't shallow, but teachers might write that off as shallow. Comic books can have great depth (though a few are shallow).

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  6. As I read through the post, comments, and slight retraction, it strikes me that it becomes too easy to connect the dots for students when they bring me the "shallow things I like" such as baseball, comics, detective novels, or The Food Network.

    I need to question these students as tenaciously as I question the ones who come to me with shoes, romance novels, or reality TV.

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  7. Great post. I am sure many of us have had the same experience, but you capture it and expound on it well.
    I don't believe I have ever listened to Justin Bieber. My grandson's plastic pool here is shallow, add in his toys and plastic trucks and it has become "deep". :-)

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