My Role in the Classroom
In my previous post, I mentioned that I have concerns about the "adult" topics that I know children are exposed to through music and media. I feel like I am promoting censorship for having these concerns even though I try to avoid acting on them as I mentioned earlier. As I read Negus' chapter about politics and music, I realize that this urge opine about what others listen to is not just because I am a teacher. According to Negus, people in power have been trying to manage how and which music is heard for centuries.
I do not want to manage what children listen to. I want them to be able to be intellectually prepared to experience all kinds of music. I am unsure of how much I can be involved with that as a teacher. There are some things I feel parents would prefer to talk to their kids about. When kids ask if Santa is real, I am confident telling my students to talk to an adult at home about that, and I know that the parents appreciate that. Would they be okay with me teaching about popular music in the classroom?
As I got to the end of the chapter, I started to release myself from the burden of trying to prepare my students for all of the "adult" content in popular media. I buy into Negus' argument music is a medium that provides knowledge gaining experiences (222). My job is to create an environment where music in general is valued as an experience. We sing a little in second grade, but we could sing more. To start of the year, this would be a wonderful way to build community. Then, I could find songs that we could analyze and sing together as an extension of our Social Studies curriculum and our literacy program. I may not be able to solve the problem of how to "protect" the kids from controversial music, but preparing them to be aware of their musical experiences and understandings is a better goal anyway.