Wednesday, February 22, 2012

This Course Is Adults Only

Do children belong in grad school classes?
It happened again last night. An adult student brought children to my graduate-level education course. . . . Another problem is trying to figure out how to handle controversial discussions and remarks that are perfectly acceptable for graduate students but may not be appropriate for an impressionable child. For instance, if the topic for the night includes issues related to bullying, sexual misconduct, abuse of power, or teacher dismissal, does everyone in class have to make sure everything they say would receive a G rating? Graduate students may censor their own comments out of concern about what the child will tell others that he or she heard in our class. Additionally, students may make remarks in my classroom about the schools where they work. Their classmates know that the comments are to be treated with confidentiality, but a child may not know that. Some of my students may even work in the child's school, which provides an additional potential conflict of interest. On nights when a parent has brought a child to a graduate class, the adult students are definitely aware of the child's presence. No matter how unintrusive the parent says the kid will be, Junior is a distraction. The other students watch the child. Some interact with the child instead of paying attention to the class activities. Some students whisper comments about the child to each other. The child is certainly not invisible to the rest of the class.
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1 comment:

Claire said...

Children belong in elementary school, not grad school. There were parents that brought their kids into my grad school classes, and it was absolutely a distraction. I sympathize with the parent that has no other choice, but the child is definitely present and alters discussions.