Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Burn the Dictionary!


I just heard a news story about parents insisting their children's grade 4/5 teacher remove the dictionary from their classroom to prevent students from looking up inappropriate words. "Oral sex" was their main concern.

I'm not saying every tidbit of knowledge is appropriate for every age group (hell, kids should definitely not be reading my work) but for goodness sake, people, children are curious little beggars. They're going to find out about these things one way or another and if they have the presence of mind to look a word up, it's obviously percolating in their quickly-expanding brains.

When I was a child--younger than grades 4 and 5, as I recall--we did the very same thing. My friends and I had three dictionaries to work from. We'd look up naughty word in the french dictionary just to see if they were there. Next, we'd look them up in the french-to-english dictionary for translation, and finally move on to the english dictionary to find out if the meaning was the same. As we discovered, some words that are naughty in one language are entirely innocuous in another. (Except for the word "cock"--that one's pretty universally euphemistic LOL)

Children are like cats--naturally curious. Where they differ is that children are not going to die from looking up words in the dictionary! Removing a classroom's dictionary is akin to book-burning in my mind. It's revolting. Parents, this is what educators refer to as a "teachable moment." You might feel uncomfortable dealing with it, but pretending "bad" words don't exist is not going to help your child's development!

I just pulled out my Oxford English Dictionary to look up the word in question.

ORAL SEX - noun Sexual activity in which the genitals of one partner are stimulated by the mouth of the other.

That's what everybody's so upset about. Hmm...maybe if they were getting a little more of it, they wouldn't be so fussy. Just a thought.

Hope you have a censorship-free day!
Bright Blessings,
Giselle Renarde

1 comment:

  1. Oh for Heaven's sake! When I worked as a tutor I had my work cut out for me trying to get kids to look words up (and stuff in the encyclopedia etc.) for themselves instead of just expecting me to spoonfeed them everything. There are worse things than kids demostrating curiosity and initiative!