Young Adult Lit/Crit

April 9, 2008

The all school meeting

Filed under: ENDGAME — scrollman @ 2:08 pm

In the Alternative School where I work, we have all school meetings modeled after the Summerhill program in England.  I think all school meetings, or even all grade meetings if the school is big, can create the kind of learning community which might combat a school culture in which bullying is allowed to flourish; where kids feel isolated from their peers and teachers, and alienated from the community at large.  Let me know what you think.

Jonathan

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Weakfish, by Michael Dorn

Filed under: ENDGAME — scrollman @ 12:39 pm

Although I have not read this book, I watched a video on bullying in schools in which Michael Dorn spoke at length about his experiences with bullying, and how schools can create a culture which fights against it.  I’m not sure if this title counts as YA, but it is something I’ve been planning to read.   Check out some of the reviews.

Jonathan

 

Endgame: We need more community in schools

Filed under: ENDGAME — scrollman @ 9:45 am

Obviously the big question after reading Endgame is why teachers and adminstrators failed to pay attention to, and act on the bullying that was taking place toward Gray and Ross.  I think the reason lies in the culture of school and the lack of emphasis on building community.  For the majority of students and teachers across the country, school boils down to two things: academics and sports.  But shouldn’t school be about so much more than that?  If we’re sending our children off to be essentially raised by other people, shouldn’t we expect and demand that these institutions operate more like families than factories?  And when I say families, I really mean functional families, where there is nurture, love, dialogue, and support.  

Unfortunately, many schools are frightening places, where kids are scared, bullied, ostracized, and neglected.  Teachers and administrators are so focused on test scores that they don’t schedule time to build community within the school, and allow for student and teacher concerns to be discussed and addressed.   Students have their cliques, teachers have their cliques, adminstrators have their cliques, and we wind up with a very fragmented, and divisive school culture.  But if from day one, there were all school meetings, where a range of issues could be discussed (including bullying), where students, teachers, and administrators could address issues openly, and decide as a collective body what they want their school culture to be, and call each other to task on being vigilant (especially in the case of bullying), then perhaps there wouldn’t be as much desperation, victimization, and violence in schools.

Jonathan

ENDGAME

Filed under: ENDGAME — erinlbowman @ 8:14 am

This book was extremely depressing. It really makes you see how someone can be brought to do such a terrible thing. The ways in which he was bullied and received absolutely no support from those who should have been supporting him most, is so sad. I wanted to personally hurt these bullies, and the teachers who knew what was going on but did nothing about it.

Grey’s father was my least favorite character. He made me so mad in the ways that he ignored his son and made things so much worse. He was the least supportive father possible and he really helped the bullies in driving Grey to do what he did. His father yelled at him for everything whether he did it or didn’t do it, or whether he should be disciplining him or praising him. It didn’t matter. His mother didn’t help either. She was a poor excuse for a woman, being so weak and submissive. I think she was too afraid of Harry for her own good.

Perfect Peter and Lindsay were the only characters I really liked, they however didn’t help as much as they could have. Peter made things worse without even trying, just because he was exactly what Harry wanted Grey to be, the complete opposite of him. Peter enabled Harry to have something to compare Grey to, and to wish Grey was more like. This frustrated me more than anything. The least charismatic father in the world, Harry created the perfect atmosphere for Grey to become a murderer.

I really liked this book even though it was quite depressing. It brought me to tears a few times, and also made me feel sick. That shows the true power of Nancy Garden’s work. I think that this would be great for students, especially bullies, showing them the extremes of what they can drive people to do.

Erin

April 8, 2008

What a bunch of wussy teachers…

Filed under: ENDGAME — kariredmond @ 7:56 pm

After finishing Endgame I just feel like this book (well all the books for this week) really make us sit back and think about our roles in the school community.  How can we encourage more communication between “the ranks” so that they eventually dissapear.  With all this reading it makes you think about how every small act of kindness, as well as every small act of unkindness or disrespect has a profound impact on the formation of identity- and the formation of teenage angst.  I was SO frustrated reading this novel as a future teacher, with all the passive attitudes portrayed by school faculty towards bullying!! If only someone, anyone, had stepped up and actually looked into one of these accusations!

As educators, how do you think we can get our students to treat each other with more respect? I think reading these books are a good “baby-step” in the right direction! Also in Sarah’s seminar (which I DO plan on blogging about soon) she mentioned something called the Socratic discussion which gets EVERYONE in the classroom involved in a discussion, which could perhaps give a little better sense of community and safety in a learning environment as well.  What do you think?
~Kari

April 2, 2008

Copies of ENDGAME?

Filed under: ENDGAME — sunyprof @ 7:01 am

Does anyone need a copy of ENDGAME? I have a couple waiting for purchase at B&N and I can bring them to class on TH. Let me know. KES

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