I belong to the teaching community on Livejournal and saw a post by a fellow English teacher discussing what the responsibility is of teachers to address homophobic language in the classroom. Chris Pearce does a great job of illustrating this common problem on his blog here (make sure you look at all 4 parts!).
I am of the opinion that any hateful “unsafe” language must be addressed and not tolerated. Homophobic slurs, racial slurs, religious slurs, the term “retard” etc all need to be dealt with. Especially working with the population that I currently teach I feel that we need to do a better job of keeping all of our students safe- not just physically but socially and mentally as well. And, as an English teacher I think I often have more opportunities than other subjects to help students have empathy towards others and learn about people different than them.
What do you think? Is it our job to change the way our students speak?
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