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Need help from Jehovah's Witness mommies!!

Posted by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:26 PM
  • 31 Replies

I am an art teacher at an elementary school.  I teach at a school that is very diverse and each grade level is studying a certain country for the year.  They learn Chinese as part of their curriculum too.  As the art tacher it is my job to show the students art from other countries and discuss the tradiations and customs that go along with the art.  I do not do things for Halloween, Christmas, Easter etc.  We do Winter and fall, spring things.  I am very careful as to not offend anyone and talk about anything that could be against religious beliefs.

With discussing art from Mexico we are discussing Dios de los Muertos(Day of the dead) the celebration has TONS of colorful art that is amazing to show the kids.  I can make masks, puppets, costsumes, statues etc all around this theme.  I decided since the 3rd grade studies Mexico AND studies the skeletal system we would create decortations in the style of the Mexican artisist do for Day of the dead.  I spoke of the cultural ideas, not any religious ones.  I reminded the class that the skeletons are not to be scary they are to be in honor of ancestors.  This lesson will hit on art styles, cultural studies AND science.  We also will talk math and talk about symmetry of the human body.

I have a student who is a Jehovahs witness and he informed me that this is against his religion.  How do you mommies feel?  How can I teach about another countries culture and art without infringing on his religious rights?  I want to do right by this child.  BTW I teach at a school that the parents are not easy to get ahold of, the parents never really come to the school unless they are up in arms about something WE as teachers have done.

Help me be sensitive to this students beliefs and still teach my lesson or one similar!!!  I have taught this before and had no issuesd with the JW students saying a thing.

by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:26 PM
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Replies (1-10):
starfilled
by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:28 PM

IDK, that's hard.  Explain that you're not teaching the religion, just teaching the culture.  Send a note home to mom and ask if she has a problem with it.  If she does, come up with a different project for him only.

tabi_cat1023
by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:42 PM


Quoting starfilled:

IDK, that's hard.  Explain that you're not teaching the religion, just teaching the culture.  Send a note home to mom and ask if she has a problem with it.  If she does, come up with a different project for him only.

Mom won't respond I've tried before in years past.  I have adapted lessons when its just the product that may be an issue, but this time the WHOLE lesson is about the culture.  He says I can do the project but my mom will throw it away and it breaks my heart to think she'll toss out his work he works so hard on.

All it is is a skeleton with flowers and glitter on it.

MumsTheWord571
by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:45 PM

I think that if it's just a lesson on culture then it shouldn't be against their religion, and I don't see why his mom would throw it away. so bump for the JW mom's to look and respond for you.

earthangel1967
by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:48 PM

bump

Misurromommy
by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:48 PM
Bump
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tabi_cat1023
by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Thanks for the bumps!

TSR
by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Since it's a study of culture you wouldn't think it would be offensive to his religion, but most likely that will make no difference as his parents would probably insist that it's impossible to separate the culture and art from the religion since without the religion the other wouldn't exist.

I would suggest going to your principal to find out if his parents can 'opt him out' of the project like they do with sex ed. Maybe send a permission slip home and they have to sign it and send it back in. It sounds like an amazing opportunity for your students and I don't feel it's right to withold from the many because of the few. At least not in this instance.

Good luck

kremmels
by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:56 PM
Just curious where do you teach I think it would be awesome to learn Chinese and my son would love it.
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Kiwismommy19
by Diamond Member on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:57 PM
I don't have an answer for you. Just wanted to give a bump. And say I am really impressed. :-) Most (from my experience as a kid) teachers wouldn't go to the trouble to make it better for one kid like this. I hope you find the answers you're looking for :-)
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peachfuzz2009
by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 1:58 PM

 Well im one of Jehovahs witnesses and I see why He stated its against his religion to do this. But to avoid making this complicated...i will say that anything associated with the Day Of The Dead would be a subject our children shouldnt participate in. I could look up some scriptures that could give you a idea as to why we avoid such things but to keep things simple i will say....Just have him do a report on why he is abstaining from this project. He could prove his own point based solely on the scriptures and possibly get credit for the project but in a different way.

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