Is Chris Brown's Arrest a Teachable Moment?

Invariably in the course of a classroom, curriculum is put on hold for the almighty "teachable moment." These are the moments that pop up unexpectedly, and provide an invaluable opportunity to teach the students a "deeper" life lesson. It might come along when a student says something like, "I'll never be good at math." It might manifest in a worse way, like a student making fun of another's race or sexuality.

The teachable moment rarely comes when you're prepared for it, and you're never guaranteed to handle it gracefully or even appropriately. If a teachable moment strikes at the wrong time, you might just roll your eyes, sigh and move on with what you intended. Other times you can seek out a teachable moment, which was my thought when I read about Chris Brown's scandalous arrest last night for domestic violence.

Now it might seem strange that I would consider this UsWeekly scandal a teachable moment. I'm definitely not a fan of Chris Brown's music, so his arrest might seem an unlikely discussion point for my classroom. But here are my thoughts on the other hand: Chris Brown is basically a god to my students, especially the girls. To say they idolize him is a gross understatement. Now he's the subject of a domestic violence investigation and I have to wonder what my students are thinking. Another wrinkle in the conversation is the fact that my students are much more likely to have witnessed domestic violence in their homes than most kids their age.

Is this a can of worms I want to open? More than anything I want to make it clear to my students that violence is never an acceptable means of resolution. I want my girls to know that nobody ever has the right to hurt them, and the boys to realize it's never okay to inflict harm on someone else. Lastly I want them to know that anyone who would commit violence against a partner, regardless of their past, is unworthy of their adulation. Now whether that's a teachable moment I have in my classroom will depend on a few more days of soul searching.

Comments

samax said…
i think it's a good idea to take advantage of it whenever you can bring high ideas down to a kid's ground-level thinking.

that said, watch your step...
I always use pop culture in my class, so I say go for it. An important lesson for the kids is always useful, and when the Post basically provides your lesson, you'd be foolish not to take advantage of it.

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