Monday, September 19, 2005

No More Pencils, No More Books

The last time I was at my parents' house, I went digging through boxes and boxes of old books. One of my discoveries was Look and Learn, a science book for first graders from 1943. Since the book was designed for "the pre-reader," it is mostly pictures.

From the Teacher's Notes:

Habits of accuracy in observation and report, habits of intellectual honesty and openmindedness, and habits of seeing relationships are important, not only in the field of science, but in all fields of knowledge.

(Sadly, this is a list of habits I feel most of my first semester freshman lack!)

Anyways, many of the illustrations, despite their sunny goldenness, are pretty disturbing.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, given the book's vintage, at how outwardly sexist the "We Grow Up" page is. Women sew, men write. And what's up with all the bar imagery in the first two panels for the little girl? And by the time the girl gets some wheels, the boy is already reading books? Not fair.

Interestingly, these illos bear an eerie similarity to the one below, only instead of comparing men and women, this one compares "wild" and "domesticated" animals -- those that are free and those that are kept and provided for by their owners.

Though the style of illustration is, admittedly, somewhat charming (even in it's accidental irony), I can't help but wonder how such a book made children (particularly non-white, non-middle class children) feel.

And I can't help but wonder how students of the contemporary science classroom might be affected by this whole intelligent design debate. The National Center for Science Education website has a rather comprehensive list of articles chronicling the debate (which makes it clear that intelligent design is just a trojan horse for god). And if that doesn't get your ire up, check out this really stupid article about how recent events (such as September 11th) are being presented in high school history books.


tomas said...

Yeah, those are some creepy picks. I like the one with the, what is it in its mouth, a rat or something, of the "wild" feline.

Heeeyyy, what's up with the redneck comment about backward Texans complaining about the science of fossil fuel formation blurring biblical timelines? That's what this brownneck would like to know. (note: as he pulls up his boots and proceeds to feed his horse some oats) :)

Crystal said...

Well, the pics aren't too far off! I read this article from NYT Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood, and it's worth checking out! I'm not sure the women of this nation are really ready to be leaders and to have power. That makes me sad.

vente said...

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Merci pour est un bon blogger.