Friday, May 16, 2014

Friendly advice to foreign professors, brought to you by Pearson

"Nunca haga comentarios racistas, machistas, feministas, o que puedan resultar ofensivos para las personas que pertenezcan a otros grupos raciales o sociales." ("[In the classroom] never make racists, machistas, FEMINIST or any kind of comment that may be offensive to students that belong to other racial or social group")*

This was included in a document titled "Sugerencias para profesores del extranjero", ("Suggestions for foreign professors"). The document is a part of the Instructor Resources that come along with a Spanish language textbook published by Pearson. The rest of the document is only slightly less offensive. I just can't...

*Feel free to correct the translation if you don't think it is accurate.

10 comments:

  1. While it seems straightforward, I had colleagues in grad school who never really seemed to get that advice. Or if they heard it they didn't understand it, and especially not what it might mean in a US-student context.

    Nevertheless one would think that the department chair or section head would take care of that piece of advice rather than the textbook company!

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    1. My problem is that they put feminism in the same category of racist and machista

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  2. Who could be offended by the thought of women being treated like human beings instead of slaves? Hello, the 21st century is calling.

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  3. HA! I may have access to this document since I teach with a Pearson book. I'll check it out, though I've been forewarned about its content! Crazy, huh?

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    1. Yep. I liked "Treat students with respect". I wouldn't have known, otherwise. I'll send you a copy, if you want

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  4. original anon here: I totally blanked on feminista part. Well that's just bullshit! I'll be as feminist as I want, thanks very much!

    None of the courses I teach use any Pearson books but we are finally retiring a bullshit language textbook that I had to constantly contradict when it came to the "culture" sections dealing with gender and race (among other things).

    I still think that the textbook publisher is not the appropriate venue for this kind of advice, though.

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    1. I agree with all you say. Now if you know of a textbook where the cultural sections do not suck, let me know. I finally started creating my own alternative lessons because they are so infuriating (so instead of a lesson about "Los remedios caseros en el mundo hispano", I created a lesson about Latin American Science Nobel Prizes

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    2. That's awesome (the Nobel Prize lesson, not the crappy textbook culture.) I don't always teach courses in the 100-200 level sequence so the crap has kind of snuck up on me so far, though I did come up with a pretty awesome Semana Santa lesson (v. appropriate at a religious college). That and I'm fighting against some contingent faculty who argue that all students really need from these classes is "culture" (meaning random trivia) therefore worrying about actually teaching any kind of communication (much less grammar) is just dumb and must be because I have a PhD. Sigh.

      I know this is an older post but I can't wait to hear more about your online teaching experience - my department doesn't offer any online courses at the moment but I have a colleague (teaches a different language) who is investigating it.

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    3. Culture as random trivia drives me nuts. Although I discovered that there are dolphins in Ecuador, who knew? The book my department was using (and we are getting rid off) had a lesson about Panama where there was no mention of the US intervention in the civil war and later construction of the Panama Canal.

      I will write more extensively about the online teaching experience. So far, I can say that you could probably do some cool classes online, but not at the beginners level nor in a 6 weeks summer session.

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  5. It is a certain kind of low-rent foreigner who needs this, and low-rent natives need it too but are not teaching foreign languages.

    When I write my academic advice book I will have advice for low-rent assistant professors. Do not invite people who will vote on your tenure case to smoke crack with you. Do not hit on them. Do not call them at home and ask them to gang up with you against other tenured faculty. Do not assume you can date them. Etc. *All* of these things have happened to me ... I would have assumed that such behavior would get one booted out before tenure, but men who do these things are forgiven.

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