ERIC Number: ED365989
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994
Reference Count: N/A
Writing Assignments, Journals, and Student Privacy. ERIC Digest.
Nine years ago, many parents protesting the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (commonly referred to as the Hatch Amendment) accused the schools of invading student privacy in sex and drug education classes, in counseling sessions, and in English classes. Some parents testifying at hearings conducted by the United States Department of Education also rejected student journal writing and any speaking or writing assignments that called for the revelation of personal experiences. It is appropriate for teachers to remind students that effective writing often includes personal experience and concrete details, but the students should have the option of deciding what is to be shared with the teacher. Long before the hearings on the Hatch Amendment, textbook censors Norma and Mel Gabler found what they charged were invasions of privacy in a variety of textbooks--they objected to questions that call for students' opinions or declarations of values. Charges of invasion of student privacy cannot be dismissed lightly. Teachers, counselors, and administrators must consider carefully the classroom questions, activities, and assignments that call for the revelation of private information about students and/or their families. Guidelines developed by the National Council of Teachers of English suggest that teachers: explain that journals are not diaries but are concerned with the content of courses; do something active and deliberate with what students write; and award points for journals but not grade them. (RS)
Descriptors: Censorship, Elementary Secondary Education, Journal Writing, Parent Attitudes, Personal Writing, Privacy, Student Rights, Textbook Evaluation, Writing Assignments
ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication, Indiana University, 2805 E. 10th St., Suite 150, Bloomington, IN 47408-2698.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication, Bloomington, IN.