Youth culture is a joy not a demon

3rd March 2000 at 00:00
I WAS angered and depressed but not at all surprised by your front page story "Young tainted by popular culture" (TES, February 11).

This is just the kind of reactionary nonsense I have come to expect from Chris Woodhead. Is he really so bigoted that he would dismiss all popular culture as bad? He's probably forgotten that generation after generation of young people has gone through the rite of passage (usually unscathed) of dressing like complete idiots and listening obsessively to truly dreadful music.

He's probably overlooked the fact that popular culture is home to a huge diversity of very talented individuals all contributing something to the rich cultural heritage that we have in this country.

Is he seriously trying to suggest that teachers should attempt to deny young people the freedom to explore their identities and their ideas through experimenting with styles of dress and musical taste?

Of course there are elements of popular culture that are unsavoury and that has alway been the case. I do not think it is my job as a teacher to tell young people what they should and should not listen to. I like to discuss all kinds of issues with my pupils from popular culture to Section 28 and I feel I am doing my job best when,through debate and discussion, my pupils form their own conclusions and judgments.

Over the 11 years that I have been teaching, the most interesting and interested pupils I have worked with have been those with a lively curiosity about social and cultural issues. It also seems to me that most of the joy in being a young person has been taken away and now Woodhead appears to be suggesting that the teaching profession embarks on some sort of crusade to destroy the "Demon" of popular culture.

Well, he can count me out. There really is much more to life than the classroom and it scares me that the teaching profession appears to be losing sight of that more and more.

Jo Leak

Park Lodge

Grainsby Lane

Grainsby, Lincolnshire


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