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To think this wasn't managed well

(105 Posts)
Sallywebsterneedsyourvote Sun 20-Nov-16 16:25:44

Name changed.

I am part of a group, and we all have children via donor conception. Some opted for this due to health concerns but of course a few are single women or same sex couples.

A good friend's son (age 14) was in an RE lesson where the teacher decided to have a debate on the ethics of this practice. This meant the poor boy had to sit for an hour listening to his classmates state what awful,
selfish people would do this hmm

AIBU to think this was really poorly handled?

PberryT Sun 20-Nov-16 16:28:19

I can see both sides, he can't spend his whole life shielded from how he came into the world. I'm sure he could have put a useful perspective to the debate also with how he feels about his conception.

Do you know he had to sit and only hear one side of the argument? If so then that is badly handled. Otoh if it was a well managed class debate then I don't really see the issue.

Thattimeofyearagain Sun 20-Nov-16 16:28:38

Yanbu, its a sensitive subject and needs to be treated as such.

Sallywebsterneedsyourvote Sun 20-Nov-16 16:30:02

He knows how he came into the world, all our children do from a very early age.

But no sensible teen is going to share that with the class.

Perhaps I've used 'debate' misleadingly as it was 'inviting the class to share their views' which were not positive (unsurprising as teenagers tend to be very conservative in their opinions at this age.)

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Nov-16 16:30:46

If said RE lessons are merely being used as a vehicle to trash groups of people I think I'd be opting out as well as complaining.

There are always going to be discussions in classes about sensitive subjects. But I think it's possible to give personal opinions and your reasons behind them without being spiteful and cruel...

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Sun 20-Nov-16 16:33:28

I think the other children sound weird.

DS is that age and wouldn't even have an opinion on the matter. Let alone a negative one he'd happily share in class.

Is the donor thing such an issue? Wouldn't even cross my mind.

Are you not in the UK?

welcometowonderland Sun 20-Nov-16 16:34:10

Hmm I think it's possible to have a discussion respectfully about such matters, and there's nothing wrong with others expressing their views.
Are you sure that they were saying "awful and selfish " people do this?

Sallywebsterneedsyourvote Sun 20-Nov-16 16:35:30

Yes, we are in the UK.

I don't think they are weird. Teenagers are often po faced about such matters. They will state abortion is 'well tight' and similar. It often isn't until you are older and recognise nuances in situations your opinions become less black and white, which is why I think bringing it up at all is unwise and quite ill-judged.

Seryph Sun 20-Nov-16 16:37:24

Actually I (quite a sensible teen some times) often shared my views and opinions on adoption as I was adopted at 8 weeks old.
I also don't find teenagers to be conservative, they tend to be more left wing than most adults!

Also, why did they think donor conception was selfish? That really make no sense whatsoever, I could understand if it was a discussion on adoption or abortion, but this seems a little off.

Sallywebsterneedsyourvote Sun 20-Nov-16 16:39:27

Because you are putting your own desire for a child ahead of everything else.

Many of the comments gravitated around 'why don't they (the parents) adopt.'

You will often find with regard to matters like this - ethics - teenagers take quite a fixed and sometimes extreme view.

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Sun 20-Nov-16 16:40:28

But being adonor is the opposite of selfish. (I was going to donate eggs once but it didn't work out.)

Makes you wonder if the teacher 'swayed' their comments because of personal beliefs.

Seryph Sun 20-Nov-16 16:40:38

Also, sorry OP, but I don't believe any teenager has ever referred to abortion as 'well tight'. (Which by the way is a good thing)

Sallywebsterneedsyourvote Sun 20-Nov-16 16:41:50

Well it must just be the ones I know then smile

King, no, they weren't saying the donors were selfish. They were saying the people using donated eggs or sperm to have a child were.

PurpleDaisies Sun 20-Nov-16 16:42:35

I don't agree that "bringing it up at all" was ill judged. Those sorts of issues are good situations for thinking about the ethics of the situation. It sounds like she didn't run the lesson very well.

When I do debates with students I assign them a side so they have to properly consider the issue, even if they don't ageee with the position they've been given. Personal opinion rarely comes into it in a group setting although they usually write a summary to me with their justified thoughts as part of any work set around it.

Did the teacher even know that your friend's son was donor conceived?

AChickenCalledKorma Sun 20-Nov-16 16:42:51

I do feel for him. But on the other hand, RE lessons frequently include debates and teenagers can be pretty "forthright" in the way they express themselves. My 14yo has had to listen to some pretty ignorant stuff about the faith which she (by her own choice) follows.

With his background, by the age of 14 I'd say this is something that he needed to have thought through in his own mind, so that he's ready to speak up about it. If he truly didn't feel able to, that's probably a more important thing to worry about. And if he didn't say anything, the teacher wouldn't have had any idea that the lesson was hitting a nerve.

Sallywebsterneedsyourvote Sun 20-Nov-16 16:43:12

No, it isn't something you tend to advertise, for obvious reasons smile

PurpleDaisies Sun 20-Nov-16 16:48:06

I don't think they are weird. Teenagers are often po faced about such matters. They will state abortion is 'well tight' and similar. It often isn't until you are older and recognise nuances in situations your opinions become less black and white, which is why I think bringing it up at all is unwise and quite ill-judged.

You know some unusual teenagers. Most in my classes as far more liberal than their parents.

Laiste Sun 20-Nov-16 16:48:16

This sort of subject is one of those which should have had a very detailed lesson plan in place.

And been taken by a teacher who was experienced and confident enough to manage the debate properly. For reasons that it's very easy to think of!

Manged debate around social ethics within an educational setting is important to get right. I'd be expressing my concerns about how this went personally.

Trills Sun 20-Nov-16 16:53:29

When I do debates with students I assign them a side so they have to properly consider the issue, even if they don't ageee with the position they've been given.

That sounds much more sensible PurpleDaisies - teenagers are unlikely to have thought about the issue much (or any issue, unless it particularly affects them) so just asking them for their own views won't produce an interesting or meaningful discussion.

Sparlklesilverglitter Sun 20-Nov-16 16:55:47

I think it is possible to discuss/debate such things in a fair way but I do wonder how much influence the teacher had over what her pupils thought, I mean a 14 year old thinking it's selfish etc.

I do however think it's something that should be spoke about to young children because people do have children by donors. Just needs a good lesson plan in place to do so

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Nov-16 16:59:01

We used to have all sorts of debates at school.


Amongst others.

Our teacher was very careful to make sure we were given unbiased facts. We were encouraged to listen to others. And we were asked to back up our opinions. He would then tell us fir instance that that was the same ethical dilemmas the <insert relevant body eg medical board etc here> but we were then asked for instance if we could think of any way to eliminate the dilemma etc

Some people changed their minds others didn't but the whole class were able to discuss almost any subject without being horrid to each other. Nor did the teacher have an agenda to push us one way or the other

It can be done and I loved those lessons...

JaniceBattersby Sun 20-Nov-16 16:59:40

I think philosophical discussion in an RE lesson is appropriate and relevant. As with any subject like this, here will always be a range of views, but it is important for teens to be exposed to these views so they can inform their own opinions. My RE lessons at school were always very heated and very interesting. There are always going to be people affected by these issues - we can't just ignore them.

MargaretCavendish Sun 20-Nov-16 17:02:18

A lot of people have disagreed with OP about teenagers being quite socially conservative in some ways, but this is my experience of both my own youth and university students (particularly first years). They are quite often overtly left-wing but quite morally judgemental - ask them about infidelity, in particular, and prepare for it all get quite Old Testament! I agree that life experience tends to make people better at seeing shades of grey, recognising that good people don't always make perfect choices, etc.

Pinkheart5915 Sun 20-Nov-16 17:04:55

I think some teachers do influence too much what the class thinks sometimes. Very different but I remember being 14 my uncle hadn't long had a brain haemorrhage and died, when he died his organs were donated. In a RE lesson shortly after that the teacher was discussing/ telling us her views on organ donation and how it's wrong, they don't go to heaven etc, and of course the majority of the class copied what teacher had said. I came out of that lesson in tears.

If your a teacher surely your job is to help students decide for themselves, which means letting them explore both sides of the argument. Not focus your lesson on what you think, that is just preaching

Children are born by donor and while I think it should be discussed that should be without a biased teacher influencing the class and a solid lesson plan in place

EatTheCake Sun 20-Nov-16 17:13:08

My eldest dd is 15 and I am have had a couple of times when I've been called in about a RE lesson. Last week they were discussing about gay marriage and the teacher tells them " No opinion can be wrong" so DD writes her piece about everyone should be able to marry however they like etc and the teacher disagrees and while that in itself isn't wrong telling DD gay marriage is wrong without the teacher explaining herself is not a debate.

Sometimes I think teachers struggle to separate what they think from teaching. You do not preach at children about what you think, you do not refuse to listen to children's argument if different from yours!
Children need both sides of the argument in order to make there own minds up.

I think if you give teens the opportunity they can have views on all things from donor children, gay marriage, abortion. I know my DD has an opinion on those things

I do think to discuss things like donor conception in schools you need a non biased teacher and a good lesson plan

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