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Lord of the Flies, group of boys on a boat, ds2 only 11

(20 Posts)
nighbynight Sun 16-Oct-11 19:11:27

OK, ds1 and ds2 are at a private school, and they are in a class for children who need extra help handling the education system (in practise, mostly children from violent or very, very broken, but well-to-do, educated and middle class homes). High academic performance is expected from them, but most of the class have attitude or behaviour problems.
My sons are no angels, but they are among the best behaved in the class, and I know this because I have seen how many strikes for bad behaviour some of the others have, and mine have scarcely notched up any between them.

All the children at the school learn sailing, and next week it is the turn of the ds's class to go sailing for a week. There will be 12 boys and appropriate sailing tutors, plus their class teacher, on a boat. dd has been on one of these sailing weeks, and she loved it, but said that it was very stressfull being so close to her classmates, everything came boiling up to the surface etc.

Today I discovered that the ds's class teacher plans to read Lord of the Flies with the boys, and discuss it with them.
Now, I had this horrible book rammed down my throat when I was about 13 and utterly loathed it. Found it frightening, and abandoned it without finishing it (which I hardly ever do with books).
ds1 is 13, ds2 is 11. He is slightly fat and wears glasses. IIRC, isn't the one who gets killed (Piggy?) also fat with glasses?

I don't like the idea of the ds's being stuck on this boat for a week with all these little hooligans and this loathsome book.
Any book lovers/mothers/English teachers would like to put this in perspective, and give me your opinions about this slightly unorthodox method of teaching the boys?
Thanks for your thoughts.

Well, I am an English teacher and I think it is an absolutely superb book. I really don't like the way you describe the other children OR the book tbh but I do think that 11 may be a bit young for it, as it is v complex.

nighbynight Sun 16-Oct-11 19:26:24

Well I am a parent, so I feel free not to have to regard the kids in a professionally positive light, but only in the light of how they affect my children. Obviously, there is a lot of utterly atrocious behaviour that I haven't related here (and have no intention of doing so).

LynetteScavo Sun 16-Oct-11 19:46:51

If you don't think a text is suitable for your DC, you should raise it with the school, whatever the situation.

Presumably if the behaviour of these children was so bad the school wouldn't take them on the sailing trip. I think you should discuss your concerns with the teacher, and if not happy insist they don't go. Hopefully the class teacher will be able to reassure you though.

nighbynight Sun 16-Oct-11 19:50:55

I am going to raise it with the school. I don't have a text of this book at home, so can't look at it, hence the question.

Can't anyone answer my question, does Piggy die, and is he fat with glasses?

TeamDamon Sun 16-Oct-11 19:53:47

I am teaching to my GCSE lot at the moment. I wouldn't teach it below Year 10 though, because it deals with some quite complex social and moral issues.

Piggy is fat, wears glasses and has asthma. He is killed towards the end of the book when one of the other boys pushes a rock on to him.

RandomMess Sun 16-Oct-11 19:54:17

Yes Piggy dies and yes I think he is fat with glasses - well at least he was in the black and white film version which I inadvertently watched about aged 10 and gave me nightmares to the point that I was near hysterical when we started reading it for English. Was very relieved that for some reason we never really got started/finished with it.

Santac Sun 16-Oct-11 19:55:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nighbynight Sun 16-Oct-11 19:56:05

Thanks. How old is year 10?

I am VERY unhappy that ds2 will be reading it, whilst marooned on a boat with a bunch of aggressive boys. He will probably identify himself with Piggy.

nighbynight Sun 16-Oct-11 19:58:12

Santac, the school is a free school in Bavaria, and is utterly brilliant. It has normal classes and this experimental class for problem kids.
They have a very good record at motivating the children, but in this case, I think they may have gone a step too far with the alternative teaching methods.

Annelongditton Wed 19-Oct-11 14:38:29

DS is studying this book in year 7 as a class reader. It is studied every year because its a popular choice with prep schools to cover the "conflict" part of the common entrance English syllabus.
DS's teacher is a parent of a young boy herself, she is a very sensitive person as well as being very literary (1st Lit from Cambridge). I can't believe that she would teach a book unless she thought it was age appropriate, she's just not that kind of person.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 19-Oct-11 14:45:20

I studied this book at age 11 or 12 at school. Iirc at the end the boys are found, piggy has been killed just prior to this. The impression I seem to remember getting at the end is that the arrival of adults/impending return to civilisation brings the remaining boys back to earth with a bump. They realise what they've done, how bad it's been and there does seem to be a lot of upset/ regret.

Hopefully the teacher would use it as a learning tool for the kids, to make them aware of how their actions can affect others, of how bullying, mob mentality can get out of hand very quickly. It could be a good thing.

quirrelquarrel Fri 21-Oct-11 16:10:14

It is a very complex book, but it's one of those which has several levels.
I didn't really think about it for long but I remember I was absolutely struck by Piggy's glasses being smashed, of all things, nothing else but that shocked me. Quite put me off the rest.
There's something for everyone to pick up on in there, lots of angles. It can make for brilliant discussion or not.

alemci Fri 21-Oct-11 16:22:55

I think he may be a little young. this book is studied at GCSE level. I read it in Y10 years ago. It is quite disturbing but brilliant.

nokissymum Fri 21-Oct-11 16:24:18

So OP are your children in the "special class" for problem kids ? Also how are these pupils allocated for this particular class, is it via local education authorities ? Social services ?

nighbynight Sat 22-Oct-11 19:17:51

I didn't realise when we first got involved, that ss might be also involved, but apparently they pay the fees of some of the children. (They aren't anything to do with our family.) All the parents that I know, applied for the place themselves though.
I asked for a place for ds1 because he had been bullied (by his class teacher!) in another school and had closed himself off from teh whole school experience, saying nothing and not joining in.
ds2 was a mistake, I meant to apply for the normal class for him, but I know it is full, and they misunderstood and offered us a place in this other class, and the whole school is so brilliant that I accepted, thinking "well I can move him over later." I am almost sure that we would have got put on the waiting list if I had corrected the mistake. The teacher has said several times that ds2 is not aggressive and behaves well, so I am hoping to move him over.

I was a bit surprised at the level of bad behaviour though, I guess I thought that there would be other children like ds1, but actually they all seem like rowdies from posh families. There is one other boy who is there because he is very quiet and withdrawn, apparently he hardly ever speaks. He, my 2 ds's and one of the rowdies have established themselves as the 4 in the class who are competing for top spot.
The teaching is brilliant, very alternative, lots of physical exercise like building a log cabin, and tug-of-wars, as well as the sailing - ds2 has visibly lost weight, which is great. Both boys are doing more work than I have ever seen them doing in the school, which is also great, and they go through reams of homework without complaining.
The school sort of motivates the children to do well and waits for the penny to drop, instead of forcing them to do well, like the state schools. And it seems to work, because they get good exam results. But maybe that is because the children mostly come from homes with parents who care enough to pay fees. The teachers are mostly Waldorf-trained, although it is not a Waldorf school.
I spend half my time wanting to nominate the head for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the other half cursing him, because I have just had an email saying something like "Next week the children will go on a medieval camp for 3 weeks. Please ensure that your child has a complete wardrobe of medieval clothes, a suit of armour, a wooden chest and a sword. Please pay 250 euros to our bank account before the 25th."

By the way, I negotiated with the teacher that ds would go on the trip, but would not read LOTF. He will join in with general class discussions about bullying, but will do other things while the class is reading the book. I hope this works.
I don't know why lit teachers give children such frightening books like War of the Worlds, Day of the Triffids, Lord of the Flies. Some children get terrified by them (even today, I have never seen a shooting star, because I am too scared to look at the sky when they are forecast !!! Would never have read that horrid book if left to myself. And I have read many classics.)

nighbynight Sat 22-Oct-11 19:19:04

I didn't realise that Piggy's glasses get smashed. I think ds2 would find that very frightening, as he cannot see anything without his glasses.

zumm Sat 22-Oct-11 19:25:49

This is a work of fiction.

nighbynight Sat 22-Oct-11 19:29:24

Do you mean Lord of the Flies, or this thread?

If you mean LOTF, it depends how a person reads fiction. For example, I immerse myself completely and utterly in every book I read. I cannot read a story in a detached way, that is why I avoid traumatic books. The only meaning that fiction has for me as opposed to fact, is that later, I can imagine the story going back into the author's head, to try to distance myself from it.

quirrelquarrel Sat 22-Oct-11 20:21:18

The smashing glasses bit is indeed disturbing. Not just because of the symbolism.

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