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Improve Teaching With Classroom Cameras?
Old 02-05-2012, 01:20 PM   #1
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Improve Teaching With Classroom Cameras?

Pushing Past Mediocrity in the Classroom | NewAmerica.net

Gates Foundation and other groups give teachers low marks, and advocate cameras and formal scoring systems for closer evaluation.

We clearly need improvement, but I laugh when I remember my primary school where the most remembered teaching intervention was making a boy hold out his hands for some full force smacks from the teacher's 1/2", tapered hickory rod. The girls were treated more gently, but judging by the frequency with which they peed their pants it didn't relax them much either.

There were 70 kids in my class, one 70 year old teacher, and no helpers. It was sink or swim, and the huge majority swam.

Still, I would never have subjected my ownchildren to any of this, or to any typical modern public school classroom.

I bet the teachers' unions will love this idea!

Ha
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
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clearly, there are no better options than the System monitoring for doubleplusungood teachers
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Old 02-05-2012, 02:09 PM   #3
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Even as students in elementary schools, everyone knew who the terrible teachers were and who the good teachers were. And I don't mean the strict or hard teachers.

I bet a teacher evaluator could go into a school they had never been to, quickly interview 20-30 students and be sitting in the classroom of one of the 3 worst teachers in the school within an hour.
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:22 PM   #4
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Even as students in elementary schools, everyone knew who the terrible teachers were and who the good teachers were. And I don't mean the strict or hard teachers.
I went to a Catholic high school. There, it was really important to know about the teachers, and upperclassmen went out of their way to let freshmen know about certain teachers. :-(

I suppose cameras might have helped a little.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:00 AM   #5
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Another good use for the cameras is to record the behavior of students who disrupt the class, are chronic behavior problems, waste valuable teaching time, bully classmates, and threaten teachers. Having to deal with just a couple of problem children in a class can destroy a great deal of the time the teachers have to educate students. It would also provide evidence to the parents (whose child can do no wrong) and to those adminstrators who fail to correct the problem, back up the teacher, and discipline the problem students. There is a reason why the average tenure of a new teacher is about three years.
While the school system installs cameras it should also provide a "hot line" in each classroom so the teachers could immediately call parents and administrators when problems first begin.
Where are most of the problem areas that need to be addressed/corrected to insure a more productive educational enviroment? Parents, Administators, Teachers, Students and Canned/Adopted teaching systems that by their inherent design treat all students as numbers instead of individuals.

Cheers!
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:05 AM   #6
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Badger beat me to it -- I was also going to say that it could also identify chronically disruptive students. In a class of 25 kids, it's not hard for a couple of disruptive students to make it harder for the other 23 to learn. This would also have the advantage of proving to parents with video evidence that "their little angel" is being the problem, since these days parents are as likely to side with their kids as with the teacher in such a "he said/she said" dispute.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:05 AM   #7
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Another good use for the cameras is to record the behavior of students who disrupt the class, are chronic behavior problems, waste valuable teaching time, bully classmates, and threaten teachers. Having to deal with just a couple of problem children in a class can destroy a great deal of the time the teachers have to educate students. It would also provide evidence to the parents (whose child can do no wrong) and to those adminstrators who fail to correct the problem, back up the teacher, and discipline the problem students. There is a reason why the average tenure of a new teacher is about three years.
Cheers!
+1

Just like on many of the school buses.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:13 AM   #8
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Of course, if we had cameras, we could all see how much education has become little more than teaching to the test...
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:28 AM   #9
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It seems sort of "Brave New World"-ish though, doesn't it?

Gives me the creeps to think that someone would be monitoring so much of a child's life. I wonder if at some point in the future, something the kid did or blurted out in fifth grade would/could come back to haunt him at a job interview years later.

Also, it would take a lot of time for some poor soul to watch all these videos. Who is going to pay him? Why not use that money to increase the teachers' salaries instead, to attract more of the best and brightest to a teaching career?
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:41 AM   #10
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There wouldn't be much need to review the footage in real time. But being able to review incidents after complaints could be very helpful. That would require very little manpower.

My kids had a teacher with an anger issue who would berate and verbally abuse one child each year. All her frustration with the class or any other problem resulted in mean comments or hostile yelling at her chosen scapegoat of the year. The administration didn't believe (or was covering up) the issue and each summer discarded all reports about it, so the pattern wouldn't affect the teacher's evaluations. The teacher had been in the system a long time and was very skilled at restraining herself when other adults were present. It would have been hugely helpful to be able to review video records.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:54 AM   #11
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It seems sort of "Brave New World"-ish though, doesn't it?

Gives me the creeps to think that someone would be monitoring so much of a child's life. I wonder if at some point in the future, something the kid did or blurted out in fifth grade would/could come back to haunt him at a job interview years later.
+1

I could just see every child's interests being recorded for targeted ads. Even more invasive versions of what we have now.

And children being pidgeon-holed, based on the fact that they were a dreamer in 4th grade, and thus scored poorly on tests.

Sure, this could happen now (based on test scores), and the cameras aren't necessarily directly related, but it's the increasing surveillance, tracking, and compilation of said data that worries me.

As a teacher, I would have no problem with cameras in my classroom. As long as the footage was deleted after a reasonable period of time (to investigate any issues, help struggling teachers, etc.), and no data from it was kept in any form.

Of course, I know that won't happen, because there's no profit in it.

So I'd likely oppose the cameras, simply because of what they could become in our world, rather than what they could be in an ideal one.

On a similar note, the cameras on the streets in the UK creep me out. And anyone who hasn't seen V for Vendetta should, along with rereading 1984 and A Brave New World.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:42 AM   #12
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Some random thoughts. A friend showed me a video camera that clips to a pocket and records the last 1/2 or 1 hour of 'reel' life to be downloaded. His was for law enforcement use, to give evidence to protect police (himself) from malicious and frivolous lawsuits. In school, it could be useful for note taking, too. As costs drop and cameras become available, video documentation is a two-edged sword.

In my town, it has happened to traffic lights, intersections, and speeding zones. Cameras and threats of tickets turned me into a better driver by coercing me to strictly adhere to laws. Now I see it as a shame that I had to be coerced to improve my driving.

Imagine how the trajectory of spousal disagreements would change! "I actually agreed to THAT"!!! How do I erase that one? I need a prenup that erases anything over a year old.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:42 AM   #13
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It seems sort of "Brave New World"-ish though, doesn't it?

Gives me the creeps to think that someone would be monitoring so much of a child's life. I wonder if at some point in the future, something the kid did or blurted out in fifth grade would/could come back to haunt him at a job interview years later.

Also, it would take a lot of time for some poor soul to watch all these videos. Who is going to pay him? Why not use that money to increase the teachers' salaries instead, to attract more of the best and brightest to a teaching career?

To me, this would be more like the traffic cams that are out on the road... nobody is really paying much attention to them until something happens... they can then go back and see what really happened....

If the students are not causing a problem, then more than likely it is the same as today.... nobody sees anything....

I also do not think they would be recording sound... to much going on... but then again, if they are using it to evaluate the teacher they would need it... OPPS... nevermind
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:22 PM   #14
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I had a bad French teacher in junior high. The administrators knew and would send observers, but she would just act differently then. I remember after one observer left, one of the kids said, "You can come out now, Miss Mott." Videos would have helped.

I often think that education is on a downward spiral. Kids get a bad education, and the grow up to make bad decisions about education (for example, requiring the teaching of creationism).
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:32 PM   #15
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Gates Foundation and other groups give teachers low marks, and advocate cameras and formal scoring systems for closer evaluation.

"It won't matter if I'm right or wrong, because when you're rich they think you really know." Tevya - Fiddler on the Roof.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:34 PM   #16
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Maybe....
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:45 PM   #17
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A system where a teacher could easily pick out the portion of a video showing a student misbehaving, talking out, being rude, annoying, bullying or picking on other students, or otherwise not properly participating in class would be great! Imagine being able to send the video to parents with a few clicks of the mouse.
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:26 AM   #18
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Our kids went to a very good public HS which had cameras in the classrooms. This was 10 years ago. It was never made completely clear what the cameras were for (not in writing, anyway). I never once heard of the cameras being used for anything "post mortem". Perhaps their purpose was simply to discourage any "bad" behavior by students AND teachers. In any case, this is the last school I would have thought would need cameras. Primarily, students came from upper middle class families with a large number of university faculty as their parents. The school had an excellent reputation for academics and a half decent reputation for sports. Discipline issues were just never a problem. Go figure.

My main issue with cameras (just about anyplace) is based on my philosophy of life. To wit: Anything that can be used can be misused. Anything that can be misused will be." Before my time, but IIRC, local red-light cameras were removed when it was discovered that the yellow to red time was being shortened by the contractor to "cause" more violations. Perhaps this was elsewhere, but I do know that it has happened and our red light cams were removed several years back. YMMV
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:02 AM   #19
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Some random thoughts. A friend showed me a video camera that clips to a pocket and records the last 1/2 or 1 hour of 'reel' life to be downloaded. His was for law enforcement use, to give evidence to protect police (himself) from malicious and frivolous lawsuits.
Before I retired from law enforcement the practice of placing video cameras in cruisers was just beginning. Strangely (I thought) most were vehemently opposed to the idea. To me it sounded like a great idea as in "Cool! Immediate exoneration!" when some fool thought making outlandish allegation would get his charges dropped.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:21 AM   #20
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Before I retired from law enforcement the practice of placing video cameras in cruisers was just beginning. Strangely (I thought) most were vehemently opposed to the idea. To me it sounded like a great idea as in "Cool! Immediate exoneration!" when some fool thought making outlandish allegation would get his charges dropped.
This is also why I think cameras in the classroom would be helpful--to exonerate teachers.
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