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Adding Video to the Classroom

Interesting article at the NY Times about changes to teacher evaluations:

Teacher Ratings Get New Look, Pushed by a Rich Watcher

Leaving Bill Gates out of the equation, it’s an interesting change to a profession that’s always been under a lot of scrutiny.  I would not be surprised to see the teacher’s unions questioning or fighting this, but either way it does raise some questions about the effectiveness of the effort.

The idea, of course, is to monitor the teacher in their natural environment, acting as they normally would.  But will they act as they usually would when they know a camera is pointing at them?  Especially if they know that the purpose is specifically to evaluate their performance?  It does work nicely in some industries – professional athletes are recorded constantly, and a major portion of their workweek is spent reviewing film of their performance, their competition, etc.  The athletes know it, of course, and it’s an expected part of the job.  Likewise in casinos and banks, employees know there are cameras in many places for security reasons, and it’s expected there as well.

Teachers, of course, are not pro athletes, nor are most of us.  How would we perform if we were constantly under video scrutiny?  This is a unique application of media in a very high profile industry – it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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