I had to sit through the standard Payroll/Benefits meeting for new hires today, even though everything remained the same since all my information transferred from Rock Hill (my former place of employment in the South Carolina public education system.) The last part of the meeting was for the new hires to watch a sexual harrassment and bloodborne pathogens video that showed what to look for and how to handle such incidents. Riveting information to be sure–the videos are the same each year it seems. Same ol’ same ol’. I understand why I have to view it and sign off that I have received staff development on the topic, and I don’t mean to make light of it. It is a necessary part of today’s world.
What did bother me about the content of the videos is how the typical “classroom” is portrayed. Students, bookbags, pencils, rows of desks facing the front, a teacher (bespectacled, no less!) and even a corny looking outdated administrator wearing his navy blue blazer, khaki pants, and a tie. School was portrayed exactly as adults remember school.
This calls for action. Over the years I’ve been taught that it’s okay to complain as long as you offer a viable solution to a problem. I will be teaching one class of video production this fall, and I think I will show these videos to my class. I plan to challenge them to create a video that has a more modern look at school, one that demonstrates the many unique ways students learn. Maybe I’ll even have them add a segment on cyberbullying for the sexual harassment video. I want schools to look more realistic, and I’d much rather the typical classrooms showcased in the scenes be modeling “best practice” rather than the same ol’ same ol’. I realize there are MANY classrooms out there that look JUST LIKE the picture above, and there may not be a lot of “best practice” experience in my students. I hope to open their eyes to authentic learning and making a meaningful video by immersing them in the planning and executing of this video. Who is their target audience? We will begin with our own student body. Everyone in my meeting this morning agreed students really should view the same video we watched, just so they are knowledgeable about the topics. I agree, but I think most kids would tune it right out since the content is dry and boring in composition. I hope my students can make something that is informative, high interest, factually correct, and useful to our student body. Maybe we’ll submit it to the district office for them to use in their next “new hire” orientation.
Werdmuller, Ben. “Classroom” Ben Werdmuller’s Photostream. 21 December 2006. 6 August 2007 <http://www.flickr.com/photos/benwerd/329570782/>.