Saturday, September 29, 2007

the use of television in the classroom

These days my main worry is the use of TV in the Kindergarten class of my children...
It is such a chock for me when my kids come home telling me “what was on TV today”
In their class, TV is used as a relaxing time… Well, is TV really relaxing?
Many researches prove that it is not…

Happily I am not the only parents concerned by the use of TV in the classroom. For their defense, the teacher show us how good the quality of the programs are, and this is true, they are showing good programs, so we can feel safe on the content.

Unhappily, the content is one side of the question, the HOW a program is screened is a major issue. Leaving a child “relax” in front of the television should not happen in school. This “attitude” is far from being educational, even with the best content ever.

On the other end, the children could learn to become active viewers! Dr. Faith Rogow explains that very well in her article “Don't turn Off the Lights: Tips for Classroom Use of ITV”

Here is a copy of the article:

There are lots of ways to watch television and our purpose for viewing has a significant impact on what we take away from the experience. Most TV viewing is for entertainment and relaxation, and that's fine--unless we want people to remember what they've seen. Television can be a powerful educational tool, but it we want our students to absorb specific content from what they see, we need to give them a model for viewing that is active and critical. For starters,
  • view from videotape rather than real-time broadcasts
  • don't be constrained by programs; only use the segments you need
  • don't use the television as a babysitter

In addition:

  • Think about what you are trying to accomplish. If you can achieve your goal without using video, you may want to reconsider your use of TV. However, video can help accomplish things you can't do any other way. TV does the following very well:
  • Spark interest in a new subject area. Imaginative and quick paced video can inspire your students to pursue a subject.
  • Demonstrate something you can't show any other way, such as a satellite's view of changing weather patterns, the inside of a human body, a math concept that involves motion of 3-D geometry, the sounds and sights of a rainforest, the sound of various accents in a foreign language, a chemistry experiment that is too dangerous or too expensive to do in the classroom, etc.
  • Enrich content by demonstrating new applications or insights.
  • Practice a skill such as note taking, problem solving, predicting, listening, etc.
  • Review a lesson you have already presented so the students can hear and see it in a different way.
  • View actively - Think of the TV as a teacher. Do you turn off the lights when you talk ? Would you be satisfied with a class that sat and stared at you for thirty minutes without responding or interacting? The TV can't act as teacher if students aren't active. Interactive viewing requires three simple steps:
    1. Prepare -let students know why they are watching, what to look for, or what you will ask when the video is over. The younger the student, the more detailed the description should be of what they are going to see.
    2. Participate - View interactively. Sing along, answer questions aloud as they are posed, pause to discuss possible outcomes or solutions before the video presents them, pause to check for comprehension, pause to predict action, write down clues, etc.
    3. Connect to other activities - Bring the video lessons off the screen and into the classroom or home by choosing follow-up activities that connect the viewing experience to hands-on exercises or real-life experience. With younger students, be sure to explain the connections between the video and the activities you do.

  • Copyright: Insighters Educational Consulting 1997

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Please Teachers, do not show TV in class as a daily routine

We all know how difficult and challenging it can be for parents to protect their children from Medias influences.
Raising a child TV free or aware of the potential effect of TV is a big challenge in this world where TV is everywhere.

So I felt really bad when I learned that TV programs were shown to the children in their school on a daily basis. And what kind of programs?
No cartoon please.
School is a learning environment; I would expect a school to nurture the love for books, to encourage children to satisfy their needs for imaginary tales through books!
Not by turning on the Television: This totally passive way to satisfy their need for escape.
I would understand the use of TV as a tool, a tool to show documentaries which illustrate a subject reviewed in the classroom.
I would eventually understand a video with songs to stimulate their interests.
I would understand a video of cartoon ones in a while as the subject of a discussion in the class.
But showing every day cartoons for 20 minutes! Please do not do that.
Listening to a tape would be a lot better. Some children could close their eyes, relax and imagine their own images and some other would do the same with their eyes open. In any case it would be a lot more relaxing; any studies would show that to you.
Please teachers, do not do that to our children.