Should Teachers be Videotaped?




When I was a kid I always wanted to be on the big screen, but now I’m not so sure.

Sure, private screenings with a colleague could net me one of those rather large buttered popcorn bags and a Big Gulp, but I’m not sure the rest of the process would be all that much fun.

The latest call to videotape teachers at work so that their approach and style can be scrutinised by a mentor or peer may not be as effective as it sounds. Sure, I would learn a great deal from watching my lessons back on tape and perhaps my examiner may come up with useful insights, but more realistically it would lead to tension.

If teaching was all about one style fits all then this idea is a winner, but it isn’t. The way I teach would not necessarily impress teachers who have a very different style and vice versa. At the end of the day, I am more interested in developing ways to improve student outcomes than following the herd. This process would involve trying to get teachers to teach in a singular style rather than their own natural style.

But having said that, I believe that classrooms should be videotaped.

Not for the cinematic pressure of being dissected by a peer, but for the legal protection of both teacher and student. By using CCTV cameras, there will be less cases of false teacher accusations and teachers who have committed serious breaches of their duty of care will be caught and dealt with more expediently.

But what about reflecting on your teaching? What about being assessed?

I am assessed all the time. Formally, informally, through questions without notice, bi-annual Principal/teacher conferences, surveys that are filled out by parents and students alike and who can forget about the fallout from standardised testing results.

Still, if you recreate the Gold Class cinema experience, I may join you for at least a few minutes in the screening room.  Let’s hope my production isn’t a comedy, or worse, a horror!


Click on the link to read Guess What Percentage of Teachers Considered Quitting this Year

Click on the link to read The Classroom Shouldn’t be a War Zone for Our Teachers

Click on the link to read Remember When Teachers Were Shown Respect? (Video)

Click on the link to read If You Think Teaching is so Easy You Should Try it for Yourself

Click on the link to read Teachers are Extremely Vulnerable to False Accusations



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5 Responses to “Should Teachers be Videotaped?”

  1. Kristi Bernard Says:

    No! Teachers should not be video taped! If there is a problem in the classroom leaders should listen and investigate student allegations.

    • Michael G. Says:

      Thanks for your comment Kristi.

      Unfortunately, protocol dictates that all such investigations are conducted with the teacher suspended from duty. This suspension:

      a. Creates a perception of guilt.
      b. Allows the media to report on the story further making the accused seem guilty.
      c. Will play on fears shared by many parents
      d. Will make it hard for the teacher to restore trust even if the accusation held no water
      e. Erodes the teacher’s confidence in his/her own ability and therefore reduces their effectiveness as teachers.

      If CCTV prevents this from happening it should at least be considered.

  2. John Tapscott Says:

    A teacher is a person, with a personality that differs from every other teacher. When you are in the classroom you are in a unique moment of time. You have a plan. You know what you wish to accomplish. You are with about 30 other unique individual personalities. There is no way to predict exactly how each one will behave or react as the lesson proceeds. You, the person, are the key element in the transactions taking place in that room. You, the teacher, are the director of the play unfolding. You are only as good as your training and experience. Another teacher might do things differently, precisely for the same reasons you do things the way you do.

    A video tape of your performance might be helpful. But my experience of teaching has been that I have never been good enough. There has always been some way in which I could improve my performance. You learn and develop with experience. Now who is going to be responsible for taping your performance? Who is going to help you to improve your performance? What will the context be?

    I remember the days when a senior colleague would sit in on my lessons.; The context was one of collegiality, not judgement. Sometimes no comment was needed. The support was there. It was appreciated.

    In today’s teaching climate, where everybody knows teachers are not good enough (because the education system is perceived to be failing), how can it be possible for a teacher to feel any kind of support from such a proposed practice?

    Another point, of which the public are not made sufficiently aware is that teachers have far less control over what they do than they once had. All the decisions are made at the top but when the system fails the teachers get the blame. This is grossly unjust. The climate is that teachers have been made increasingly accountable for more things over which they have diminishing power and control and the people who arrogate to themselves all the power and control escape with very little accountability.

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