Sunday, April 2, 2017

Why Are There So Few Films and TV Programs That Capture the Daily Work and Life of Teachers In and Out of School? (Part 3) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Why Are There So Few Films and TV Programs That Capture the Daily Work and Life of Teachers In and Out of School? (Part 3) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Why Are There So Few Films and TV Programs That Capture the Daily Work and Life of Teachers In and Out of School? (Part 3)

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Hollywood and network television have filmed cop shows, lawyer series, and doctor programs again and again over the past half-century. From “Law and Order” and “Dirty Harry” to “The Good Wife” and “The Firm” to “ER” and “Patch Adams,” viewers have gotten a sense of how detectives do stakeouts and grill suspects, lawyers do briefs and argue in court, and doctors deal with patients and emergencies. And in the past decade, computers appear regularly in the filmed work these professionals do. These network, Hollywood, and cable procedurals  have been (and are) weekly fare for tens of millions of viewers.
Procedurals show how professionals do their work daily–allowing for the ever-present conflicts and resolution within 48 minutes for a network TV program or 90 minutes for a film. They reveal how cops, lawyers, and doctors not only follow step-by-step procedures, often using cell phones and computers in doing their job, but also that their work mixes with family life and friends creating dilemmas that spill over to their private lives. These are staples for U.S. viewers.
The accuracy of these TV programs and films is secondary to their entertainment value. Nonetheless, they do capture key activities of each professional’s craft.
What about teachers and teaching? In the previous post, I pointed out that new technologies have yet to “disrupt” public/private organization, governance, and instruction in K-12 schools–as they already have in print journalism. Moreover, there are distinctions that can be made between technologies that help students acquire content and skills (e.g., playlists, software games, personalized platforms) and the actual craft of teaching that requires much face-to-face contact through hour long lessons with varied activities, different groupings of students, and screen time to reach a teacher’s content and skill objectives.
But where are the procedurals that capture six hours in schools with children and youth and how being a teacher has its own dramatic moments and dilemmas that spill over families and friends just like cops, lawyers, and doctors?
I ransacked my memory of films and TV shows about teachers and teaching (yes, I used to watch network TV’s “Our Miss Brooks in the 1950s,” “Room 222” in the Why Are There So Few Films and TV Programs That Capture the Daily Work and Life of Teachers In and Out of School? (Part 3) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:
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