Samstag, 28. Juli 2007

The "Bored" of Education

Here, from 1990, during my first year teaching science at Crenshaw High School in South Central L.A., is a speech we wanted to deliver to the School Board, but we were never granted an audience to do so. So instead we made this video AS IF we were in front of a cheering audience of school officials, AS IF they welcomed the changes we were bringing to science education. It was really an attempt to try out a new sampler we had bought (on which we created the soundtrack) and this wretched little video camera. The classroom scenes were at Crenshaw; the auditorium was at Beverly Hills High. The only people in the audience, miming to the laugh track, are Sherry Kerr and Emily Keaty. 17 years later we can say with pride that at least some of the ideas we pioneered are being used in inner city schools around the world, so perhaps we succeeded!

Text of 1990 speech:

"Once upon a time, school was boring.  But that was before "Bio-Rhythms". Bio-Rhythms -- Science Education through Music Video. Feel the Beat!"

Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou Ladies and Gentleman, Thankyou.
Now who says school shouldn't be a three ring circus, huh?
You, ah, see anybody buying tickets to get into biology these days? (Laughter).

But all that is going to change and let me tell you why...
Over the past 40 years, ever since the advent of the electric guitar, the technologies of music and television production have changed the way we learn. There was simply no way that high school could compete.

"Now let's face facts folks, you would have rather been home watching T.V. and listening to the radio, right?

But today, the means of production have fallen into the hands of the masses. And that means that the same technology that the entertainment industry was using to "woo kids away from their studies" is now affordable by even the most poorly paid professionals in our country -- I'm referring to  the American Teacher.  (applause)

Today, with a little bit of creativity and enthusiasm,  the classroom can be turned into a production workshop, a place where students and teachers from every discipline can put their subject knowledge to use,  creating not busy work but a product that they can be proud of.

"Now I teach science in the inner city but our approach can be applied to all areas and all curricula, turning our children from idle consumers into active producers, having fun and learning at the same time.  That's what Bio-Rhythms is all about.

"All of our children are capable of creative genius.  The education problem isn't with them, the challenge is for us to teach them in the ways they learn best.

"Biorhythms -- isn't it time that all our children got turned on to science?"

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