I've just discovered that schools in our area are being urged to
install classroom amplification (wireless mikes, a la a rock
show) in _all_ their classrooms, so that all teachers would be
miked and amplified.
It's being merchandised as a guaranteed test-score-raiser. At a
cost of only about $1000 a classrooom the school's performance
on district achievement tests will stay up with the increased
scores from the other schools who've already installed the
I'd never heard of this before. I was, to put it mildly,
flabbergasted to think that a model of education which focuses
pretty much on whether students can hear, really clearly, just
what they're told is being merchandised even as far from the
cutting edge as New Brunswick. And for primary classrooms, which
I thought might be a final bastion of resistance to the
"teaching is telling" doctrine.
I wasn't quite so astonished to discover that there's money to
be made in installing these systems. Check "classroom
amplification" and "test scores" in Google.
I've been looking for the "studies" the companies merchandising
this keep alluding to, and not having much luck; it occurs to me
that inkshedders might be able to give me some leads.
We've been sold a lot of technological nostrums for classrooms
in the last few decades, as Larry Cuban regularly points out,
but on balance this is about as alarming as any I've seen.
I used to have a sign on my office door: "I know I taught it
because I heard myself say it." I think I'll put it back up,
adding, "and I know they heard it because it was amplified."
-- RussSt. Thomas University
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