Saturday, September 25, 2010

Student & iPod Drive Teacher Over the Line

EducationTechNews reports a story on how a Student & iPod drive teacher over the line. It is reported that a student had left an iPod behind in class and returned during (and interrupted) the next class to pick it up. The teacher took exception to this and ordered the student out - when he refused and cursed the teacher, the teacher grabbed him by the ear and dragged him out. Not surprisingly, the students mother complained the next day, and the teacher resigned his position rather than face disciplinary charges.

Graphic from
Concord High School Community
The report is also an example of a "non-report" - I clicked on the link to it expecting to find that the use of the iPod had somehow frustrated a teacher into losing his temper. I have written about the use of iPods in the classroom - I had wondered what the student was doing. Clearly the iPod had very little to do with the story - the student could have left a mobile phone, a book, a jacket, or his chewing gum behind. The outcome would probably have been the same.

It turns out the teacher had a track record of violence - the headline writer in EducationTechNews should think carefully about what they write. In this case a perfectly "innocent" gadget is deemed to be the cause of the problem, while it is better regarded as an aid to education - not the cause of discipline problems in class. A more accurate headline in my view is this one about the same case:

Monroe, NJ high school gym teacher Allen Rushing sentenced to 90 days for physical confrontation with student.

In searching on-line for a suitable graphic for this post I came across the one above on the Concord High School Community website. This K12 school is located in California. Interestingly, most of the school's home page is covered in rules (rather than education material) - including this one: Keep Cell Phone and MP3 Players Off and Out of Sight 7:10am to 3:10pm

I know schools have to have rules, I hated almost them all - especially the ones about long hair. But preventing students from using their iPods or phones (8 hours as in above example) is just ridiculous. There are signs all over my own College which state (among other things) that mobile phones must be turned off in the classroom. I tell my students to ignore this and that they must turn ON their mobile phones.

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