Televisions in the Classroom?

There are three endless discussions in the preschool setting:

Should children be allowed to bring toys from home to school?

Should we celebrate holidays in the classrooms?

Should we watch videos in the classroom?

For me, the toy thing is one that I don't have a strong enough opinion yet on and, although we've discussed it in the past, I pretty much leave it up to each individual teacher. I never stop children from bringing toys from home in and always find a way to incorporate toys from home into the curriculum...problem solved!

I think it's important to teach children about the world around them but I think that the celebration of holidays should be limited to the family. It is up to the family to teach their children the traditions and practices of holidays, since THEY are the primary educators and holidays really are a personal thing.

Now, videos? I have a very strong opinion on and I think they MUST stay OUT of the classroom. Yes, I said it. There should be absolutely NO television in the classroom. There is NOTHING that a video can teach that a real life person can't. Plus, most of the time, I see mindless videos in the classroom; you know, one's like The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, etc...

Children spend so much time in front of the television at home, they don't need to watch it at school. Television is a teachers lazy way of teaching. Sure, you can get a book on video that is read by the author...but why can't you read the book? And most of those books on videos don't even show the person reading the book, so you can't pull the but-it-introduces-the-children-to-the-author bit on me.

Most of the time children are not interested in the video and some classroom even force children to sit and watch and yell at the children who want to find something active to do. Why? Is it because the teacher doesn't want to do anything? Many teachers see this as an "easy" time and some "down" time. It shouldn't be.

Mainly, television is always mindless, even when it should be active. I know there are studies out there, but I am going with my own personal experiences...okay, my husband's personal experience but it works out to the same. In his toddler classroom he is constantly playing all sorts of music. One of the favorites, I'm sure you know, are the Wiggles. I LOVE the Wiggles, he loves the Wiggles, the children love the Wiggles, they really are a fun bunch.

The children listen to the music and dance around to the words. Children listen to the moves that are being sung out for them to do: twist, point your fingers, jump to the left, etc...

Just for kicks, my husband one day decided to show the children the Wiggle's video in his classroom. He wasn't sure how the children would react. They pulled the television into the classroom and plugged it in. Children came running over and sat down...didn't even need someone to tell them that's what to do...they were 2 years old...that's a bit sad to me.

Anyway, the video starts and the music starts and the Wiggles are dancing around, and Mister Bob (that's the husband) is dancing around and the assistant teacher is dancing around, and the children....ARE SITTING DOWN GLASSY EYED STARING AT THE SCREEN!

Mister Bob exclaims, "Come on! Dance with them!"

The children sit!

All the dancing, cajoling, and everything else couldn't get more than ONE CHILD up and dancing.

So, the video went off, the Wiggles CD went on with THE EXACT SAME SONG that was just on the video...ALL THE CHILDREN are now dancing.

This is a true story.

Don't tell me that television in the classroom is okay as long as it's interactive...won't work on me. I KNOW it isn't.

There was ONE TIME as a teacher that I used television in the classroom. We were talking about helicopters. The video was showing how helicopters work and was perfect for the almost-going-to-kindergarten group. I couldn't find a way to bring a helicopter to the center...although I DID get a helicopter pilot to come to the center on the very same day that the video was shown. This way the children had some more questions to ask him and they had a very comprehensive experience.

Would I do it again? Maybe, but it depends on the group and the situation. Would I have a "friday movie day"? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Televisions do NOT belong in the centers.

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