Everybody's mountain; 9; Educational Television Experiment in the Dade County Public School, Miami, Florida
Everybody's mountain a program in the recorded series written and produced by Robert Louis Shea on with the author as narrator. I was a citizen taxpayer on a mission behind the blackboard cutting of contemporary American education. I traveled throughout the United States for six months. I saw schools universities and educational experiments from Boston to Chicago from San Francisco to Miami. I began my journey in the valleys of generalization abstraction and controversy in education. I ended it on mountaintops of educational leadership and imagination. This broadcast is a report on one of those mountaintops the educational television experiment in the Dade County Public Schools Miami Florida. The superintendent of the Dade County Board of Public Instruction is Dr. Joe hole. Dr. Horn Why are people coming to Miami in such great numbers. Most people from the outside think that they come here because of
the race tracks or the swimming or the big hotels and recreational facilities at the head. Actually my me is a community which does have a good climate but it's noted also for its charities and its schools. And people are coming here as permanent residents because they have those facilities in the community. How has this mass influx of people who are coming for these values affected the school system. These people moving in have brought children with them. And then while they're here they get that fountain of youth spirit and they have more children after they arrive at any rate we have had a growth in the last five years of at least 54 percent. And that is we've increased from eighty eight thousand two hundred thirty six thousand in a five year period in terms of numbers of classrooms needed we need new classrooms every Monday morning on more than one a day every day of the 365 days in a year in one thousand eight hundred fifty the citizens of Dade County that had a bond issue of 12 and a half million dollars for
their public schools. It seemed a large amount at the time. In one thousand eight hundred fifty five they voted another bandits you were 34 and a half million dollars. The state of Florida also provided money for the construction of new buildings and a small amount was forthcoming from the federal government for aid to military impacted areas. It all adds up Dr. Hall to nearly 50 million dollars invested in Dade County's public schools in the last 10 years. Has the money met the challenge of the rocketing school enrollment. It has kept us abreast we are one of the few large growing communities that it's not own double recession schools to any great extent. But of course the money we have now is used up and we will need 10 million dollars or more new money each year. Caught in the squeeze between overcrowded schools and under abundant funds the Board launched an experiment in three elementary three junior and three senior high schools which would stretch to the limit the facilities they already had.
The school day was extended and the attendance schedules was staggered. Some pupils came early and left early. Others arrived later and stayed later at the extremities of the schedules there was no difficulty. In the middle there was a bulge particularly in the high schools. What could be done about this biology Dr Hall. It seemed that our best solution lay in getting a greater use of some of the parts of the school building which are not used as much as the regular classrooms so we can see the idea of getting large groups of people together in an auditorium or an a cafeteria at certain times of the day and giving them a part of their instructional program. The idea might work if you took advantage of the lusty young Gargantua of educational television. Miami has a noncommercial community owned and operated VHF station WTNH s TV channel to the
fan for the Advancement of Education was initiating a 12 city program in the United States in cooperation with large school systems to explore the potentials of in-school TV. Dade County applied for a grant contributed half the money needed to launch the project. And the biggest experiment in the mass use of television teaching in public schools was underway. All right we have a series of questions we'd like to go through today. One of them served as you well know there are to be three grades on our report cards how do you get our new grade that has a grade on effort you know will be graded 1 2 or 3 1 if you put out a lot of F in two of your standard and three if you don't put out the effort which we think you should. John Donoghue is a graduate of Boston University. He majored in history. For eight years he taught normal size classes now in North Miami Senior High his big auditorium. He was facing four hundred fifty 11th graders. The only way we can judge a large class like this is you are handing in of extra
credit. You are taking part in the discussions. That is volunteering for them and also handing in your notebook. That takes a lot of extra effort. It was 1:00 in the afternoon the beginning of the television period. The small army of teenagers had entered swiftly and taken their seats directly with a minimum of conversation. A 21 inch television screens raised to a viewing position of five feet eight inches from the floor. Average teacher height were distributed down front along the auditorium miles in approximately 25 minutes. The TV screens would light up as one. A running clock would synchronize the electronic rendezvous and the four hundred fifty boys and girls studying American history would follow the TV teacher on channel 2 as he moved the young republic through the war against Tripoli in the early 19th century. Before the TV lesson began a teacher aide rocked the aisles taking attendance while classroom teacher John Donahue
attempted what the television teacher could not provide personal interaction. The questions he answered had been dropped in a box by the students on their way out of the auditorium yesterday. Alexander Hamilton had only four months of law school how to become a lawyer. What that small amount of schooling. Remember back in these early days most of the professions were not looked upon as professional a person could become a doctor simply by making the rounds with the doctor going from house to house and staying with them serving his apprenticeship for maybe a month and then at the end of the month while he could hang out a shingle the same way with lawyers professions and professional growth did not occur until much later. Especially during the 19th century impersonal personal moments such as these constitute Mr. Donahue's chief opportunities to individualize his students. Since this is the only history class he takes daily However he does have free periods
during which interested students in their free periods may come and talk to him in his office. Mr. Donohue What is it like teaching in this manner what is probably the largest class in the history of secondary school education in the United States. Looking out over some 440 faces certainly is different from looking out at 30 faces or 30 find an anomaly classroom situation. I can see a lot of good points about it. And at same time I can see a lot of fun. Well now that you've been teaching 12 to six weeks actually. What are your impressions. I find that those pupils who perhaps would succeed as a pupils in a classroom. I'm making just as much success here in this land's television classroom. What about the middle group. Well a middle group probably could be stretched a lot maybe they're sitting back and saying well give me a minimum on a screen and I'm not going to do any more extra work. What about the other group. They get the material once in a very direct form. They have to pay very careful attention to the
screen. And if a person in his particular group really wants to achieve at least he can get the minimum out of television. Now I don't suppose even in a regular classroom that this particular child would go out of his way to do any more. What about the personal contact. You know I said well I never said what about the fear that's prevalent in many quarters that TV will displace teachers. Well I can remember when radio first came out the same arguments were proposed and now that every home has a radio and a teacher might give a lesson on a children to remain at home. This certainly didn't come about if the opportunity for teaching on TV is made available to me why I still continue to teach the educational research interest in what is the optimum size of a class seems to be related historically to the national by threat. Now that we are once again on an ascendant which is reflected in rising school enrollments in the nation's growing other new areas the question of pupil teacher ratio is everywhere being wrongly discussed again. Dr. Hall in
addition to your economic motive in spreading the impact of the qualified teacher what educationally valid question were you seeking to and with your TV experiment. We wondered if there were not some parts of our educational program which we could teach in large groups thus making it possible to have smaller than the nominal number of pupils in the classroom in other parts of the school program. Were you interested then in challenging the old sacred cow in education the ratio of one teacher to 30 pupils. We were anice it and trying to get good teaching before all of these people and at the same time we recognize in the sesame for having smaller groups in the standard 30 at certain times of the day for certain types of instruction in the senior high schools English and biology are taught as well as history. In the elementary grades beginning with Grade Four the pupils like music art literature geography history general science and conversational Spanish.
While half the pupils in a school are watching TV in groups of 75 to 100 50 the other half breaks up into smaller than normal groups of 25 for instruction in the skills subjects. Reading writing and arithmetic. In the junior highs the TV classes number 300 but they also break up into groups of 30 for follow up instruction and integration of subjects. My kids lucky and is one of the 12 TV teachers in the experiment he teaches fifth sixth and seventh grade science. Mike you were one of the original teachers who audition successfully for TV instruction. You've been facing the educational cameras for two years now. How do you feel about television teaching. Well TV has opened up a new world in education for me. I find that there are so many interesting things that can be done on television that can't be done in the classroom. Boys and girls in the classroom have to stand up to see demonstrations going on in the front of a classroom but with a television camera and a television screen. We could take a
simple experiment like taking potassium permanganate and some glycerin the size of a quarter and putting it together and causing a chemical reaction with the magic of TV we can blow it up to the size of a 21 inch television screen. When you taught your regular class before you became a TV teacher did you feel that you had enough time to prepare your lessons adequately. Well no I didn't. But with television we have more of an opportunity to plan more completely for each individual lesson that is being taught. We're always bringing in resource people resource information films from various places. A once in a while we even take the boys and girls on a mass field trips 200 300 strong. Where do you get your specimens. A lot of the specimens I bring in myself I go right on out into the water just before our program and bring up a shark or bring up some sea squirts or sea urchins or whatever it might be that having to do with our clan and you bring him fresh into the classroom. Oh yes. My Kevorkian was born in New Britain Connecticut. He took his Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Miami. He was a cell a chemist as a boy and took
undergraduate courses in science. He participated in research projects in marine biology. Mike is an underwater diver. He belongs to the underwater Tidewater Association the civilian counterpart of the Navy frogman. He teaches the physics of diving to adults and as an avocation he manufactures underwater diving equipment. He's had offers from industry. Ordinarily a 40 $500 a year job teaching school couldn't hold him. But he loves to teach. And TV offers him the prestige the educational excitement and the promise of higher financial rewards awaiting the telegenic quality teacher in education's television tomorrow. Mike how do the classroom teachers with whom you work feel about this experiment. All my classroom teachers are very very excited about it they think it's the best thing that's ever come about of education. Television is going to open up new doorways and saving a great deal of money for this country. Do you think that we need modifications in teacher training for the television age.
Well I'm quite certain that there are going to be changes in teacher training in the universities in fact I'm on the understanding that some of our universities right now are bringing in educational television training into their curriculum. How do you as a television teacher relate to the community. Many of the viewers of my class not only the boys and girls in the classroom but the parents. They write letters to me and ask me for copies of textbooks or the names of the textbooks that I use for references and also for lesson plans and even for copies of tests I selected down the street. Oh yes many times in the grocery stores and in the movies and as I walk down the street many boys and girls come up and say hi mystical work and how do you think the parents generally feel about it. Recently we had an election and of course one of the biggest issues in this election was the educational television programming being carried on here in Dade County. You mean they were critics of it running for I was definitely so strongly opposed against educational television. But you know who was elected. Those people who were in favor of
educational television. They won unanimously as part of the experiment control groups was set up in which non-TV students in regular classrooms continued to study in the normal manner the same subjects which were taught on television. The TV groups and the control groups were given identical tests and their scores were statistically compared. Sam Rabinowitz is one of the control teachers in North Miami High. He teaches American history to 11th graders. Mr. Rabinowitz how many students do you teach a day. Approximately one hundred and sixty two. And what is the average class size from 30 to 35 people. Has there been any impact on the way you teach in your class by virtue of the fact that your situation in this television experiment is being conducted. No my teaching has remained principally the same as I don't find that in a competitive situation you tend to bear down a little harder. Now I don't find that it's a competitive situation. What about your students. Do you know of their reactions to the TV experiment going on
around them. The only reaction that I have notices and on occasion when we have had reason to transfer students out of my class that they have voiced an objection to leaving and the fear that they'd be going into the TV program. Can I infer from that that you take a dim view of TV teaching history and the only view that I have is that the basic principles of teaching being set aside here us assume that all of teaching is a gathering of fact. And I don't go along with that. I find that the few times that I observe the TV program not here at this school that some other schools. And that the programs were well presented on TV but the face the face quality of a teacher pupil relationship was very sadly lacking. In addition to the objective test given the student's subjective evaluations of the experiment were made by educational consultants. One of them found that the experiment did seem to stimulate better teaching throughout the school system including the control classes. Another consultant stated that the students were enthusiastic
about TV teaching and that most of them requested assignment to future large television classes. Dr. Hall What about the criticism that students cannot ask questions in a large TV class. That may be a valid criticism have you had that same criticism in a classroom of 30 every pupil in any class does not get the opportunity to ask a question every day as a classroom goes from one. And in our experiment they do have opportunity at the time when the television is not on to ask their questions. You find that it increases the pupil attention. Yes and we found several what you might call a concomitant learning that's a good educational expression that we had not anticipated. One that is necessary for them to be in their seats on time. And for them to move about the room in an orderly manner and for them to keep quiet. The TV part of the program comes by only once so they have to pay very close attention or else a message and they soon learn that and pay better attention than they might in a regular
classroom where they have a chance to ask the teacher to explain it again or again if they weren't paying attention when it was first explained what about the possible charge that there is an overemphasis on regimentation and discipline in these classes. I think that charge is not valid at all. For one thing I think that pupils should behave themselves in school and should conduct themselves in an orderly manner. They recognize this and it is not necessary to bring extra pressures as much as someone might think because they insist with each other that they keep quiet in order that all may hear in a poll taken in English 10 in the 3 senior high schools pupils voted from 78 to 84 percent for TV and from 16 to 22 percent against TV. Stanley Ringler and Patricia Rensil both 16 are students of John Donohue's American History class. Both originally attended school in New York. Stanley your sister was in a TV class in a junior high last year before you took
history on TV here at North Miami. What did she tell you about her experience when you want to ask questions you have to stand up and she said she was quite nervous when she'd have to stand up in front of all these children and ask a question whereas in a regular classroom situation she's more or less knows most everybody in the class and she's not afraid to express her opinions. What is your opinion about it now. I definitely do not like the class and for the same reason that she had and for many of us. What did you think about the TV experiment before you joined this class I didn't think any good would ever come of it because I said to many kids in one class and we couldn't get any opportunity to ask questions or do the normal things that our class of us 30 or so would be able to do. Now you've been in this class for two months how do you feel about it. I think that this is that. I think I could have done. And it is certainly an advancement over a classroom teaching the teacher on television goes over each day's lesson and as he does the teacher in the auditorium takes down definite notes which he gives to the class later on he takes down specific things which were overlooked by the teacher on television.
But can you deny that many of the students do not catch all the notes that are presented on TV and that they are classroom teacher Mr. Donahue has to repeat these notes and shome over again the following day which takes up an awful lot of time. The ability to take notes comes with lots of practice and participation and attentiveness to the lesson. No person can expect to write and copy and to understand American history unless they give it their undivided attention. Are you both bound for college. Yes. You know that from the freshman year on you were introduced to the lecture system in which students attend a large lecture halls and take notes. Do you feel proud to being part of this television class. He's helping to prepare you for this method of teaching. I think that this is one of the best things that happens having such an enormous class like this we are able to do our work by ourselves and gain more confidence in ourselves and become more adapted to this sort of teaching which is going to become very evident in years to come. Do you miss the opportunity to ask questions. I find that American history is so concise and has been planned so well that I have
no questions whatsoever there is no doubt in my mind as to what the teacher said and Stanley don't you have panel discussions occasionally before the TV lesson comes out. You must remember that we don't have a discussion every day maybe one every two months. There's only four or five students they get to participate in these classroom discussions whereas in a classroom discussion the class can participate after the discussion is over they may ask questions among the members of the panel. A recent TV lesson had dealt with the Supreme Court. Six students in John Donohue's class had volunteered for a panel discussion on the court's powers. The panel which included the former New Yorker Stanley Ringler And John the girl from Tennessee sat at a table on the stage of the big auditorium. The students reviewed the classic rulings of the Supreme Court Marbury vs. Madison Dred Scott and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which conferred upon all citizens the equal protection of the laws. Then the panel took up the Supremes Court rulings on segregation in 1896 the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was
OK as long as the schools were equal for colored and watch children. Now this decision hailed in whole not in 54. Well maybe 18th the Supreme Court did in effect just reversed their ruling of 1896. In other words they said that that ruling was no good and that segregation was outlawed. So you see really the Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision which should have stood. And also it is my opinion and the opinion of many authoritative sources that the states have the power to rule on all matters of education and that does not come under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court at all. There is no doubt in my mind that the Supreme Court was absolutely right in its decision on the integration case for as it states in Article 14 Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States. No State shall bridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. This is the basis of which the Supreme Court made its decision in the 1054 case and on the Little Rock integration case among others for segregation in the public schools United States of
America is unconstitutional for the negro as any other citizen of the United States cannot be deprived by any State of the privilege and liberty to attend a public school in the United States of America. Therefore any state not adhering to the decision of the Supreme Court by constituting segregation in their schools are depriving the Negro students of their equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is very rosy. Talk about I see John disagrees with you perhaps on a point there. Mr. Donahue it is true that the 14th Amendment says that the state cannot deny a privilege to a citizen of that state. But if a Nigro child is offered the Psion opportunity in a separate school in other words separate but equal they are being denied nothing under the Constitution of the United States Senate. But as was proved in the 1954 case the schools were not equal. You can compare the literature used for teaching is completely different and outdated. Would you favor having the Supreme Court decisions involving states rights
reviewed by the entire Senate meeting as a body perhaps namin. I certainly would not favor having the Supreme Court decisions reviewed by the entire Senate for the Senate is a legislative body and should not mix in judicial matters. In other words the Supreme Court and the Senate belong to two different branches set up to check and balance each other. They should not be mixed to do so violates a fundamental concept of our entire form of government. Many senators are not qualified to sit as judges. Many of them went to the Senate from fields far removed from the judiciary. They lack both the back on and training necessary for the job. Furthermore senators would be inclined to be persuaded by the decisions of their respective political parties. It is true that the senators would go along with their respective parties and the people in those parties. In other words We the People of the United States if the Senate did review these cases it would get the will of the people and their decisions. And the Supreme Court would not be a dictatorial force such as it is today. But the majority of the people would rule in all cases of legality individual pupil
participation in such panel discussions as very limited. Most people seem to prefer to listen. When the actual TV lesson came on the boys and girls quietly swapped notes in their auditorium seats to make sure they were keeping up with the key phrases flashed on the TV screens. Phrases like well with Tripoli neutrality. We win well why did respect for our new nation. At the end of the TV lessen. Mr. Donohue testily repeated the salient points and made quick administrative remarks. Leave taking was swift. Dr Hong. What is the future of the TV experiment in Dade County. I think it has some very fine possibilities in the future. We felt that as a result of the experiment we conducted last year that they learned as much Elmo as they were in the regular classroom. And this is the first year we've done that whereas other type teaching we've been doing for years and years. And if we can do this in only one year and we think that what we learn as we go along has
possibilities of making it a far better program than that which we now have. And for giving additional quality to the program of instruction and I ask you Do you think the experiment has any implications for the state as a whole and for other states in the union. Yes I think it has many implications for learning. Here we have a new technique for teaching. It is something that we should see these and try to make the most of rather than Shonen say it won't work and that type of thing we should grasp it to us because it has possibilities of bringing the very best teacher who can be found in a community to all of the peoples in that community for a part of the school day and this can be supplemented by additional work with all of the teachers in the school itself. The numbers that can be tolerated are limitless and far as the television is concerned.
There is psychological tension in the American mind on the subject of class size. The mounting pressures of enrolment in finance are pushing us in the direction of the experiments which speak boldly and dramatically to lift the ceiling on traditional patterns of pupil teacher ratio. At the same time teachers pupils and parents generally tend to favor the size of the classes to which they are accustomed. We tend to resist change and to rationalize our beliefs in spite of objective data developed by research. True this data has always been inconclusive. The whole argument of testing in the Miami experiment is open to the charge that it merely tests factual record and not genuine learning whatever that may be. In the new teaching tool of television combined with a new statistical tool of the electronic computer we have available to us means from major breakthroughs in the areas of pupil teacher ratios of different teaching methods arising out of differences in educational
goals and even in the area of classroom design and architecture. Television has brought us a challenging opportunity to make class size susceptible of far more subtlety and refinement than it has ever known in the past. Perhaps the time has also come when changes in class size ought to be based not alone on enrolment in finance. But predominantly on the findings of educational research. Educational Television is your mountain to your children's Mountain your neighbor's mountain. Education is everybody's mountain. The recorded series everybody's mountain was written and produced by Robert Louis Shea arm for the Educational Television and Radio Center. The programs are distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. The series consultant was Dr. Ernest O MELBY professor of education at Michigan State University and former dean of
- Everybody's mountain
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- A series on educational leadership and imagination in the United States today.
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