In recent days, you have read posts about the program in Lawrence, Massachusetts, called NNN (No Nonsense Nurturing), a for-profit program in which coaches sit in the back of the room and tell teachers what to do and say via a wireless earbud. EduShyster wrote the original post. Others did research on google and connected NNN to the Gates Foundation and KIPP. It is a behaviorist approach to classroom discipline.
One reader points out that NNN was tried out first in Memphis.
Some wired-for-sound city school teachers are testing the value of real-time coaching that the NFL has made as common as a Sunday in the park.
Through earbud headphones, the teachers hear cues from experts observing from the back of the room.
“Once a teacher understands what it feels like to be successful, it takes root immediately,” said Monica Jordan, coordinator of teacher professional development in Memphis City Schools.
“The teachers get training first. It’s not like someone walks in and shoves an (earbud) in your ear and starts rattling in your ear,” she said.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the work in Memphis, Tampa and New York, hoping to prove that tailoring professional development raises the needle on test scores….
Teach for America in Memphis sees so much promise it is spending $15,000 to conduct its own earbud research next year.
“Essentially we are looking at a control group that doesn’t get coaching to see to what extent coaching and real-time feedback enhances the process,” said Athena Turner, TFA executive director.
“We want to know, does it speed up the timeline in which a teacher develops?”
The back-and-forth between the coach and teacher is happening through walkie-talkies now. As early as March 2, the coach could be anywhere in the world, coaching with digital video feeds from Memphis classrooms….
“I think this new approach gives you an opportunity to differentiate professional development based on teachers’ own strengths and weaknesses,” said Thomas Kane, a Harvard University researching working with the Gates Foundation.
Kane’s hypothesis is that teachers who can watch themselves work will see places to improve.
“Next year, we would hope to have enough classrooms so we can start to answer that question,” Kane said.
Memphis ordered 11 180-degree cameras at $4,500 each. When parent permission slips are returned, the cameras will be set up in classroom corners.
“We’re asking teachers to watch themselves and reflect,” Jordan said. “What does it feel like to be your own observer? … What would you tell yourself if you had to give yourself feedback?”
The technology is so new that the cameras, which also record audio, are being built as they’re ordered.
“Memphis is right behind Harvard’s order,” Jordan said.
Question: Did Harvard get its order? Is it videotaping professors? Who is being videotaped and given earbud instructions at Harvard?
Next question: Is Lakeside Academy in Seattle, where Bill Gates’ children are students, putting earbuds in their teachers’ ears?
Next question: Four years have passed since the experiment was launched in Memphis: What are the results? Was there an experimental group of teachers with earbuds and a control group without earbuds? What happened to the test scores of their students?
Last question: Was the experiment worthwhile? O should the money have been spent on reducing class sizes and tutors?