Uncommon School Video Really Makes Me Think Of The Third Reich

I hate to go there, but if you watch the videos from Nazi Germany with kids being taught how to behave and what to do and say and then watch this video, some of the parallels are uncanny.  I’ve never been a big fan of treating kids like they are in some behavior school or a Miss Manners type of situation.  The kids in this video are in Kindergarten.  They are 5 years old.  What is frightening is this video doesn’t show what happens if they are not in compliance.  I’m sure it happens, and I hate to see that video.  My apologies for the very dark comparison, but it truly was the first thing I thought of upon watching this.

This video went up in May, and I’m sure it has been replayed quite a bit, but for those just seeing this the first time, is this truly what you want for our children?  There is choice, and then there is this:

9 thoughts on “Uncommon School Video Really Makes Me Think Of The Third Reich

  1. It does remind one of the Third Reich. All they need is goosestepping. But, if you notice where these schools are (inner cities), these may be kids without any discipline in their lives. Having a quiet classroom and discipline are essential to teaching. I was amazed at the subtraction problems–in kindergarten! If there’s a carryover to their personal lives, it could be a good thing. Will have to watch and wait.

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  2. The difference-and it’s a big one- is that children in the Third Reich were being drilled in ideologies.

    What I see that is good in these clips is children learning, and practicing self control- which is a big predictor of future success.
    There is also an efficiency in transitions that does not waste instructional time.
    Lastly, there appears to be a high level student engagement. /mindfulness.

    HOWEVER,

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    • I don’t see mindfulness, per say. I see rote, prompted responses. Rote learning & prompting are not necessarily a problem when kids are learning very new material. The biggest problem is your 2nd point re: a full day marching in step at a very rigid, fast pace. There’s no time for kids to think or question or explore the information more deeply. There’s also no room for kids learning at very different levels. I taught special education for years and none of my students would be able to keep up this pace.

      Let’s kick up the creepiness factor a few levels from kids to what’s happening in teacher prep. There’s an effort to turn all teacher preparation into checklists of standardized protocols. Again, some forms of fidelity to effective strategies are important. But that’s not how TN’s teacher evaluation models are scoring teachers. If teachers stray from the checklist they are penalized on the 1 -5 Likert scale. So, if a child or teacher sees an opportunity during instruction to expand on an unplanned idea, they are fearful about acting on that line of thought.

      In TN all of teachers in the state were forced by the state Dept of Ed in 2010 to be evaluated with TEAM- the teacher eval. system marketed by convicted Wall St felon Michael Milken & his brother Lowell. Check out their website:
      http://www.niet.org/newsroom/press-releases/

      The training videos for evaluators featured an example nearly identical to this video. I was appalled that this is how every teacher in TN must do to get a high evaluation rating.

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  3. What I meant to say: The training videos for TEAM evaluators featured a teaching example nearly identical to these Uncommon Schools practices. I was appalled that this is what every teacher in TN must do to get a high evaluation rating.

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    • I was thinking of special education kids as well. It is hard enough to get five year olds to behave like that, but for a kid w/ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, or any other neurological disability, it is extremely hard. Unless this school managed to weed out those types of students…

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  4. I don’t see a problem with this video. Teachers have to keep kids in line otherwise they would not be able to teach. The other thing I would say about this is this is not a video of the entire day and I doubt that the kids and teachers act like this all day long. The school where I volunteer has fun/play interspersed with learning. The teachers do a great job with the kids.

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