With little exception, the less I respect a teacher’s ability to teach,
the more likely he is to show a Youtube video in class. After starting
the video and turning off the lights, he always does one of two things:
(1) hide away at their desk to do something else, be it grading,
responding to emails, or checking their phone. (2) stand somewhere with a
smug face where you can tell that he thinks of himself as a genius for
using some revolutionary, modern teaching technique that requires zero
Youtube videos are designed for people sitting at home watching videos happily and carelessly (or in agony because they’re procrastinating), not for the critically thinking, focused people that we want our students to be. A teacher would be mistaken if they think that an educational video’s success on the internet correlates with its success in the classroom.
When a teacher shows a video in class, one of three things happens to her students. (1) The video sucks and the students disengage. (2) The students disengage immediately after the video ends; either because they no longer feel like studying after watching a funny video or because the students have no interest in listening to a low quality teacher after watching a high quality video. (3) The video has something to offer that a live speaker can’t; the teacher has spent time designing a lesson plan that incorporates the video well; and the students are engaged both before and after the video plays.
However, Youtube videos can have some use for teachers. For teachers looking for a clearer way to explain a concept, Youtube videos can be more accessible than a textbook or other teachers. Furthermore, for teachers looking to make their lessons more inventive, Youtube videos may contain new teaching techniques born on the internet that may (or may not) also work in a classroom setting.
Thank you for reading this to the end. Not sure if any teachers will end up reading this, but hopefully somebody found this insightful.
I saw Jesse Agar’s video “The Easy Way to Add Up a Sequence” about summing arithmetic sequences on his Youtube channel “This Place”. It made me think about the similarities and differences between how he explained ari. seqs. in his video and how I teach them at MathCounts. This post/rant is the aftermath of those thoughts.