Lessons from videos of police activities

Seeing people being killed by police on videos as you know has sparked outrage around the world. For 60 years I have urged teachers to record and or video their classes and then transcribe one page of interactions taken at random or at places you think you did something well or not so well. I have suggested that each teacher analyze the interactions, with another person if possible so that at least 2 interpretations of the interactions can be shared. I have pointed out that what we actually do, seen in the videos, what we had wanted to do and and what we thought we did are usually three different events.

I think that police forces could benefit by analyzing videos of their interactions in the same way that I have invited teachers to do. Football players analyze their plays, surgeons analyze their operations, psychiatrists analyze their interactions.

If police officers looked at what they did non judgmentally and started to note what actions they took they thought had positive consequences and which had negative consequences I think the incidence of tragic events would decrease. Of course there would still be tragic events since police in the US at least have guns and when confronted with a person who you think is threatening you it is not easy to know what action to take. But by seeing how a range of police offices handled such threats a range or reactions could begin to be learned.

Though our actions in the classroom do not lead to killing there are moments when we may inadvertently shame a student which can have a negative effect for some time. But seeing how others deal with a student who seems to be insulting you or fellow teachers or a student who is sleeping in class can expand the range of options which is likely to lead to fewer negative impacts on our students.

Let’s analyze what we do to expand the options and not judge what we or our students do.

All the best in these trying times.


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