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Video: Though It Seems Like A Parody, It’s A Real Professional Development Event


Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers Union, sent this out tonight:


Here is the video’s description:

This presenter was one of several consultants flown in from California and the United Kingdom for the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Strategic School Support Services’ special network. This is a professional development for teachers of Saturday ISAT preparation classes.

Yes, you can make a lot of things look bad taken out of context, but I don’t think a case can be made that this is appropriate for any professional development, or classroom, context….

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Oh, how I wish my buddy and I could attend such a session! When she paused for a breath (if she ever did), I would stand up, raise my right hand and say, “I, state your name…” and my buddy would stand up, raise his right hand and say, “I, state your name…”. But then again, we are very snarky. The staff would be rolling on the floor; the speaker would freak out! It would be a M*A*S*H moment (but of course the line is from Animal House).

  2. Unbelievable. I mean, even if that’s supposed to be practicing a method you’d use with students, it’s awful. I can’t even follow the train of thought if the sentence is broken up every few words so people can repeat it. CPS has yet another reason to be embarrassed – how sad.

  3. You state the video can’t be taken out but it seems like you could be very wrong about that.

    They seem to be doing a live demonstration of a technique they would use in the classroom for acquisition and vocabulary. It makes sense for them to demonstrate it using the pertinent technique.

    Surely there is a more complete picture than just that footage.

    • If that’s a technique they would use in the classroom, I’m even MORE horrified!! How is that good teaching? Is that how YOU want to learn? Is that how you want your kids to learn? Is that what you think good teaching/learning is? Do you think, if students were taught this way that they would retain any knowledge?? HELL NO! Their minds would be numb.

      The only way that video could be acceptable if it was out of context is if it were an example of the worst possible way to teach.

    • This is training for the ISAT, I thought, and not a “how to use the method” class.

      Larry, has the training company offered an explanation?

  4. This is degrading, horrifying stuff. Thank you for bringing it to light.

  5. It’s a one minute video. How can anyone draw substantial conclusions from that?

    It might be the worst one minute of the entire class or seminar. All this video does is “prove” that consultants for teacher development is worthless.

    If this is the quality of “proof” that teachers use then it makes me distrust teachers and their rhetoric.

    • Every teacher has bad moments in class that are generally as a result of an unplanned circumstance causing a reaction from them. This video shows the trainer using an obviously pre-planned “script” for their workshop. Because of that, I think it provides very, very, very strong proof degrading teaching techniques for educators and/or for students.


      • Larry, please review my comments on the Post re: Texas.

        IMO, it is the PRIMARY task of modern local (North Texas) school superintendents to rid the teaching ranks of variability, so that the volume and test results of “educational content” can be measured with increasing levels of certainty .

      • You are saying that this is intentional, right? Is there some sort of conspiracy between consultants and the elected school district to demoralize and degrade teachers? What is the objective of this conspiracy to degrade teachers?

      • Yes, all this is intentional. Unfortunately progressives too, are closed-minded to anything that comes from the opposite spectrum (and vice versa, of course, but that is more or less expected) but Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt who once held a similar position as Diane Ravitch, but in Ronald Reagan’s administration, saw this coming, even back then. The current ed reforms pave the way for creating drones; people who will no longer question anything. This is now how kids are taught too. It will only get worse.
        You can find her book for free download at:

  6. I’d love to know how much the consultant received for this presentation. What CEO or president would give their approval for this kind of training in their company? What kind of response is CTU getting over this? When is CPS apologizing for this insulting waste of tax dollars. Surely Rahm Emanuel wants some one to take accountability for this debacle?

  7. Thank you so much for recognizing a horrible trend and having the courage and intellect to condemn it in such a public way.

  8. B.F. Skinner is smiling in his grave! I cannot believe not a single teacher took issue with this, but then again, maybe they think it’s OK as that is what most subject their own students to, nowadays especially.

  9. I replied in detail at the Washington Post, where this video was posted and discussed today.

    The Tradegy of a Nation, in 2 minutes.

    I am a recovering former teacher in Texas. I was truly scarred by the experience. Two heart attacks worth.

    I cannot begin to express the high levels of disdain and contempt with which I hold modern education officials. The idea that subjecting adults AND children to this drivel will yield a human capable of thinking and reasoning in today’s complex, rapidly changing world is sheer madness.

  10. This is even worse than having a bullet-point PowerPoint read by the presenter! I really wonder, though, if this was done on purpose just for fun. I can’t believe a presenter would stand with her back to the audience and have them repeat after her.

  11. Wait, the person I am looking at is not the presenter. It is an attendee sitting in the front row.

  12. This video is depressing but not so surprising. Creativity, individuality, and spontaneity have been leached out of classrooms over a period of several decades; it’s difficult to envision how this would change, given the lack of public interest in education and the inherent spinelessness of teachers [I’m a teacher myself, but I manage to teach by my own terms and my own curriculum: I am mostly content to pay the high price of marginal career stability in order to have that freedom].
    Have any of you heard of Albert Cullum? I’m working to organize a conference on his work and his legacy. His approach to pedagogy is the diametrical opposite of what we see in this video, and of what takes place in most if not all public education classrooms.
    I would enjoy the chance to discuss Cullum’s work with anyone.

  13. Positively hypnotic. Monotonous call-and-response chants used to put me to sleep in church, too.

  14. Larry. Thanks for reminding us how our current teaching policies — promoted by NCLB and R2T – have intentionally and to some extent unintentionally led to this type of drivel masquerading as professional development. You do not see this type of PD in countries on top of the heap when it comes international measures of student achievement. It makes you wonder: Do reformers really want a top-flight teaching profession?

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