"I Am Not Scared" Project
The disciplining video camera as a response to the crisis in Bulgarian school
Sofia University „St. Climent Ohridski” in the year book of the sociology students, book 5, 2008-2009
Video camera, crisis, school, discipline
Policy Makers, Researchers, School Directors.
1 - 20 pages
The reviewed material considers the camera for video surveillance as a social regulator of the behavior of those being monitored, namely the students. According to the author the mere equipment of the class rooms with video cameras is a symptom of a problem in the educational system. The cameras are being considered as a Big Brother type surveillance. The author points out the obvious diminishing of the trust of the citizens in the educational system due to the numerous cases of violence in Bulgarian schools among the students and between students and teachers.
In her analysis the author uses the conclusions of Foucault regarding disciplining, normalization of the individual, the influence, which disciplining authority has upon him (Foucault “Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison”). In addition to that she also uses the ideas of Norbert Elias from his book “Regarding the process of civilization” for the formation of self-control of the individuals through their socialization.
Considering the role of the camera as a controlling mechanism, the author does not omit to also focus on the fact that currently in Bulgaria there is a strong dispute about whether the students should have a mark also for their behavior, as it was before. An interesting point is the fact that in connection with the frequent cases of violence of teachers towards students it is important to consider if the teachers should also be evaluated. The fact that it is possible to be constantly monitored disciplines the person, normalizes him, and standardizes him.
The ideas and thesis of the author of the material are admirable. Remarkable is also her selection of literature she uses for her expose (including Orwell’s «1984»). The conclusive presentation of the Bulgarian educational system from the period of communism, together with the thesis that the “educational system is among the most conservative state systems. It is hardly susceptible to modernization, hard to change. What happens then when the social conditions change, when the political system is transformed?” The opinion, which is then shared with the reader is quite logical «the school continues to exist within the communist track, still within a post-communist environment», which leads to a roll-over of the values’ system and the behavior of children in schools becomes uncontrollable. Together with all the negative effects appears aggression among the school students – something, which has previously been unthinkable, but progressively, as all other practices, which continue for a prolonged period of time, it regularly becomes accepted. The author sees a way out and a solution in the modernization of the school, in the incorporation of interactive practice, in the assigning to the teacher a new position – not as one standing above the student and teaching to him, but as an interactive partner.
The material is useful with its ideas and conclusions, which the reader is lead to. At the end the answer to the video camera question is “yes”, but not in a way, which keeps the children uneasy and aware that they are being watched at all times, but enabling them to view their behavior themselves and this to be a part of their education. The school will always preserve its disciplining functions, namely because one of its main tasks is to incorporate self-control and normal behavior within the children. We must agree with the author that when the environment is changing the methods of the educational system should also change, in order for the institutions to be able to fulfill their functions.
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I Am Not Scared Project
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