Could you learn to swim by watching YouTube?



It seems like you can learn anything and everything on YouTube. Everyone knows what it is, no matter how they pronounce it (i.e in Spain it’s YOW-ToobAY.) Media in our lives has swadzupled (a technical term for “grown a lot”) and now everyone everywhere talks about technology, social media, tweets per minute, cell phones in class, kids like phones, kids like T.V, I like honey boo-boo. So let’s use what kids like and incorporate it into teaching!

I actually LOVE honey boo boo.



I recently subbed in a Spanish class and we watched videos and did worksheets and so the glow of the students phone screens was even more obvious in the dark classroom. There was zero shame, zero sneaking.

I didn’t like it at all, but I don’t want to be the evil witch that comes in for one day and tells them to stop sexting their boo three desks over. I remember the akwardness of actually having to speak to people. Not fair.

Well I know a lot of teachers have incorporated slick ways of using technology in the classroom.

Teacher:”Text me the answer!”

Student: “School sux!”



Teacher: Today we get to watch a movie/YouTube/ Something that isn’t me!

Class: Yayyyy !!!(gets out phone, puts on headphones, humps desk, leaves, etc.)


Those things don’t always happen, and most kids actually do appreciate movies and focus and are then ready to discuss the topic/ theme presented…. but do we toss out other methods that are perhaps more difficult or “boring” to feed into this laziness? Just because someone likes bacon and chocolate doesn’t mean they get to start each day with a chocolate bacon shake.

Just like those girls on Dance Moms learn how to dance from Abby Lee, students are learning how to swim from YouTube.


Teachers have to get in there and get wet, and only use those technologies as re-enforcement or something the kids can do on their own time. Shout out to my aunt who told me there is a math teacher who makes the homework to watch him on YouTube, and then come to class ready to work.

The take away is that I STRONGLY disagree that you can learn as much from a computer or an online course as you can from a qualified teaching human. I’m not sure what direction education is heading in at this time but I do get concerned.

These are just some small thoughts that came up while I flipped through a book called “Speaking Activities That Don’t Suck” as I prepare to go back to Spain to teach English. So far nothing has led me to believe I should pop in Dead Poet’s society and then we’ll all have a cozy two hour chat about poetry.

4 Weeks from now I’ll see how many groans, blank stares and swear words I get. My own fault for finding teenagers interesting.



This is also my own horrible brief version of a “response” to the strike that recently happened in my great city of Chicago.  Much love to all the teachers working in horrible conditions most likely with no option of YouTube or even paper…. Thanks for standing up for your students.

Word to the wise: If you ever find yourself standing next to any current or previous Illinois politicians you’re probably in jail. 




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