English Teacher Article The Professional Association of Teachers

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They are definitely firing on all cylinders at the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) conference this year. A motion was put forward yesterday that

deplores the very real problem of cyber bullying in schools and demands the closure of sites encouraging such behaviour

While sites like ratemyteachers may offer opportunities for roughing up teachers, the fact that they equally offer opportunities for praising teachers would probably be enough to clear them of the charge of encouraging such behaviour. However, YouTube seems to be the one they're after. This plainly doesn't encourage cyber-bullying, so doesn't even meet the conditions of their motion. The fact that I can put up a video of a teacher does not mean that the site encourages me to do so and there is a feature for complaining about inappropriate content.

Other contributory things mentioned include email, sms and Messenger, though it's not clear whether the motion wishes to shut these down too. Given that one search gave me the phone and email contact details, address and religious affiliations of one of the proposers, they might as well add search engines to their list.

I find it staggering that they think that YouTube - owned by Google, based in the US, and defended by very sharp lawyers - could be shut down by the British government for encouraging cyber-bullying, something it plainly does not do. While it might give them some satisfaction and attract some attention, their motion is so divorced from reality that it just seems crass to me. There is a problem, but the PAT are proposing a facile solution that wouldn't work and will never get off the ground.

NB ratemyteachers.co.uk states that it will delete comments in accordance with the following policy:

Posts that

# contain vulgar or profane words

# are sexual in nature - including 'Sexy' or 'Hot'

# have to do with personal appearance (cute, short, fat, bad clothes, etc.)

# have to do with physical disabilities (stutters, limps, wears a hearing aid, etc.)

# are name-calling in nature (Jerk, Creep, etc.)

# reference mental/alcohol/drug use

# reference problems with the law

# reference race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, age

# include names or initials of other students or the rater or any email addresses

# reference the teacher's personal life including family members (Just got married, Don't like her son, Wife is pretty, How did he afford that car? etc.)


As long as this policy is adhered to, then it seems that even there, cyber-bullying is actively discouraged.

YouTube have, among others, these rules:

# We encourage free speech and defend everyone's right to express unpopular points of view. But we don't permit hate speech which contains slurs or the malicious use of stereotypes intended to attack or demean a particular gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or nationality.
# There is zero tolerance for predatory behavior, stalking, threats, harassment, invading privacy, or the revealing of other members' personal information. Anyone caught doing these things may be permanently banned from YouTube.

Again, it doesn't seem to be a site actively encouraging bullying.

Categories: General

1 Comment

What a bunch of humourless tossers! What's wrong with a site that pokes fun at teachers? There are plenty of blogs and such around (including mine) that put students under a very unfavourable spotlight (albeit without naming individuals) and derive humour from their antics, so what's all the fuss about?!

If the teachers in question had any savvy, they'd start a 'Rate-my-pupils' site and get their own back. It could be very enlightening - as well as extremely funny. Oh, but teachers are not supposed to have a sense of humour, are they...

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