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John Simkin

Teachers as Film Stars

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Georges Lopez, a 58 year old teacher, was the star of the Etre et Avoir, a documentary about everyday life in the rural classroom in France. The film was a great success and has so far made an estimated €2m (£1.3m) profit. Georges Lopez, a teacher in the village of Saint-Etienne-sur-Esson, was filmed over a 7 month period. He felt it was only fair that he should be paid for his role in the film and has asked for payment of €250,000 (£170,000). Lopez argued that his teaching methods, made famous by the film, were his intellectual property. This week a Paris court disagreed and ruled that Lopez had no grounds to receive this money. It has now been announced that the families of seven of Lopez's eleven pupils are going to court to seek payment of €20,000 each for their part in the film.

http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,12...1315116,00.html

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The film, 'Kes', has fond memories for me. Brian Glover (who made his debut as the sadistic games teacher) was one of my dad's teacher trainees at Swinton Day Training College, and was discovered as an actor on that film. A lot of the pupils were kids I'd gone to school with too (though we'd moved to London by then).

I remember a coach trip to the south of France that my dad organised for his students. Brian Glover was one of them and spent the whole trip telling me and my brother the kind of jokes you get a lot of street cred for when you're 7 years old!

Not quite on topic, but I thought I'd share this memory with you.

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Guest Chris Sweeney

Admin - why isn't the 'quote' facility working?

That aside - a funny, Derek!! I don't want that to be the sole truth about teaching, however!

David, you have a light touch too! Both of you made me smile.

On a serious note - acting apart - it does raise the question about whether what we do (planning, preparing) as teachers is our intellectual property (as in an author's work is theirs and not their publisher's); or the LEA which employs us (as a publisher does, to an extent, an author), or the public -whatever that is - that pays our wages (comparable to the readers of the novel that the author produces).

What rights do other posters feel we have to owning what we deliver in the classroom?

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Admin - why isn't the 'quote' facility working?

That aside - a funny, Derek!!  I don't want that to be the sole truth about teaching, however!

David, you have a light touch too!  Both of you made me smile.

On a serious note - acting apart - it does raise the question about whether what we do (planning, preparing) as teachers is our intellectual property (as in an author's work is theirs and not their publisher's); or the LEA which employs us (as a publisher does, to an extent, an author), or the public  -whatever that is - that pays our wages (comparable to the readers of the novel that the author produces).

What rights do other posters feel we have to owning what we deliver in the classroom?

The quote facility is working quite clearly and self evidently. However additional security features have been added to the Education Forum today due to the continued relentless and malicious attacks we have suffered from recently. If these new security features impinge on members enjoyment and experience of the forum they should contact me and I will advise them on what to do.

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I have had suggestions that things which I or my colleagues have done should have copyright labels so they can't be used by other teachers. If we go down that route we are probably in the wrong job. I feel educational material ought to be "open source" and I am flattered if someone nicks one of my worksheets to use it.

If anybody copies my somewhat idiosyncratic teaching methods I wish them the best of luck!

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Guest Andrew Moore

Strictly, the received wisdom currently is that any materials a teacher produces as part of his or her normal duties do indeed belong to the employer. But the individual author of an original work also has a claim to copyright.

However, should any LEA attempt to enforce that unreasonably (for example, by exploiting the material for gain, without any kind of benefit to the author) then several things would happen. Someone would take out a test case, on George Michael versus Sony lines - which I'd expect them to win, as Mr. Michael did, assuming the materials were of such quality and quantity that they were above and beyond what the employer can normally expect a teacher to make (this would be so for many of our Web sites). And many teachers would simply stop doing things.

But most LEAs are far more sensible and benign, and have no such intentions. I would, however, fault most of them for a big omission - that is, that they do little or nothing to support teachers who want to generate new resources.

My LEA will now provide free, more or less unlimited, Web space to any teacher, governor and so on who wants to build things. Where teachers publish material in basic formats (MS Word documents, say) we will help to adapt them into more usable learning objects. So far, very few teachers have taken us up on this, but the idea is beginning to catch on.

We may, with the authors' agreement, develop some materials into stuff that we can sell through Curriculum Online (but here the teacher would at the least get a benefit in kind). But normally, everything is deemed to be an open learning object, and put into a public portal (www.eRiding.net). This does not affect the copyright, which still belongs to the author.

This support can go beyond the East Riding. If anyone has good learning objects, and would like some help in improving presentation, or adapting to new formats and data types, then we would be happy to publish these. Our approach is much as Derek commends, a creative commons philosophy.

Commercial publishers assert their copyright in statements of all the things that one cannot do with their products. I very much enjoy being able, on my Web sites, to invite the world to do what it likes with the stuff there.

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Teaching is acting.

For foreign language teachers, it is acting in a foreign language, which is

harder, yet a lot of fun.

I like it myself.

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