Saturday, March 07, 2009

Teaching Pt. 19

Crowd control in schools is also critical, given that some schools in some neighborhoods, may have many students and may have many incidents. So what is needed are organizational methods that reduce or eliminate student incidents. The following ideas may help:

First we must look at student density and student flux. Student flux is defined as the number of students passing through a cross section of one part of the school hall per min. (similar to electromagnetic flux.) We must do a study of the incidents that have occurred in the past. Look at the students involved, student density, student flux, look at the locations where most incidents take place, look at what time most incidents take place, look at what days most incidents take place.

Now once we have all the statistics we can begin organizing the school in a manner to reduce the number of incidents. The basic approach comes from operations research, our goal is to reduce the probability that student incidents will occur.

Each student may be assigned an incident probability number that measures the likelihood that the student may cause trouble. This number can be calculated based on grades, attendance, and previous behavior of the student. This number may change as the student's grades and behavior record changes.

Obviously if the student density is down to 1 student per 20 sq meters, and the student flux is up to 10 students/min no incidents will occur, but of course it is impractical. If the student density is at a maximum and the student flux is at a minimum then incidents will have a high probability of occurring. So our goal is to find the optimum student density and optimum student flux to reduce the probability of incidents occurring while at the same time being practical.

One way to reduce student incidents, student density, and increase student flux, is to stage the school day. For example a certain group of students will start school at 8am, another group will start school at 9am, yet another at 10 am, and so on. Instead of hour intervals it can separated by half hour intervals, this can decided by operations research. Students who have a record of starting incidents can be separated in time and space, so they will never be in the same place at the same time. Groups of friends who have a record of starting incidents can be separated so as to reduce the likelihood that they will be involved in incidents.

Another idea is to place monitors in strategic locations throughout the school during the school day, this can be decided by operations research as well. Operations research can also decide if it is better have the monitor stand in one place, or is it better for the monitor to walk in a circuit around the halls. What is the minimum number of monitors, is there a monitor density or flux we should aim for?

Operations research can decide which students should go in which classrooms and at what time so as to reduce the probability that incidents both in class and in the halls may be minimized. What operations resarch can also decide is the optimum mix of students with a low incident probability number and students with a higher than average incident probability number so as to reduce the overall incident probability inside the classrooms.

Classroom seating can also be studied, students with high incident probability number will always sit in the front, the rest of the students can choose their own seating.

To further decrease the probability of student incidents motivational material can be played on the PA system throughout the day, everyday so as to continuously deliver positive messages to the minds of the students.

Another advantage of school staging is that minimizing the probability of in-school incidents also may have an effect on after-school incidents. Since students will not have the opportunity to follow up on incidents started in school.

Another idea separate from school organization is school path safety. School districts can statistically analyze how the students get to school, which streets, bus lines, subways, do most of the students use most of the time. So in the morning and afternoon these streets, bus lines, and subways can be monitored so as to ensure student safety. An advantage of this system is that students can more or less be guaranteed safety if they use the streets, bus lines, and subways that are more heavily monitored.

We can construct models so as to simulate student behavior both inside and outside of class, these models will be field tested so as to correspond with a high degree of accuracy with actual student behavior.

Once all or nearly all students are at school, the school is organized to minimize student incidents, motivational material is played continuously, and the students are made to study then real learning can take place.

John G.


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