The elite A-V squad -- projectionists for all teachers

The A-V Squad is not a name for a motorcycle gang, but shorthand for a group of school youngsters (one group per building) who are privileged to know, use, and repair the school's audiovisual equipment.

This should be an elite and exclusive group, perhaps even self-perpetuating previded racial and sex biases are eliminated by design. And it should be the members of the A-V Squad, almost without exception, who do any and all of the projection work for each and every teacher in the building.

Requests for slide and film projectors, for tachistoscopes, overhead projectors, and video cassettes should be routed through the A-V Squad leader. He or she, a student, would then check school schedules for his squad and assign one to work out projection time and place with the teacher involved.

I'm sure the A-V Squad will need an adult leader, but this primarily as a technical consultant -himself or herself thoroughly knowlcdgable about maintenance and repair of all school equipment.

But it should be the student leader who is in day-to-day charge of the squad, turning only to the adult leader for advice an counsel when all other avenues (that is, among fellow students) have been exhausted.

Training of new squad members should be the responsibility of old squad members, and a special file of up-to-date maintenance and repair manuals (and tools) should be available to the A-V Squad on a full-time basis.

Membership in such a group, understandably, would be a tremendous learning experience, and such a squad would be an asset to any school. But further than any gains for the students are the enormous gains for the teachers who could know that they have a working machine as well as a trained projectionist whenever they would want to use some audiovisual equipment.

That too much projection equipment lies idle in school after school (closets full of radios in French West Africa, for example), and that so many schoolchildren do not have an opportunity to learn through exciting visual and oral aids, is primarily due to the lack of well-cared-for equipment and the enormous "bother" it often is for a teacher to get, to set up, and to operate the necessary machinery.

The A-V Squad should end all that hassle, and with the ending of the "bother" should come extensive use of some of the more penetrating forms of instruction.

And who knows, maybe even the prejectionist will learn from something he sees or hears while he's carrying out his day's A-V Squad assignment.

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