American RadioWorks |
teaching-teachers

Teaching Teachers

Research shows good teaching makes a big difference in how much kids learn. But the United States lacks an effective system for training new teachers or helping them get better once they're on the job. This documentary examines why, and asks what it would take to improve American teaching on a wide scale. We meet researchers who are trying to understand what makes teaching complex, and how to determine whether someone is ready to be a teacher. We also visit U.S. schools that are taking a page from Japan and radically rethinking the way they approach the idea of teacher improvement.

Recent Posts

  • 08.27.15

    An American way of teaching

    In 1993, a group of researchers set out to do something that had never been done before. They would hire a videographer to travel across the United States and record a random sample of eighth-grade math classes. What they found revealed a lot about American teaching.
  • 08.27.15

    Rethinking teacher preparation

    In the United States, teaching isn't treated as a profession that requires extensive training like law or medicine. Teaching is seen as something you can figure out on your own, if you have a natural gift for it. But looking for gifted people won't work to fill the nation's classrooms with teachers who know what they're doing.
  • 08.27.15

    A different approach to teacher learning: Lesson study

    In the United States, we tend to think that improving education is about improving teachers - recruiting better ones, firing bad ones. But the Japanese think about improving teaching. It's a very different idea.
  • 08.27.15

    Thinking about math from someone else’s perspective

    "What you do when you’re teaching is you think about other people’s thinking. You don’t think about your own thinking; you think what other people think. That’s really hard." -Deborah Ball

American RadioWorks |
teaching-teachers

Teaching Teachers

Research shows good teaching makes a big difference in how much kids learn. But the United States lacks an effective system for training new teachers or helping them get better once they're on the job. This documentary examines why, and asks what it would take to improve American teaching on a wide scale. We meet researchers who are trying to understand what makes teaching complex, and how to determine whether someone is ready to be a teacher. We also visit U.S. schools that are taking a page from Japan and radically rethinking the way they approach the idea of teacher improvement.

Recent Posts

  • 08.27.15

    An American way of teaching

    In 1993, a group of researchers set out to do something that had never been done before. They would hire a videographer to travel across the United States and record a random sample of eighth-grade math classes. What they found revealed a lot about American teaching.
  • 08.27.15

    Rethinking teacher preparation

    In the United States, teaching isn't treated as a profession that requires extensive training like law or medicine. Teaching is seen as something you can figure out on your own, if you have a natural gift for it. But looking for gifted people won't work to fill the nation's classrooms with teachers who know what they're doing.
  • 08.27.15

    A different approach to teacher learning: Lesson study

    In the United States, we tend to think that improving education is about improving teachers - recruiting better ones, firing bad ones. But the Japanese think about improving teaching. It's a very different idea.
  • 08.27.15

    Thinking about math from someone else’s perspective

    "What you do when you’re teaching is you think about other people’s thinking. You don’t think about your own thinking; you think what other people think. That’s really hard." -Deborah Ball


Adoption stories


This is Cristina's first school picture taken at Kensington Park Elementary School where she was attending Pre-K3. Cristina started Pre-K4 in August of 2005 at Canterbury Preschool at the University of Miami.

Ada Valdes
Miami, FL

Birth Country: CN
Decade of adoption: 2000 or later

I was born in Havana, Cuba and my great, great grandfather emigrated from Canton, China to Las Villas, Cuba. I came to the United States as a refugee from the Castro regime in the early 60s.

Three years ago, I traveled to China and adopted Yang Chun Ji (now Cristina Chun Ji Valdes) from Yangchun, Guangdong (Canton) China. Cristina is now four years old.

I am a single mother and my adoption was facilitated through a non-profit agency in Indiana named Families thru International Adoption. The process took 22 months in total and those 22 months were the hardest 22 months of my life. During the time I was waiting, there was talk that China was closing the doors to single parent adoptions. It is was speculated, but never really documented, that the Chinese government had discovered that many homosexuals in the United States were adopting from China because the laws in the United States did not allow them to. Because of this, I had to have friends and relatives write letters and I had to sign affidavits attesting to the fact that I was not a homosexual. My social worker had to include verbiage in my home study about my relationships with men and the reason why I never married.

Consequently, China has adopted quota for single parent adoptions and will only allow less than two percent of the adoptive population to be to single parents. They have raised the standard for single parents to be college educated and have a higher than average income. It is now very difficult for a single parent to adopt a child from China.

Fortunately, I have been approved and am currently in the process of adopting a second daughter.

The parent of some girls that came from the same orphanage in Yangchun, China maintain an internet e-list to keep our daughters in touch with each other. Last year we held a reunion in Williamsburg, VA and 100 girls, and their families, from all parts of the US, Canada and Europe attended. These girls ranged from as young as one and a half years to age nine. Our group was able to bring the orphanage director from China (accompanied by a party official) to attend the reunion. It was a wonderful experience to see all these girls, who had most probably been abandoned by families in search of a son, living the American lifestyle and definitely living an existence better than the boys they were given up for.

My daughter, Cristina, is growing up as a happy, dancing, multi-lingual Chinese Cuban American in Miami, FL. She loves her abuelo and abuela, her extended family of cousins, uncles and aunts, dim sum and frijoles negros, and Disney World. The American Dream came true for one of China's unwanted girls.



Back to Adoption Stories


American RadioWorks |
teaching-teachers

Teaching Teachers

Research shows good teaching makes a big difference in how much kids learn. But the United States lacks an effective system for training new teachers or helping them get better once they're on the job. This documentary examines why, and asks what it would take to improve American teaching on a wide scale. We meet researchers who are trying to understand what makes teaching complex, and how to determine whether someone is ready to be a teacher. We also visit U.S. schools that are taking a page from Japan and radically rethinking the way they approach the idea of teacher improvement.

Recent Posts

  • 08.27.15

    An American way of teaching

    In 1993, a group of researchers set out to do something that had never been done before. They would hire a videographer to travel across the United States and record a random sample of eighth-grade math classes. What they found revealed a lot about American teaching.
  • 08.27.15

    Rethinking teacher preparation

    In the United States, teaching isn't treated as a profession that requires extensive training like law or medicine. Teaching is seen as something you can figure out on your own, if you have a natural gift for it. But looking for gifted people won't work to fill the nation's classrooms with teachers who know what they're doing.
  • 08.27.15

    A different approach to teacher learning: Lesson study

    In the United States, we tend to think that improving education is about improving teachers - recruiting better ones, firing bad ones. But the Japanese think about improving teaching. It's a very different idea.
  • 08.27.15

    Thinking about math from someone else’s perspective

    "What you do when you’re teaching is you think about other people’s thinking. You don’t think about your own thinking; you think what other people think. That’s really hard." -Deborah Ball