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


in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Invest in summer education programs

File under: education, social networks, ministry, literacy, math, science, summer camp

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From: Robyn H., Birmingham, AL

The Children's Fresh Air Farm in Birmingham, Alabama, is a ministry of the Independent Presbyterian Church. It focuses on long-term relationships with children from low-wealth communities who are struggling to meet reading goals in the first and second grade. Through the church's STAIR literacy program, church members tutor students during the school year. Then, during the summertime, children are invited to the farm, a sprawling summer camp where students receive intensive remedial education, as well as breakfast and lunch, outdoor recreation, and enrichment activities.

The camp is free, which allows more families to participate and helps keep students from falling behind academically over summer break. Children get a traditional summer camp experience in addition to academic enrichment. They also get the chance to visit sites around Birmingham, like the McWane Science Center, the Birmingham Art Museum, the Civil Rights Institute, and Jones Valley Urban Farm.

I wrote a story about this camp on our blog, and received a tremendous response from the local community in praise of this project. I think it's a great example of a church congregation building relationships with those they serve and making a real impact in their community.

Students take a nationally normalized test to assess reading and math before and after camp, and they get education and enrichment from licensed, professional teachers. The investment IPC has made in this program is really paying off; I think these children will see the benefits for years to come.


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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