Show and Tell for Teachers, Inspired by Reality TV

Learning sciences literature supports the idea that human beings are wired to learn through observation. That’s what makes this bank to expert teaching such a great resource for working teachers and teachers in training. I know that I have learned a great deal myself from watching other teachers teach, and even if teachers don’t put what they see into direct and immediate practice, they are sure to come away inspired. — Kelly Searsmith

by Motoko Rich / New York Times / 15 August 2012

Great teaching, it is sometimes said, is one of those things where you know it when you see it. Now, teachers in Washington will be able to see a lot more of it.

District of Columbia Public Schools / NYT

In deference to a world enthralled by shows like “Extreme Makeover” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the public school district in Washington has hired a reality television company to produce videos intended to improve the skills of its teachers.

The 80 videos, 5 to 15 minutes in length, are peppered with quick jump cuts, slick screen labels and a jaunty soundtrack. In short interviews and classroom snippets, the district’s highest-performing teachers demonstrate how they teach a range of lessons, from adding decimal numbers to guiding students of differing ability levels through a close reading of the Marshall Plan.

The videos, financed by a $900,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, were developed as a complement to Washington’s evaluation system, known as Impact, in which teachers are judged on student test scores and classroom observations.

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Image Source: NYT / article