Taping teaching techniques helps foster education innovation
September 8, 1999
From Correspondent Gary Tuchman
HARTFORD, Connecticut (CNN) -- When teachers in some Connecticut schools stand up in front of their classes, there is an interloper in the audience -- a video camera.
Connecticut is a leader in the use of the classroom cameras, which are designed to give other educators creative ideas about how they can present information to students.
"I think it's a very strong concept. Teachers have ... worked in isolation in their classrooms. They haven't had opportunities to share," says Ray Pecheone of the Connecticut Department of Education.
"A video is an ideal way for a group of teachers to get together and group problem-solve about what could be done to improve the quality of teaching," says James Stigler, author of "The Teaching Gap," a book that explores how teaching differs across cultures.
Stigler's book is based on reviews of videotaped classes from around the world. He says American teachers can get pointers from educators in other countries.
"Japanese teachers often give students a math problem to work on that they've never been taught how to solve," he says. "Now, American teachers think you shouldn't do that. You're supposed to teach them how to solve it, then let them try to solve it on their own."
While the concept of videotaping classes has received critical acclaim, not every teacher, understandably, is comfortable with a camera tracking their every move.
But Earl Carlyon, a Connecticut high school science teacher, says he has become used to the taping and now rather enjoys it.
"It's a way of communicating with colleagues. It's a way of establishing a common curriculum, a common vocabulary," he says.
Parents grateful that teachers make house calls
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