Students, faculty and guests gather at the University of Michigan School of Education for "Grand Rounds," where they present and discuss issues in their teaching practice much the same way doctors present and discuss issues in their medical practice. (Photo: Suzanne Pekow)

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.
A class of sixth-graders at the Murch Elementary School in Washington, D.C., 1943. (Photo: Library of Congress)

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.

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
Japanese teachers doing lesson study at Oshihara Elementary School in Japan, June 2012. (Photo: Tom McDougal)

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.
Paul Quinn students working on the We Over Me Farm. (Photo: Suzanne Pekow)

The reinvention of Paul Quinn College

Paul Quinn College was a sorry sight when Michael Sorrell, the school's fifth president in as many years, drove onto the Dallas campus to see what he was dealing with. As Sorrell looked around campus, he had one thought. How do you save a school that everyone thinks is already dead?
Lysious Ogolo graduating from Howard University. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Lysious Ogolo: ‘I didn’t know what a historically black college was’

Lysious Ogolo is an audio production major at Howard University. He's originally from Nigeria, and moved to the United States with his family in 2008 when he was 18 years old.
Lilian Spriggs interviewing her father. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Lilian Spriggs: ‘When I look at HBCUs, I think of independence’

Lilian Spriggs is an audio production major at Howard University, from Jackson, Mississippi. After graduation, she wants to work as an on-air personality at a radio station.
Students on the campus of Howard University, 1870.
(Photo courtesy of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center Howard University Archives)

The history of HBCUs in America

Zach Hubert came out of slavery with an adage that he would pass on to his children, and his children's children, and their children down the line. "Get your education," he would always say to them when his family gathered together in later years. "It's the one thing they can't take away from you."
Producer Emily Hanford recording in a preschool classroom in Palatka, Florida  Photo by Stephen Smith

From the Archives: Early Lessons

Head Start got its start 50 years ago. Our documentary, "Early Lessons," by Emily Hanford, profiles the program that inspired the creation of Head Start.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Henninger High School in Syracuse, New York, during the college affordability bus tour, Aug. 22, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Henninger High School in Syracuse, New York, during the college affordability bus tour, Aug. 22, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Goodbye, College Ratings (For Now)

The Obama administration recently declared that it would no longer pursue a college ratings system based on accessibility, affordability and student success. And college presidents everywhere breathed a sigh of relief.