In This Documentary
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.
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.
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.
"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
Correspondent and Lead Producer:
Executive Editor and Host:
Director, APM Arts & Ideas:
Ryan Katz, Minna Zhou, Emily Haavik
The American RadioWorks team includes Samara Freemark and Sasha Aslanian. Special thanks to the Hatcher Group and Kohnstamm Communications.
Support for "Teaching Teachers" comes from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Lumina Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Spencer Foundation. A note of disclosure: Deborah Ball is chair of the Spencer Foundation board and the Spencer Foundation has given money in the past to support research by Akihiko Takahashi. The foundation has no editorial influence on ARW's coverage.
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