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The rationale for this project is also based on research that describes the value of master teacher instruction, the importance of video and multimedia as a tool for teacher professional development, and the need for sound teaching methods for pre-service and in-service teachers. This model of master teacher instruction of lesson plan content has been used in a variety of educational settings. 

Research by Singer (2000) emphasizes the importance of reflection and building communities for novice teachers.  He discusses the use of teacher-produced videos that demonstrate the teaching of inquiry-based learning in their classrooms.  Merle Marsh (2001) mentions that scheduling of teachers teaching teachers is problematic, but through technology and the Internet these scheduling problems can be eliminated.  “Videos of our best teachers can be shared online with other educators all over the world.”  He cites examples of video case studies that provide professional development through short videos of master teachers in action.

University-based projects involved in “Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to use Technology,” a project of the US Department of Education, voiced the emergence of video tools for pre-service teachers as a way to show real-life situations for pre-service teachers to contemplate as they go out and teach in their own classrooms.  Dr. David Georgi, (2002) California State University-Bakersfield, documented the success of his project’s use of web-based video.  He stated, "This has enormous advantage as a video tool because we can put up links and resources around it.  Teachers post their lesson plans with links to reflections by people such as an expert, a principal or a university supervisor.  Teachers can have layers of reflection that are embedded around the video, allowing the viewer to gain different perspectives.  Web-based video allows you to present an exemplary practice and have discourse from a variety of sources by a click of a button."  Susan Loucks-Horsley (1998) also espouses the value of videos accompanied by a facilitation guide in their ability to encourage dialogue and reflection on the teaching of science.

The “In Time” project (Integrating New Technologies into the Methods of Education), sponsored by the US Department of Education, had 35 university faculty revising 50 methods courses to integrate online teaching vignettes.  Results showed that “teacher preparation students find the narratives and actions of real teachers and real kids at real schools a valuable resource for developing their own ideas of using technology and teaching strategies effectively.”

Moore and Ritsema (2003) state their case for use of video.  They say “we found that examining actual video records of practice brought teaching problems to the surface.  In addition, video records serve as evidence that can confirm or negate statements about teaching and learning.  Using video offers a number of practical advantages:

  • Video is an accurate record that can be revisited
  • Video allows access to classrooms
  • Video permits selection of content for discussion
  • Video promotes careful consideration of specific teacher and student interaction
  • Video documents student thinking as exhibited in classroom discourse
  • Video provides a backdrop for deeper discussion when participants’ thinking/beliefs surface

Important Role of Master Teachers in Teacher Professional Development
Research has indicated that master teachers provide incentive for teachers to enter or continue teaching.  Mentoring provides value to both the mentors and the student. For the mentor there is satisfaction in transmitting knowledge and pedagogical skills.  “Much of this evidence is intangible and is not contained in teacher preparation programs.  It might be lost entirely if it were not rediscovered by each beginner “(ERIC ED271477, 1986).  This provides strong argument for using master teachers in the role of mentor to transmit this knowledge and professional expertise that they have established through years of experience.  Our videos will showcase master teachers as they impart teaching skills and content knowledge through unscripted dialogue in working with actual students in the classroom.

Merle Marsh (2001) describes the value of teachers learning from other teachers.  “Although no two teachers teach in exactly the same way, they understand what is possible for each other and how to make what seems impossible possible.  Teachers recognize those who are exceptional teachers and copy them in their own way.  They model what successful teachers are doing and reshape the methods to fit their unique style.  Although they may participate in conferences, graduate courses and in-service sessions, most teachers attribute their successes in teaching to ideas and methods gathered from colleagues.  Writing about good teachers or telling about them doesn't have the clout of seeing a master teacher in action.  It's even more difficult to describe best practices using technologies.  There's one sure way of sharing and that is to observe the teacher and the techniques -- live or on video.”

Need for Innovative Education for Pre-service Teachers
Results from a pilot undergraduate teacher education study linking colleges of education with public schools led the researchers to conclude that “for public schools to meet the challenges of society, methods of preparing teachers must be part of the reform in the higher education institutions.  Teacher preparation institutions need to align their program to what is actually happening to children in public schools.”  (Williams and Alawiye, 2001)

Ball (1999) states that “better opportunities can be created by using strategic documentation of practice. Copies of student work, videotapes of classroom lessons, curriculum materials, and teachers’ notes all would be candidates.” (p.14)

There have been ongoing questions about the effectiveness of classroom instruction in teacher education programs.  In his research study, Technology as an Instructional Tool for Teacher Educators, Tahsin Khalid says “Educators have been questioning the ineffective instruction in pre-service teacher education programs.  They claim that such ineffective teacher education programs are producing future elementary teachers that are not equipped with the appropriate teaching tools for the new millennium.” (Khalid 2001)  Khalid cites Lord (1999), who describes the reason for this ineffectiveness and says that because of ineffective classroom instruction, our pre-service teachers do not retain the information that they learn in their science classrooms.  Lord cites Shymansky (1992) and says, “In many of the most celebrated teacher-training programs in the nation, science education professors are schooling students about innovative and effective methods of teaching but doing so in a pedantic, traditional teacher-centered fashion.” Recent advances have made possible the use of various tools to improve the teaching-learning process in the classrooms.”(p.24)

Successful Models of Videos for Teacher Professional Development
This model of master teacher instruction of lesson plan content has been used in a variety of educational settings.  A number of successful video productions have been developed by Annenburg/CPB and by PBS.  The proposed principal investigator, Kristina Bishop, has been an evaluator of one such successful program developed by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS Mathline), in which math curriculum was presented by master teachers and was included in pre-service and in-service university teacher education.  The videos and video clips as well as the lesson plan and related standards are presently available on the web.  The PBS program videos provide a look into exemplary classrooms where K-12 students and teachers are engaged in worthwhile National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards-based learning and which help teach mathematics concepts in new, interactive ways.  Presently the PBS Mathline videos are online to be used in a variety of teacher training settings -- from informal individual use to incorporation in a pre-service course, or as part of district in-service professional development.

Dr. Bishop’s (2000) evaluation findings showed that the majority of students (teachers) surveyed stated that the videos were an effective means of demonstrating a real classroom.  Pre-service teachers appreciated the opportunity to view other teachers in action and said that the videos helped make many theories and examples discussed in their coursework more meaningful.  The videos provided effective support for modeling sound teaching methods.  The instructors agreed that the videos were a powerful catalyst for discussion, that it was easy to integrate into their course agenda, and that the videos were important resources for their courses.



 Web Site

Science Images
Video series for elementary and middle school science

North Central Regional Educational Laboratory


PBS Mathline
Video series for math teachers of all grades

Public Broadcasting System

lessonplans /search_6-8.shtm

(middle school example)

In Time Program
Videos of teachers integrating technology into their classrooms

US Dept. of Education


Engaging with Literature
Video library of master teachers teaching short stories




Bainbridge, W. L. (2002) Master Teacher Programs Worthy. Retrieved September 24, 2005 from http://search?q=cache:RtQhS7FXm1YJ:www.masterteacher.com/standards

Ball Loewenberg, Deborah, Cohen, David K. (1999) Developing Practice, Developing Practitioners: Toward a Practice-Based Theory of Professional Education, In Darling-Hammond, Linda, Sykes, Gary, Teaching as the Learning Profession: Handbook of Policy and Practice.  Jossey-Bass:  San Francisco

ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education Washington DC (2002) Use of Online Videos as a Teaching Tool.  Retrieved September 23, 2005 from http://www.mtsu.edu/~itconf/2002/proposals/58.html

Georgi, D., (2002) PT3 - Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology. Retrieved September 20, 2005 from http://www.pt3.org/stories/video.html

Khalid, T. (2001). Pre-service teachers’ misconceptions regarding three environmental issues. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 6, 102-119. 

Lord, T. R. (1999). A comparison between traditional and constructivist teaching in environmental science. Journal of Environmental Education, 30, 22-28.

Loucks-Horsley, S. (1998) Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics, p.165-166

Marsh, M., (2001) Teachers Teaching Teachers – from Sharing Information in the Hallways to Desktop Movies on the Internet. Retrieved September 22, 2005 from http://www.computerlearning.org/articles/TTT.htm

Moore, D.L., Ritsema, B. (2003) Developing Learning Communities Around Video of Practice. Education Week. Retrieved September 22, 2005 from http://www.enc.org/features /forcus/archive/mathvideo/document.shtm

National Science Education Standards. (1996). National Academy Press:  Washington DC

Shymansky, J. (1992-Cited in Lord 1999). Using constructivist ideas to teach science teachers about constructivist ideas, or teachers are students too! Journal of Scien ce Teacher Education, 3, 53-57.

Singer, J, (2000) Fostering Reflection and Building Communities for Novice Teachers. Retrieved September 15, 2005 from http://www.cilt.org/seedgrants/tpd/

Williams, H.S., Alawiye, O. (Dec. 2001) Assessment: lessons learned from a year long undergraduate teacher education pilot program – Statistical Data Included.  Journal of Instructional Psychology.


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