A Classroom for Teachers

By Jennifer Chambers, The Detroit News

Great teachers are not born — they’re taught. That philosophy is the impetus behind a two-week teaching lab held annually at the University of Michigan’s School of Education, where the teacher and her methods are under study by educators, policymakers and others who hope to learn more about what makes a great educator.

Every day for two weeks, a special mathematics class for underperforming upper elementary students from Ypsilanti Public Schools is taught by Deborah Loewenberg Ball, an experienced elementary school teacher who is also dean of the U-M School of Education.

The 2 1/2-hour class is conducted in a format similar to a surgical theater, where Ball performs a live teaching lesson with about two dozen students who have been asked to solve math problems individually and as a group.

Cameras tape the experience and microphones record student answers and Ball’s techniques. A short distance away, adults watch, take notes and study Ball as she engages children in math. Continue reading…