George Lucas Educational Foundation

Curry School of Education: Early Classroom Exposure Improves Teacher Preparation

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Preparing Aspiring New Teachers: Lessons from Curry School of Education
Video & Transcript

Early Classroom Exposure Improves Teacher Preparation (Transcript)

Randy Bell: Be careful. I don’t want you to think that I'm saying that lecturing is wrong. There's a place for all different modes of instruction.

Voice Over: For decades, America's schools of education have spent countless hours lecturing students on teaching theory, leaving many of them ill prepared for the realities they'll face in today's classrooms. Today, prospective teachers are learning as much from working with students as they are from working with college professors. And in places like the University of Virginia's Curry school program, they will graduate with a solid grounding in their academic subject matter, and the teaching know how to make concepts like the Doppler effect come alive in the classroom.

Randy Bell: Now what I wanna do is toss it around the room, and I want you folks to notice the sound as it's approaching or going away from you, all right? Don't hurt anybody.

I wanted there to be an opportunity for students to experience the phenomena in a classroom. They have a basic understanding of their content or their subject area. They're pretty green when it comes to knowing how to teach that. And I wanted to model how you could start something that really engages students

Teacher 1: We were trying to look at if we could make [inaudible].

We set up--

Voice Over: At Curry, students get into real classrooms with real kids, early and often. Sophomore year is generally limited to observing in classrooms. Later in the program, students get involved in one on one tutoring.

Teacher 2: And try doing file, quit, and see if that works.

Voice Over: They also develop and present some class lessons before honing their teaching skills as full time student teachers.

Jessica Ozimek: I want you guys to think of a person who you think exemplifies-- you know, you like the way they present-- they're a good actor or actress, or they're a good speaker.

It looks so easy, until you get in there and do it, and then you're like, "Whoa, this is so hard." I mean, getting ready for a lesson, hours go into it. Classroom management, I mean, that is a huge issue.

When you present information, that presents information--

Mary Hatwood Futrell: There's nothing like walking into a classroom of twenty, twenty five, thirty active students and you've got to teach them. And the first thing you've got to do is to be able to manage the classroom, because if you can't manage a classroom, you're not gonna teach very much of anything.

And the second thing you've gotta do is to be able to present the lesson in a way that the children understand they can learn and they'll want to learn. There's no place to do that better than to actually be in a classroom with a group of students.

Jessica Ozimek: -- to decide which piece of artwork each person's gonna do and then who's gonna do the biography.

Virginia Coffey: You find that picture that you wanted.

Voice Over: Kindergarten teacher, Virginia Coffey, serves as a mentor for Curry students like Alexa Kane. Coffey graduated from Curry before it began to emphasize early classroom exposure, which, she feels, is essential for success.

Virginia Coffey: It's a very sink or swim profession, and so I think it's valuable that Curry has chosen to put them in earlier and give them more exposure over a period of time.

How much time do lawyers get and how much time to medical doctors get to work under supervision?

But I think it's the same in anything you do, where the more you do it, the better you get because of that experience.

Everybody: -- run, run, as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man.

Kid 1 on video: Kenny, if you weren't so dumb, we'd be done by now.

Kid 2 on video: Calm down, Leon. Just 'cause you did all the work on this assignment doesn't mean you're better than us.

Voice Over: To extend actual classroom experiences, Curry uses multimedia technology to offer the next best thing, virtual classrooms.

Teacher 1 on video: Don't forget to work on your project.

Voice Over: Developed by Curry faculty members, CaseNEX presents case studies of teaching situations, combining video recreations, comments by experts and video conferencing capability, delivered online.

Teacher 2 on video: Okay, Edith, what's up?

Teacher 3 on video: There have been several reports about your unwillingness to use the technology that's available to you for your class. Now to some parents, that's very important.

Teacher 2: I have too much to teach now to try and incorporate video games and the internet--

Bob McNergney: If I look at this and I say, "Yikes! This is something I might have to deal with while I'm out there," then I'm gonna give it my all. And so we're trying to prepare people, edge them a little bit closer to what it's really like out there, and up their chances for being successful.

Voice Over: CaseNEX allows diverse groups of students to share their views on common teaching dilemmas.

Student 3: I don't know. There's these two sides to that issue, so what do you think of that?

Voice Over: For this case, a Curry class links up with students at Hampton University.

Marsha Gartland: We set up the video conferencing camera and using iVisit, we saw each other online.

Student 4: Okay, I agree with what your student said.

I thought that was really interesting, being that--

Marsha Gartland: Then we brought up some of the things that we really wanted to delve deeper into and challenge each other's ideas on more.

Rudy Ford: -- the first time I saw that case got my mind working overtime--

When you're able to take a look at another culture, another school, another neighborhood, much easier. And form partnerships with people through the internet and email, that opened lines of communication that haven't been open before.

One of our students has commented. Is this a good time for me to share her comment?

Marsha Gartland: Please do.

Randy Ford: Okay, she--

As the technology becomes more commonplace in society, I think more people will be talking frankly with each other and that's got to improve, both teaching and learning and society.

Voice Over: With the combination of technology training and early classroom exposure, Curry is helping promising teacher candidates achieve their full potential.

Randy Bell: I know you all have the potential to be the kind of teacher that can change students' lives and make students enjoy subjects that they never thought they could enjoy, or that they could have success in before.

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Video Credits

Produced and Directed by

  • Ken Ellis
  • Jon Shenk, Actual Films

Director of Content:

  • Sara Armstrong

Associate Producers:

  • Leigh Iacobucci
  • Megan Mylan


  • Karen Sutherland

Camera Crew:

  • Jon Shenk
  • Paul Rusnak
  • Eric Williams
  • Wes Sullivan
  • Nathan Clap

Post Production:

  • Nathaniel Higgs, Morgan Ho, Deirdre May


  • Kris Welch

At the University of Virginia, aspiring teachers are well prepared by working directly in classrooms and using the latest technology.

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Social and Emotional Learning in Action

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Social and Emotional Learning in Action
Video & Transcript

Social and Emotional Learning in Action (Transcript)

Sarah: Basically what I want you to know is what people say to us and how other people treat us kind of shapes what we think about ourselves. And I want to share with you a story. One day Maria woke up…

Narrator: Sarah Button is about to tear her heart out in front of fifth graders at the Patrick Daly School in Brooklyn.

Sarah: And her sister came into the room and said "You're going to wear those old rags to school?"

Narrator: Her lesson is part of the curriculum developed by R.C.C.P., the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program and it's designed to help kids identify and control their emotions.

Linda: The work that we do in the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program is about equipping young people with the kids of skills they need to both identify and manage their emotions, to communicate those emotions effectively, and to resolve conflict nonviolently. So it's a whole set of skills and competencies that for us fall under the umbrella of emotional intelligence.

Sarah: And started complaining that Maria always takes the last bowl of cereal. "You never leave any for me."

Linda: We are talking about a whole new vision of education that says that educating the heart is as important as educating the mind.

Sarah: So that was Maria's day. How do you think Maria is feeling now if this is what's left of her heart?

Has anybody ever had a day like Maria had?

Student: When I went to my uncle's house, they looked at my clothes and they started laughing.

Sarah: Okay how did that make you feel?

Student: Sad.

Sarah: Now I want you to think what kind of effect do you think this has on Maria if day in and day out this is what happens to her? This is the way she's being treated. What kind of effect does that have on her?

Student: She ain't gonna have no self-respect.

Linda: We're really not teaching values. We're actually teaching skills. We're teaching some solid competencies that people can learn and use. They're almost like tools in a toolbox.

Class: One, two, three, action.

Sarah: And freeze. Nice job. Hector?

Hector: Sad?

Sarah: Alright.

Narrator: The R.C.C. program at this school grew out of a tragic incident in 1992. A young student had left the school after an emotional outburst and when Principal Patrick Daly followed him into a neighborhood housing project, Daly was caught in the crossfire of a drug deal gunfight.

Sarah: Once we're able to identify the feelings we're having, we're going to use it as a tool and a strategy to help us solve problems.

Class: One, two, three, action.

Student: Stacy, you're a lousy friend. You didn't even invite me to your birthday party. I have you over to my house all the time and you couldn't invite me to one stupid party?

Student: Dina, why don't you shut up? Who cares what you think? It was a wonderful party but you wouldn't have known because you'd never know how to act. If I invited you, you would have ruined the whole thing.

Teacher: And freeze. Okay, that's skit A. They're now going to show you skit B and this is using the strategy that I'm going to teach you in just a minute.

Narrator: One way the R.C.C. Program helps diffuse classroom conflicts is by teaching children how to express their emotion in nonthreatening statements called "I messages".

Class: Okay, one, two, three, action.

Student: Stacy, I felt hurt and angry when I found out you had a birthday party and you didn't invite me because I thought we were good friends and it just doesn't seem to me something a good friend would do.

Student: Dina, I wanted to invite you to my birthday party, but my mother said I could only invite two friends because all my cousins were coming. I wanted to talk to you before the party but I didn't know how to. I would like to keep on being friends.

Sarah: And freeze. Alright, yeah, nice job.

Sarah: Well what we were doing today is definitely, it's an artificial situation. It's not real life and granted, when my kids go and they're into a situation where someone has said "You talk about my mother and I'm not going to have it, forget about it." You know they're going to slip and they're going to go back "Well you said this," and they're going to get their attitudes and that's kids. But what you try to do is you try to bring them back. You try to review. You go over it again. You say "What's another way that we could solve this problem?"

When you don't play with me because-

Class: I thought we were good friends.

Sarah: I want to say just one last thing. The true test is what happens when you're in the situation and that's why we practice it so that hopefully the next time you're in a situation where you're finding yourself getting very upset, maybe you can stop, identify what feeing you're having, why you're having it, and maybe that will help to not cause more of a problem.

And you start with as we've done in here is building your community. And you build on that every month. And you keep going and going.

I'll begin. And I'm very thankful for my wonderful class. And I'm going to pass on to--

Student: I'm thankful for a family because without a family I wouldn't be here today.

Sarah: By the end of the year you have such a tight-knit focused caring group it's amazing. I mean they might not carry that on to the next year, but you know at least for that year, you've really made a difference in those kids' lives.

Narrator: For more information on what works in public education, go to

Embed Code Embed Help

You are welcome to embed this video, download it for personal use, or use it in a presentation for a conference, class, workshop, or free online course, so long as a prominent credit or link back to Edutopia is included. If you'd like more detailed information about Edutopia's allowed usages, please see the Licenses section of our Terms of Use.


Video Credits

Produced, Written, and Directed by

  • Ken Ellis

Associate Producers:

  • Diane Curtis
  • Leigh Iacobucci


  • Blair Gershkow
  • Sam Hinckley

Camera Crew:

  • Guy Jackson
  • Gabriel Miller


  • Susan Blake


  • Sam Hinckley
The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program helps develop emotional intelligence in Brooklyn inner-city students.

Comments (6) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I liked this movie because it helps resolving problems and shows how to react to a problem

Gina Manning's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I read about this program in the book "Waging Peace in Our Schools" by Linda Lantieri and Janet Patti. These types of programs can only help our children. I teach at the high school level and am currently obtaining my Ed.D from Walden University. My emphasis will be that social/emotional learning can not only help students manage their emotions, but can then also help them to be more successful academically. I really appreciate the fact that Edutopia is sharing this information through its magazines as I hope the word will spread and school districts across the nation will implement this type of learning into its curriculum. Thank you so much!

Francesca's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

The presentation is outstanding and very informative and the time was used wisely to demonstrate social emotional learning. Your students were excellent. Well done!

Ray's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am eighteen and I stumbled across I messages by mistake. I was having an argument with my Mom. I told her I wanted her to stop yelling because she wasn't helping the situation. She walked away insulting me but she let me deal with the situation and finish it. I started looking for other ways for dealing with our agruments because I don't ever want my children to tell me that tears that you aren't allowed to cry are harder to wipe away as I told my mother.

Janet Fortune's picture

We need a specific program and experts to know that conflict resolution is one of the skills our children and adolescents need and will need in adulthood? "Resolving Conflict Creatively?" "Inner Resilience?" I can not believe that we need special programs to know that raising children involves the development of these skills.

Alvaro Ricardez's picture
Alvaro Ricardez
Mexican TEFL teacher in Junior High School at Oaxaca, Mexico

I think we need training to educate hearts. We were brought up with only our minds as target, but not our inner feelings and emotions. As we never were educated emotionally, we are emotionally illiterate! Do you expect an uneducated person to be a good teacher? We try to educate minds, but we forget hearts! It's time to change this sad situation. Maybe our students will avoid wars better than us! Thanks a lot!

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