The MTEI Videobank Project

Reading the Classroom as Text

The MTEI Videobank was developed to generate conversations about teaching and learning among educational leaders and their faculties. The videos are not designed to represent a particular model or definition of teaching, nor do they purport to be exemplars of excellence. They are meant to inspire collaborative inquiry and investigation. Although developed in three stages, they share certain features in common:

  • They represent “live” classroom interactions between teachers and students in after school settings.
  • They create opportunities to discuss teaching and learning using shared records of practice (e.g., videos, lesson plans, student work).
  • The videos in particular allow practice to be held still for examination, thus allowing attention to individual elements of teaching and the ways in which the elements connect to each other.
  • In contrast to live classrooms, the videos themselves can be played and replayed so that observers can check on what they have actually seen versus how they may have interpreted and judged what they have seen.
  • Studying these materials, much as one would study a text, helps develop a shared language for discussing teaching and learning as well as analytic skills and the habit of seeking evidence to support claims about learning.

Classroom Video Sets:

Set One: Classrooms studying Torah and prayer. Completed in 2000, this set of materials includes videos from four separate classrooms (also available on 4 DVDs), two involving Torah study and two involving the study of prayer. The students were in fourth and fifth grade. Each video is accompanied by a variety of materials: a guide to creating professional learning opportunities for teachers, teacher lesson plans and interviews, and curriculum materials used by students.

Set Two: Classrooms studying Israel. Completed in 2008, (also available as 2 DVDs), this set includes three selections from two early childhood classrooms and a selection of clips from a class of eight year olds in a congregational school, studying Israel. Each classroom selection also includes a second viewing with a “real time” narration from the classroom teacher explaining her thinking. Also included are interviews with the director of the early childhood center as well as the rabbi and educator of the synagogue.

Set Three: “Lesson Study” about Israel. Completed in 2010 (also available as 1 DVD), this video includes educators collaborating on planning on a text-based lesson on Israel, observing a classroom of children where the lesson is taught, and studying student work from the lesson. This video of a fifth grade class was filmed during an MTEI seminar and includes video-clips not only of classroom interaction with youngsters, but also of MTEI participants, planning the lesson and studying student work after the lesson.

Many thanks to the University of Cincinnati – College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services for hosting these videos.