Dr. Curtiss at Harvard

Dr. Pam Curtiss spent two weeks at Harvard working with a group of professors and practitioners in a major study that uses videotaping to improve teacher performance in the classroom.

“Deliberate teaching is the only way to impact student achievement,” says Dr. Curtiss, a professor in the College of Education. “Teachers can’t get a sense of what they are doing until they see it.”

The study, titled Visibly Better, is intended to generate a set of guiding principles and research-based best-practices to gain a deeper understanding of what works in K-12 classrooms, as well as what is not effective.

Dr. Curtiss was invited to join a working group of experts from around the country, based on her groundbreaking research on the topic 30 years ago at the University of Nebraska/Lincoln.

“It was way, way ahead of its time,” she says. “I am very excited that this is now happening.”

The goal is to strengthen teaching across the nation by developing a tool to help teachers hone their skills. Researchers theorize that analyzing videos can accelerate teacher improvement. The technology includes placing cameras and microphones in the classrooms so teachers can capture their lectures and receive feedback on the performance.

Dr. Curtiss and the other experts spent two “jam-packed weeks” in October on the Ivy League campus. Her highly regarded research is a key component in the project and she has been invited to continue with the initiative, providing feedback as the program is developed.