Making a Difference:
KET Professional Development

These videos offer a way for teachers to see instruction in action that they may have been reluctant to try.

Edie Mariani

KET producer

“These are fairy-dust teachers,” says Edie Mariani, a middle and high school teacher in Northern Kentucky for 29 years and now a content producer for KET.

Mariani is talking about the exemplary teachers who are videotaped for teacher training resources produced by KET and the Kentucky Department of Education. She calls them fairy-dust teachers because they “sprinkle their magic, reaching every student in the entire class, whether that student is struggling or excelling.”

That would make Karen Campbell of Hancock County High School a fairy dust teacher.

“Karen was teaching a class on American literature, and the students were reading about early American history,” recalls Mariani. “She started the lesson with ‘word storming,’ in which students listed words to represent anything they knew about early American history. Then the students got in groups and shared with each other. Finally the groups chose their 10 most important words, and a member of each group wrote those words on the blackboard.

“All of this took only 10 to 15 minutes, but every student—high, middle, and low-achieving—was engaged. Then Karen took over and pulled the key elements they would cover from the words. The kids constructed the meaning themselves, and it worked for kids with all different learning styles.”

Videos of classroom sessions such as this are transformed into professional development tools for teachers, teacher study groups, and pre-service teachers. The segments cover myriad subjects, are shot in a variety of settings—regular classrooms and special education resource rooms, for example—and show different teaching styles. They also show that reaching every student is not magic. All Kentucky teachers can adopt the strategies modeled in the videos.

What the professional development products have in common is that they show instructional strategies many teachers have only read about in books.

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“Teachers have read about these strategies and the research showing their effectiveness in their college coursework,” Mariani says, “but many have never seen it in practice. Sometimes teachers are not comfortable trying methods that are different from what they have experienced. These videos offer a way for teachers to see instruction in action that they may have been reluctant to try.”

It’s not just the video, but the way the video is created, that distinguishes KET’s professional development products.

“Other video-based professional development is out there for teachers,” notes Marianne Mosley, professional development producer and project director at KET, “but what we produce differs in three important and distinct ways: It’s free to Kentucky teachers, it’s Kentucky-specific, and the video is authentic. Other videos feature experts, but the classroom video is so obviously staged that teachers come away thinking that the instructional practices in the video won’t be applicable because they won’t be able to re-create these model conditions.

“We are able to show teachers that best practice instruction is possible with real Kentucky kids in real Kentucky classrooms. We then interview the teacher to provide the context and the instructional planning and rationale to support the classroom video.”

The result is professional development video products unlike anything else available to Kentucky teachers.