Academic journal article Language, Learning & Technology

Teachers Understanding Teaching: A Multimedia Hypertext Tool

Academic journal article Language, Learning & Technology

Teachers Understanding Teaching: A Multimedia Hypertext Tool

Article excerpt

Title                 Teachers Understanding Teaching: 
                      A Multimedia Hypertext Tool 
Author                Karen Johnson and Glenn Johnson 
Series                TeacherSource 
Platform              Macintosh or PC 
Hardware              Macintosh: 68030 Macintosh with 4 MB RAM 
requirements          available (8 MB recommended); System 7.0 or 
                      later; 13" color monitor (640 x 480) with Color 
                      8 bit, 256 colors; Macintosh CD-ROM 
                      180 KB/second transfer rate, or faster. 
                      Windows: 386/33 megahertz or better; 
                      4 MB RAM available (8 MB 
                      recommended); 13" color monitor (640 x 480) 
                      with Color 8 bit, 256 colors; 
                      double-speed or faster CD-ROM. Windows 
                      NT does not support the progress 
                      tracking system. 
Publisher             Heinle and Heinle 
                      20 Park Plaza 
                      Boston, MA 02116 
Support               70-page manual; online help 
Year of Publication   1998 
Version               1.01 
Target audience       Language teachers in pre-service or in-service 
                      professional development programs 
Price                 $68.95 
ISBN                  083846356-8 


Readers involved in language teacher education are likely to be interested in Teachers Understanding Teaching, which explores teachers' ideas about teaching and includes footage and discussion of video clips of three actual ESL classrooms in the US. The classes cover a range of levels: a 4th-5th grade content-based ESL science course, a 7th-8th grade language and literature class, and a pre-university IEP class.

Like other materials in the TeacherSource Series, Teachers Understanding Teaching contains three main strands: Voices, Frameworks, and Investigations. Voices provides an insider's view of teaching, with excerpts from interviews with the teachers on their knowledge and beliefs about L2 teaching and learning. Frameworks presents an outsider's perspective, with information about theoretical issues gleaned from research on teaching and teachers. Investigations bridges theory and practice, showing excerpts from actual classroom instruction, organized around instructional considerations, and accompanied by the teachers' commentary on the excerpts. A Tasks section provides 35 activities to further users' understanding of concepts presented in the three strands. The goal of the program, to be used within a professional development language teaching program, is to help present and future teachers make sense of what they do in classrooms and why.


Teachers Understanding Teaching opens with a choice of the three strands: Voices, Frameworks, and Investigations, each of which also has a number of subsections to explore. The Voices strand includes five sections called "Understandings": Second Language Learning, Students, TESOL, Memories of Teachers, and Beliefs (see Figure 1). Users access excerpts from the interviews by first selecting a topic to explore, and then choosing one of the three teachers. Further information is available in Key Concepts, which can also be accessed from a pull-down menu available in all strands.


Frameworks contains four "Research Issues": Learning to Teach, Teachers' Knowledge, Teacher Decision Making, and Teachers' Beliefs. In this strand, users click on a topic, and are shown a filing cabinet with tabbed files indicating references (e.g., Johnson, 1998); these references discuss ideas which theoreticians and researchers feel are important in teaching. Teachers' Beliefs, for example, has 12 tabbed files, each file containing a short quote from one citation relevant to the topic of teachers' beliefs. …

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