"My Best Teacher" explores the work of great teachers and the barriers faced in education today.
Think back to a teacher you thought to be the best. One who got through to you, made a subject come alive, or helped you realize your talent. In the documentary "My Best Teacher: The Educational Legacy of France & David Hawkins", we seek to illuminate these qualities, especially as lived by Frances and David, beloved educators and mentors to many. We went into classrooms to talk to students and great teachers about how they keep learning alive. We found a strong, beautiful, collective wisdom, one that has a strong tradition but that continually faces barriers within systems that seem to want to limit it or continually try to redefine it.
We're working hard to push this film beyond a tabloid of educational jargon and expertism by illustrating what constitutes real learning, it's practice and struggles in the real world. Using rich historical photos shot by Elizabeth Kellogg, lively classroom footage, and strong opinions of top educators and their students, we try to shed light on learning at its deepest level.
Here's what we did:
▪ We explored the remarkable work of educators David and Frances Hawkins, who touched the lives of children and teachers in US rural, inner city, and reservation schools. The Hawkins' ideas influenced Head Start, Elementary Science Study, & Open Education. Their collaboration with the University of Colorado, Harvard, Queen’s University-Ontario, and schools in Leicestershire, England and Reggio Emilia, Italy has impacted thousands of students and teachers.
▪ We found out how students, young and old, described their best learning experiences and best teachers.
▪ We documented some of the richest classroom environments in our time, searching for the beliefs that connect with, and across, the teachers who create them.
▪ We asked teachers why definitions of great teaching seem to elude contemporary professional agreement and what barriers they faced in the system.
The project began 3 years ago, the footage is collected, the story is being edited and we just need a little help to get to the end. The money donated to this project will go toward paying a faithful tech assistant and offsetting advertising and distribution costs. Our deepest gratitude goes out to you for your support on this project!
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