Segments in this Video

TEACH: Introduction (04:06)


Several American teachers and their classrooms are surveyed to show the importance of educators in human development. Joel Laguna, Shelby Harris, Lindsay Chinn, and Matt Johnson are teachers with unconventional methods.

Initial Student Assessment (05:27)

Every teacher has students who come into the classroom with differing deficiencies. For Laguna, his students are trying to pass a difficult advanced placement exam for college credit. Harris explains if a child fails elementary school, they will have more difficulty in their high school and college career.

Matt Johnson's Inspiration (05:13)

In Johnson’s classroom, there are several students who started the year several grades behind in reading. To give his students a solid foundation, he must alter his teaching methods to meet their needs. Johnson describes his personal background and why he decided to pursue a career as an educator.

Preparing for Advanced Placement History (04:20)

Inside Laguna’s advanced placement history class, several students begin struggling with the material. Several students describe their personal lives and how it affects their drive to obtain an education.

Importance of Education (04:20)

Several of Johnson’s students share their dreams and why it is important for them to receive a good education. Johnson talks with his principal about his struggles with understanding reading methods and how to properly teach the subject.

Reaching Proper Grade Level (05:08)

The majority of Harris’ students began the school year below grade level, and several of them describe why they failed at school in the past. Algebra is central to college and high school, but 70 to 80 percent of kids at Martin Luther King Jr. Early College are not proficient in math.

Utilizing Classroom Technology (02:27)

Chinn’s assistant principal Sean Kavanaugh created 360 Math to engage her entire classroom. A common teaching strategy is for the teacher to focus on the students with moderate ability, but a grant for Khan Academy will help Harris focus on all her students.

Khan Academy (06:26)

For decades, society has repeatedly learned machines do not teach, but people do. Sal Khan created an online program to teach his cousins; now millions of people utilize the free resources. Laptops are brought into Harris’ classroom and Chinn hands out markers and erasers for her first day of 360-degree math.

District Exam Results (07:26)

Chinn’s class takes their second district exam and perform poorly, Johnson gives one of his struggling students a reading test, and forty-two of Laguna’s students receive failing essay grades. The teachers describe their frustration when the new systems fail, forcing them to reevaluate methods.

Joel Laguna's Inspiration (02:56)

Laguna tells the story of his early education and what inspired him to become a teacher. He talks with Eduardo Lopez, an advisor for his master's program at the University of California Los Angeles.

Seeking Feedback (07:47)

Lopez joins Laguna in his classroom to observe and give feedback about Laguna's teaching style and method. Each teacher reaches out to their advisors and mentors to find inspiration as they challenge the direct-instruction, traditional approach.

Further Expanding Teaching Methods (04:51)

Continuing in their search for the perfect teaching method, each teacher further challenges the boundaries of the traditional classroom. Laguna brings his AP history students in for a weekend to practice writing. Johnson purchases new books for disinterested reading students. Chinn gives one-on-one instruction to a struggling math student.

Peer Support in the Classroom (05:26)

Splitting her advanced students into groups, Harris allows them to peer-tutor struggling students so she can give one-on-one attention to those who are behind. Laguna allows his students to teach the entire class about their community.

Final Exams and Essays (08:27)

Johnson, Harris, and Chinn adequately prepared their students to pass their district finals; Laguna inspires his students before they walk into their advanced placement history exam. Traditional and nontraditional teaching methods were used in each teachers' classroom.

Future of the American Classroom (06:43)

Chinn’s class was unable to advance through the district material, but her students did excel beyond average for the material covered. Harris is elated by 70% of her class’ accelerated growth. Laguna’s entire class passed AP history and most of them receive college credit; 79% of Johnson’s students move forward a year or two in mathematics.

Why Do Teachers Care? (04:48)

Queen Latifah discusses the varying difficulties modern teachers face. She describes their tough work conditions and mental hardships. Every teacher perseveres for the good of their students; all of the students thank Harris, Johnson, Laguna, and Chinn.

Credits: TEACH (00:59)

Credits: TEACH

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We all have had a teacher who's shaped us, inspired us, even scared us, and whom we can credit with having empowered us to become who we are today. To look at education in America, Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim brings us his third documentary TEACH, which asks the question, What does it take to be a teacher? Offering a rare glimpse inside four public school classrooms, Guggenheim invites us to follow the struggles and triumphs of America's education system through the eyes, minds, and hearts of its most essential resource: teachers. Intense and emotional, this year-in-the-life of four public school teachers illustrates how tenacity, innovation, and a passion drives these educators as they navigate the ups and downs of the 2013 school year.

Length: 89 minutes

Item#: BVL146108

ISBN: 978-1-64623-570-4

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.