Day 3

What does great teaching
look like?


Yesterday, we examined the characteristics and qualities of great teachers. Today, we will take a closer look at what great teachers do in order to portray what great teaching looks like. We refer to the art of teaching as pedagogy. Miriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary (n.d.) defines pedagogy as “the art, science, or profession of teaching.” As you watch the following video, think about the art and science of teaching and be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What are the teachers doing?
  • What are the students doing?
  • What do the classrooms look like?

Today, we will:

  • Research best teaching practices using Library and Internet sources
  • Conduct web conferencing Teacher of the Year Interviews
  • Conduct video interviews of students and teachers around campus
  • Create an infographic to answer the question: What does great teaching look like?

Icebreaker: Follow My Instructions

InstructionIceBreakerYesterday, we picked our teams. Now, we will develop our team communication skills. The purpose of this activity is two-fold, to learn how to: (1) provide precise instructions, and (2) interpret instructions accurately.

To begin this activity, one team member will come to the front of the class and pick an envelope. This team member will be the instructor for this activity. The instructors return to their teams, open the envelope, and see the geometric design printed on the card inside. Each image is created using a mix of geometric shapes. It is important that the instructors DO NOT reveal the images on their card to their team members.

Each team member will have a sheet of paper and a marker. The job of the instructor is to provide step-by-step instructions on how to recreate the image. Upon completion, team members will reveal their drawings. The winning team is the one with the most team members accurately recreating the image. 

The Action Research Process

Today, we will focus on Step 2 of the action research process, collecting data. Sagor (2000) describes Step 2 below:

Step 2—Collecting Data

Professional educators always want their instructional decisions to be based on the best possible data. Action researchers can accomplish this by making sure that the data used to justify their actions are valid (meaning the information represents what the researchers say it does) and reliable (meaning the researchers are confident about the accuracy of their data). Lastly, before data are used to make teaching decisions, teachers must be confident that the lessons drawn from the data align with any unique characteristics of their classroom or school.

To ensure reasonable validity and reliability, action researchers should avoid relying on any single source of data. Most teacher researchers use a process called triangulation to enhance the validity and reliability of their findings. Basically, triangulation means using multiple independent sources of data to answer one’s questions. Triangulation is like studying an object located inside a box by viewing it through various windows cut into the sides of the box. Observing a phenomenon through multiple “windows” can help a single researcher compare and contrast what is being seen through a variety of lenses.

The figure below highlights Step 2 of the action research process.

Step 2 of the Action Research Process – Collect Data.

You will begin to collect data for your action research project by reading selected articles, conducting library and Internet research, interviewing exceptional teachers from around the Rio Grande Valley, and conducting video interviews of students and faculty on campus.

Activity 1: Teacher of the Year Interviews

Today, you will interview some truly exceptional teachers. They each have been nominated by their school districts as the best of the best and recognized as their district’s 2018 Teachers of the Year. Previously, you developed your questions and rehearsed how to conduct a web conferencing interview. Today, you will apply your interviewing skills to collect data for your final team video project. You’ll want to take careful notes and record (through audio or video) key parts of the interview.

Teacher of the Year Interviews via Web Conferencing.


Meet the Teachers of the Year

Monica Sifuentes
Weslaco ISD

Monica Sifuentes has 10 years teaching experience in Weslaco ISD, the city where she grew up. This year, she received statewide recognition as high school Teacher of the Year by the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (TCTELA). Ms. Sifuentes works hard to make her classroom a fun place for learning and reading. She recently had her classroom repainted and the desks are grouped together so students can work better together on projects. Her classroom is a community library and students can come in to read or borrow books. In addition to teaching Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment and remedial classes, Ms. Sifuentes coaches UIL for Ready Writing and Journalism. Because of her love of learning and belief that she can always offer more to her students, she is currently pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Education in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Elizabeth Janette Lozano
Brownsville ISD

After graduating with honors, Jeanette Lozano was hired as a substitute teacher to work one-to-one with an autistic child in a Life Skills setting. This was her first experience working with a student with special needs. This student made a lasting impression on her and influenced her journey towards the educator she is today. Jeanette found her passion and became a resource/inclusion teacher. This position has given her the opportunity to work with students with a wide range of abilities. In addition to working with students with special needs, Ms. Lozano has the distinct pleasure of also working with gifted and talented students through the Destination Imagination program. She has been a team manager for various teams for the past ten years. In 2016, Ms. Lozano led a team to an astonishing Global Finals championship in Tennessee (while working on her Master’s degree). Ms. Lozano was recognized as the 2018 BISD Teacher of the Year.

Lerma-EuniceEunice Lerma

Dr. Eunice Lerma is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, joining the faculty at the Brownsville campus in 2012. She served as school counseling specialization coordinator for four years before becoming the Brownsville campus coordinator in 2016. Dr. Lerma also has 9 years of experience in public schools as a teacher and school counselor. In addition to being a Certified School Counselor (CSC), she is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPC-S). Dr. Lerma received the College of Education & P-16 Integration Teaching Award for 2017-2018.

Activity 2: Conducting research: What does great teaching look like?

In this activity, you will work independently and in groups to conduct research on the characteristics and qualities of great teaching. Use Pages on your iPad to take notes and bookmark resources.

1. Watch the following video: Unleashing Greatness in Teachers

2. Read the following articles:

Fifteen Exceptional Things that Great Teachers Do

Most of us have had the privilege of having a great teacher. Great teachers go above and beyond to ensure that each child is successful. Many of us have had that one teacher that inspired us more than any other. Great teachers are able to bring the best out of every student. They are often energetic, fun, and seemingly always at the top of their game. Their students look forward to coming to their class each day. When they are promoted to the next grade, they are sad that they are leaving, but armed with the skills necessary to be successful.

25 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently

If you ask a student what makes him or her successful in school, you probably won’t hear about some fantastic new book or video lecture series. Most likely you will hear something like, “It was all Mr. Jones. He just never gave up on me.”

What students take away from a successful education usually centers on a personal connection with a teacher who instilled passion and inspiration for their subject. It’s difficult to measure success, and in the world of academia, educators are continually re-evaluating how to quantify learning.

3. Use the UTRGV Library resources and the Internet to conduct research on the characteristics of great teachers.

Activity 3: Conducting video interviews of students and teachers

Interviews are a cornerstone of video storytelling because they provide emotion, content, and structure (Flechette, 2013). Using your iPad as a recording device, walk around the campus and interview students and faculty about their views on what great teaching looks like.

Students interviewing Dr. Bobbette Morgan, faculty member of the College of Education.

Before you begin, jot down some questions you would like to ask of teachers and students. As you write your questions be mindful of how the video responses you get will address the four major themes of this program and fit into your team’s final presentation. Flechette (2013) recommends these tips for creating successful video interviews:

  1. Do the prep work. To make an interview work, you need to conduct research on the topic of the interview. You will also want to develop a series of questions. As part of the qualitative research process consider developing some open-ended questions to elicit more in-depth responses.
  2. Think about the location of the interview. Will you be recording indoors or outdoors? Think about the positioning of the participants to ensure adequate lighting and minimize background noises. Pay attention to what is going on in the background. Does it contribute or detract from the shot? Before you begin, do a few test shots to test the quality of the audio and video.
  3. Set the tone for the interview. When approaching students and faculty, introduce yourself, explain your video project, and the purpose of the interview. If you project enthusiasm for what you are doing, it will be projected onto your subjects.
  4. Work with a partner. If possible, work with a partner to free the interviewer from having worry about the technology and staging while also engaging with the subject. Have one person record the interview while the other person asks the questions.

IMPORTANT: Remember to get the interviewees to sign the release form.


Activity 4: Creating an infographic: What does great teaching look like?

Working in your groups, you will develop an infographic on the characteristics and qualities of great teaching. You will use the Canva iPad app to develop your infographic. At the end of the day, each team’s infographic will be submitted to the camp facilitators, printed out, and posted on the walls of the classroom for everyone to see.

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 8.50.48 PM
Screenshot of the Canva app.

Wrapping Up & Next Steps

Today, we worked on collecting data by researching best teaching practices, conducting a video interview of exceptional teachers, and interviewing students and teachers around campus. Working towards the development of the action research video project, we also collaborated to create an infographic to present our team’s response to the question: What does great teaching look like?

Tomorrow, we will explore the how to become a teacher by hearing from students who are about to complete the teacher education program, familiarize ourselves with the UTRGV College of Education Brownsville campus, and take a peek at some new and exciting technologies for helping students to practice classroom management skills by interacting with avatars controlled by real people.


Flechette, C. (2003). What journalists need to know about interviewing for video. Retrieved from

Hernandez, M. (2016). Mobile video journalism with iPad. Retrieved from

Landrum Elementary. (n.d.). Congratulations to the Landrum Teacher of the Year! Retrieved from

Pedagogy. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary. Retrieved from

Sagor, R. (2000). Guiding school improvement with action research. ASCD. Retrieved from¢.aspx

Vernon Middle Schoo. (n.d.). Teacher of the Year 2015-2016 Janet Solis. Retrieved from