Teachers Column

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Some Rochester, N.Y., teachers have taken their expertise to the airwaves and are receiving rave reviews locally and across the state.

The teachers are hosts of "Homework Hotline,'' a public-television show for students who are stumped by homework--in particular, by mathematics and science assignments.

The program is a joint venture of the Rochester Teachers Association's Dial-A-Teacher telephone service and WXXI-TV, a public-broadcasting station. It recently won an Emmy award for outstanding education programming from the New York chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The teachers who staff the phone lines farm out to the TV station calls that "are more visual and may need longer explanations'' by the program's teacher-hosts, said Carol Smith, the director of Dial-A-Teacher.

"We want calls that will help the largest number of students at one time,'' Ms. Smith added.

Now in its third season, the show, which airs Monday through Thursday at 6 P.M., has received other accolades.

Last year, for instance, it won a Silver Apple award from the National Educational Film and Video Festival and a special-achievement award for local programming from the Eastern Educational Network of the Public Broadcasting Service.

The University of Northern Iowa has received a federal grant of more than $1 million to help teachers and administrators restructure schools in the Slovak Republic.

The two-year grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development will help the university set up a pilot program to redesign the schools and develop teacher training in one region of Slovakia.

The project will focus on cultivating democratic ideals in the schools. It is a collaborative effort of the university faculty, Slovakia's Comenius University, and a regional education authority there.

"We'll be working with [our partners] to develop pedagogical practices that involve students in joint decisionmaking and encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning,'' Jeannie Steele, a university co-director of the project, said in a news release.

A group of faculty members has met with more than 100 teachers and administrators in Slovakia and visited dozens of classrooms there. The next phase of the project is expected to begin this summer.

Vol. 13, Issue 36

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