AAAS Conference on Developing Textbooks That Promote Science Literacy

February 27-March 2, 2001
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Washington, D.C.

Meeting of Mind, Matter, and Market: The Challenge of Improving Science Textbooks

Ellen Johnson

Many education stakeholders agree that the formula for teaching science to U.S. children must be rewritten to improve student performance. According to conservative estimates, students spend about 1,800 hours studying science throughout their K-12 experience. That’s an hour a day in middle and high school and 2.5 hours a week in elementary school.

Despite the devotion to the subject, many students are leaving high school without grasping fundamental concepts that are important foundations to building a science literate society. According to Project 2061, the long-term science, mathematics, and technology education reform initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), poorly focused science textbooks are a significant contributor to poor student performance, especially in the absence of good alternative materials. Therefore, teachers who must depend solely upon textbooks are unable to provide their students with a quality science education.

At a recent conference sponsored by Project 2061, curriculum materials developers, education researchers, and commercial publishers convened to consider how to create a new generation of more effective science textbooks. The conference came on the heels of rigorous evaluations by Project 2061 that found no middle-school science or high-school biology textbooks that adequately helped students meet national science education standards. The standards—Project 2061's Benchmarks for Science Literacy (1993) and the National Research Council’s (NRC) National Science Education Standards (1996)—identify specific concepts that students should achieve at certain grade levels during their K-12 schooling.

The conference familiarized publishers and curriculum materials developers with the criteria and rationale used by Project 2061 in its textbook evaluation. The publishers of each book examined by Project 2061 will receive a detailed report on why their publication received low marks. A follow-up conference is planned by Project 2061 in the fall that will continue the discussion of how to develop quality science textbooks.

“We have a serious problem—kids aren’t learning science,” said Jo Ellen Roseman, Project 2061 associate director. Roseman further clarified her point to the audience by showing a video of interviews with several graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—still clad in their caps and gowns—each of whom failed to identify carbon dioxide as the primary source of the weight in the mass of a maple tree.

“These students—now graduating from an elite college—don’t comprehend a fundamental scientific concept,” Roseman said. One of the students in the video, when told that carbon dioxide in the air contributes to the majority of the mass, disagreed and stated emphatically, “Carbon is not much of a building block.”

“With answers such as this, we can’t help but ask, ‘What are students learning in school?’” Roseman wondered. “It seems they are trying to make sense of whatever tools they have available for learning, and their tools may be limited,” said Roseman. “If we know what some of those limitations are, we can help to work through them. Our efforts can make a difference to student learning.”

The conference, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, brought together a diverse group with unique perspectives. The curriculum materials developers focus on creating innovative materials that take years to develop and just as long to learn to implement in the classroom. Commercial publishers, who must cater to their markets, maintain that school districts won’t purchase books that are too difficult to use or that don’t meet state adoption criteria, which may or may not align with national standards. And researchers are trying to uncover what they still don’t know about how children learn.

The Challenge of Standards versus Adoption

Roger Bybee, executive director of Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, developers of secondary-school and college-level programs in the life sciences, outlined one of the challenges facing publishers and curriculum materials developers.

“All of us are concerned about the paradox of standards versus adoption,” said Bybee, a key player in the development of the NRC’s National Science Education Standards. He pointed out many state and local school districts have adoption committees that dilute the standards by adding and subtracting content without considering the consequences. These become the basis for textbook adoption criteria, and publishers must meet these criteria if their books are to be included on the list of materials that schools can purchase. These challenges, Bybee believes, should be considered in any textbook evaluation. “The measure of our success should be within the context of some of the rules of the game we have to play,” Bybee said.

Andrea Bowden, supervisor of the Office of Science, Mathematics, and Health Education for Baltimore City Public Schools, expressed her desperation as a textbook purchaser. “Publishers of textbooks claim they match the national standards, but some of our teachers who have been trained to use the AAAS benchmarks are finding areas where textbooks don’t align. Whom should we listen to?” Bowden asked the audience. “We desperately need some guidance.”

The participants delved into Project 2061's textbook evaluation, which revealed fundamental problems such as disconnected facts, lavish illustrations that were needlessly complicated or inadequately explained, too much focus on technical terms that were easy to test but failed to communicate more important ideas, and failure to include or design activities that take account of commonly held student ideas. The conferees used CD-ROMS containing evaluations of curriculum materials on selected topics: matter and energy transformations and the kinetic molecular theory at the middle-school level and natural selection at the high-school level. They compared and contrasted sections of unsatisfactory textbook information with three satisfactory stand-alone science units developed by Michigan State University and the Michigan Department of Education. These three units were research-based and did not have the drawbacks of the textbooks.

Ellen Standafer, vice president of science product development at the commercial publisher Holt, Rinehart & Winston, explained the need for publishers to understand Project 2061's criteria. “Publishers don’t speak the same language as AAAS,” said Standafer. “We are here to learn, and we recognize that we probably can’t do everything that Project 2061 wants, because it won’t work in our market.”

One of the challenges faced by publishers is the conflict between meeting national standards and state adoption criteria while creating student textbooks and teacher guides with broad appeal that are practical and easy to use. Publishers, while striving to develop materials that best serve the educational needs of the students, say they are restricted by what teachers and schools will buy. Robert Todd, a colleague of Standafer’s at Holt, Rinehart & Winston, stressed that teachers need to buy into the national standards criteria in order to drive the market for these changes.

After exploring the CD-ROMS, Standafer pointed out that the conference helped her to better understand students’ common misconceptions about science and noted one suggested criteria that could be implemented immediately to enhance the quality of their textbooks. “We can certainly be more accurate about how we use illustrations now that we can see how much the use of art can add to a student’s learning,” said Standafer. She added that knowing that students can understand and use the concept of representation at a younger age—as early as the 6th grade—will also help them enhance their materials.

Student Ideas Key to Learning

Project 2061's evaluation pointed to the importance of understanding and utilizing student ideas and misconceptions about science as learning opportunities. Roseman reported that Project 2061 has received NSF funding to provide teachers, curriculum materials developers, and publishers with specific misconceptions held by students, though the vehicle for disseminating this information has not been determined.

Jim Minstrell, currently a researcher at Talaria, Inc., who taught high-school mathematics and science for more than thirty years, told the audience that student misconceptions, which he prefers to call “commonly held ideas” or “facets,” are “the reefs and outer islets of understanding on the way to the benchmark islands of understanding.”

Minstrell describes these facets as “individual pieces or constructions of a few pieces of knowledge and/or strategies of reasoning” and warned the audience not to ignore them because they are part of the larger understanding of benchmark concepts. “Don’t steer around them,” said Minstrell. “They have value. Address them head on.” Minstrell has developed a program called Diagnoser that helps teachers identify and qualify some of these facets about topics in physical science.

Roseman agreed that incorporating student ideas is vital to successful learning. “One can ignore student ideas at their peril,” Roseman warned. “Students have an amazing ability to retrofit and compartmentalize what goes on in school and leave relatively unaffected by the process. Our challenge is to find out what those ideas are and use them as learning tools.”

What are some common misconceptions of students? Norm Lederman, a science education researcher and teacher at Oregon State University and former high-school teacher, said one of the most common beliefs about the nature of science (or how science works) held by many elementary- through high-school students—and by some of his own colleagues who teach science education—is that all science can be characterized by a single set and sequence of steps known as the scientific method. “Students believe that if you don’t follow this precise method, you are not doing science,” said Lederman.

Another common misconception is that the same research procedures followed by two or more individuals produce the same results. Lederman pointed out when students in the class get a variety of answers, they think they performed the experiment incorrectly. If teachers buy into this mind set, Lederman believes “they lose an opportunity to talk about the interpretation of data and what scientists do with that data.”

Lederman pointed out that students also believe that scientific knowledge is discovered, not invented. He equated that belief with the example that some students “believe the periodic table was discovered under a rock somewhere.”

In order to better understand how students learn, Lederman is working on research in a variety of areas including assessing students’ ideas. He pointed to a discussion that took place earlier in the day with some of the conference participants that focused on the need to identify the laundry list of things students don’t know. “Where we really need to get to is—how do you move kids toward where you would like them to be rather than where they are?” said Lederman.

Eliciting and guiding student thinking about scientific concepts was key to Kathleen Roth’s Food for Plants middle-school curriculum material. Roth, a curriculum materials developer and researcher at Michigan State University, said her experiences as a teacher and researcher convinced her that traditional science textbooks are not useful learning tools for most students.

As a graduate student, Roth researched 5th graders and found that students had naive conceptions about plants and their food. Realizing that students do not easily give up their ideas, she recognized that using research on how children learn could create a powerful tool for teaching.

Roth incorporated cognitive research that found that in order for learning to occur, three conditions must be met. First, students must understand what the new idea is proposing; second, they must find the new idea plausible; and third, they must be able to see the usefulness of the new idea in a variety of real-world contexts. By incorporating this research with the students’ ideas, she developed a curriculum material that demonstrated students not only learned the concept of photosynthesis, but also retained the concept throughout the school year. However, Roth reported, “Taking student ideas into account in curriculum development is not easy.”

According to Project 2061's Roseman, one way to gage students’ knowledge is to provide them with questions to be answered before they begin to study a chapter or concept. Minstrell agrees, and said that the pre-instruction questions he incorporated into his high-school physics curriculum were disliked by students, but also appreciated by them. Minstrell said one of his students reported, “I hate these pre-instruction questions, but they help me know what I am going to need to learn and know by the end of the unit.”

Robin Heyden, who is currently co-authoring a high-school biology program to be published by Prentice Hall, said the conference helped her to understand how to incorporate student misconceptions into the teacher guides. “We had fully intended to treat that in our program, but what I understand now is that it’s not enough to just point out the commonly held idea that the student may have,” said Heyden. “I know now that we have to go much further and explain the reason why they think these things, understand the trouble that this thinking will lead to later, and provide strategies for overcoming these misconceptions.” Heyden pointed out that because her program will be a hybrid of print and online materials, the challenge of managing this information in teacher resource materials won’t be an issue.

Publishers’ Dilemma

Many of the curriculum materials developers expressed their appreciation for the dilemma of publishers who they learned must grapple with the mission to create exceptional textbooks based on the national standards, while meeting state adoption criteria and satisfying the wants and needs of the teachers. “I certainly have developed a lot of respect for publishers and representatives who were at this meeting,” said Ed Smith, a researcher and curriculum materials developer from Michigan State University. “The conversations with them have been very helpful and informative.” Smith suggested that the conference planned by Project 2061 in the fall to continue the discussion include some of the key decision makers who develop and uphold the adoption criteria.

According to the Association of American Publishers, 21 states have adoption policies that require all school districts to make their purchases from an approved list of textbooks that meet statewide frameworks. Three states in this category—California, Texas, and Florida—have a substantial influence over the content in textbooks because they represent a large portion of the market for publishers.

Phil Sadler, director of education at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said the adoption criteria must be penetrated to create a demand for more effective teaching materials. “Make no mistake,” said Sadler. “Adoption is a barrier because it closes the market to smaller publishers.” Smaller publishers, Sadler pointed out, often develop the most innovative curriculum materials. “Adoption is one of the enemies.”

Lou-Ellen Finn, professional development coordinator for Northwestern University’s Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools said future conferences need to create more opportunity for a dialogue among publishers, researchers, and curriculum materials developers. “We’ve got publishers over here with their concerns, researchers over there with their concerns, and unless we can leverage everybody’s expertise and get us all on the same page working toward the same thing—student learning—it’s never going to happen,” said Finn. “I don’t know how you do it.”

Some of the conferees agreed that collaborations between researchers, curriculum materials developers, and publishers could help create a market among teachers and policymakers for standards-based curriculum and textbooks. George Nelson, director of Project 2061, pointed out that the education community is steeped in traditions, and some of these need to be revisited in order to improve student learning. “One of our long-term goals at Project 2061 is to change the market and start new traditions.”

At the close of the conference Nelson said he hoped the demand for quality science textbooks would become a reality. “If I had a fantasy, it would be that the consumers—the school districts, the parents, the teachers, and the state education agencies and school boards who buy the textbooks—would come out vocally and say we want materials that do well on an analysis like Project 2061's,” said Nelson. “The publishers at that point will say ‘OK, we can do that. Just tell us what the requirements are and we’ll respond.’”

Sidebar: Less IS More

The best method for delivering long-term science learning is the Holy Grail for curriculum materials developers and education researchers. One approach promoted by Project 2061 and supported by most attending its textbook conference is the idea that “less is more.” The premise is that students will learn and retain more information about science if they have the opportunity to spend more time on basic concepts and how those concepts interact with each other.

Now a new study from Harvard is the first to find evidence that less is more. The study, published in the March issue of the journal Science Education, found that high-school physics teachers who pare down the number of topics, leaving more time for in-depth study, create the most successful college physics students.

The study, conducted by Phil Sadler, director of education at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and Robert Tai, assistant professor of education at City University of New York Staten Island, surveyed nearly 2,000 students at nineteen colleges about their preparation in high school for college physics. Using their college grades and background, the study found completing a high-school physics course leads to only a slight increase in college physics grades. A better predictor of college physics success were grades in other courses and the level of mathematics taken in high school.

The study also found that minimizing the use of a physics textbook in high school or eliminating it entirely can lead to more learning. “This study found that students who use textbooks in high-school physics did much worse than those who didn’t,” said Sadler.

According to Harvard, nearly 700,000 high-school students in the United States, or 25 percent, take physics in high school each year. Some 360,000 students take introductory physics in college each year, often as a requirement for engineering, science, or pre-med. Future careers in science can be extinguished by poor performance in these introductory courses.

Other successful strategies for teaching physics in high school, according to the study, include explaining problems in many different ways, solving fewer problems, carrying out fewer labs but spending more time on those chosen, and discussing demonstrations before, not after, they are presented.

According to Project 2061, the idea of teaching less should include incorporating new knowledge and skills that promote literacy when combined with important knowledge and skills from the traditional curriculum. Its newest publication, Designs for Science Literacy, includes lists of topics that teachers could exclude from traditional textbooks and curriculum in order to spend more time promoting a deeper understanding of fewer, but more universal, concepts.

Robin Heyden, a former college textbook publisher who is currently developing a high-school biology physics program for Prentice Hall, said, “I think that all the content developers, curriculum developers, authors, and publishers would agree that if a teacher has the luxury of spending four weeks on natural selection as only one of nine or ten topics taught in a year, students would learn more and hopefully hold on to that knowledge and become informed citizens and voters.” The problem, Heyden points out, is that state and local adoption standards often require teachers to cover some 30-plus topics in a year.

Heyden pointed to three sides of a triangle that feed into each other. On one side are the national standards (Project 2061 and the National Research Council), on another side are the content developers (publishers, authors, curriculum materials developers), and on the third side are state adoption standards (committees who have the final say on what should be covered in a textbook). “If we going to truly practice less is more, all sides of that triangle have to be in agreement,” said Heyden.

“The reason we have this bloat in the textbooks and a lack of supporting details in curriculum is because somewhere along the line, a state curriculum or adoption committee added a requirement on their submission forms for publishers that said it must be included in the text,” said Heyden. She added that the committees often survey all of the textbooks available and create a checklist for publishers that includes the majority of items they’ve seen in other books. Often, Heyden added, the individuals in these decision-making positions are elected or appointed to school boards and do not have the credentials in science education to make decisions that benefit the teacher or the student. The result, said Heyden, are huge textbooks heavy in weight but light on learning, and a curriculum that is loaded with topics that are required to be taught.

James Fey, one of the developers of Connected Mathematics, which was highly rated by Project 2061 and received an exemplary designation by the U.S. Department of Education, said he believes publishers overload textbooks because they are trying to please all of their customers. “I think it’s quite reasonable that they operate that way, because whenever you do produce something that’s radically different, you raise the eyebrows of not just teachers, but parents, too,” said Fey. Parents, said Fey, complain that they cannot help their children with homework when textbooks don’t include the traditional show-and-tell problems and answers.

“I feel the pain of the publishers,” said Pat Heller, professor, researcher, and curriculum materials developer at the University of Minnesota, who recognized the bottom line drives much of what they do. But, Heller said, everyone involved in the teaching process faces the dilemma of doing more with less.

Ultimately, Heller believes, students benefit from a more collaborative effort among researchers, developers, and publishers. She’s not asking for perfection. “If 60 percent of students understand 60-80 percent of the material, then I would be happy.”

Sidebar: Urban School District Dilemmas

Andrea Bowden knows a lot about teacher challenges and quality curriculum. A high-school biology teacher for 15 years, Bowden is the supervisor of the Office of Science, Mathematics, and Health Education for Baltimore City Public Schools. One of her primary responsibilities is to head the process to select the science and mathematics curriculum materials for teaching 100,000 K-12 students in her district.

Bowden told the participants at the Project 2061 textbook conference that her district, like many urban school districts across the country, has unique challenges. The district is characterized by a majority student population—80 percent—who come from disadvantaged families. Its schools are home to hundreds of students who transfer to new schools as many as three or four times each year as their families struggle to maintain an affordable residence.

“Our struggle is with students who are poverty-stricken and undereducated,” said Bowden. Pressure from Maryland’s aggressive state performance assessment plan also has schools scrambling to meet necessary goals in order to prevent unsuccessful schools from being turned over to a third party. Faced with these challenges, Bowden said principals are often forced to make what she calls “Sophie’s choices” between hiring additional staff or implementing quality curriculum materials.

Added to the mix is the fact that 60 percent of the elementary-school principals and 60 percent of the secondary-school principals have been heading their schools for as little as three to five years. And, although Bowden reported that 1,000 new teachers are hired each year, some 66 percent move on after three years. “Of those teachers who do come to our system, some are extremely qualified, but many are often uncertified and untested,” said Bowden.

Three years ago, a state of Maryland audit found unequal access to quality materials for all students in Baltimore. As a result, Baltimore City Public School District partnered with the state to develop adoption criteria for textbooks, which Bowden believes is necessary for improving student learning.

To provide students throughout the system with equal access to materials that meet state assessment targets and national standards, the district moved away from allowing each school to decide upon which curriculum materials to use. Instead, textbooks are purchased for the entire system through an elaborate approval process.

The dilemma, Bowden notes, is that publishers often claim their materials match national standards, but teachers and administrators who are part of the selection committee for textbooks have found publishers’ claims to be untrue.

Bowden refers to another dilemma as a double-edged sword. “We receive a lot of funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which requires us to use their own materials,” said Bowden. “NSF-developed products are not marketed as aggressively as commercial products. They are neither as colorful nor as engaging as commercial products. And, they don’t have the cadre of staff developers to support us with teacher development programs in the summer.” Bowden added that NSF-developed materials don’t create many of the ancillary materials that support textbooks such as CD-ROMS and tapes.

Janice Earle, senior program director for the Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education at NSF said, “We have been thinking about our materials development process much differently than we did ten years ago.” Earle expressed the need for a more precise evaluation of the interaction between students, teachers, and content to ensure that teachers can implement the curriculum and assess student knowledge.

Bowden pointed to the Project 2061 evaluation as a deciding factor in the purchase of textbooks for middle-school mathematics. That evaluation identified several textbooks that succeeded in meeting the national standards. When the Baltimore City Public School District was adopting textbooks for middle-school science, Bowden said she contacted Project 2061 to help identify what to buy.

“When I called Project 2061 and found out that nothing was acceptable, I said ‘You mean to tell me after 10 to 12 years of science reform efforts, there’s nothing good out there?’” Bowden recounted. “‘And I’m ready to spend $3 million on something?’ This is very distressing as a manager and as a science educator.”

Currently, the Baltimore City Public School District is struggling to adopt curriculum materials for elementary science education. Project 2061 hopes to perform an evaluation on elementary science textbooks, but Jo Ellen Roseman, associate director for Project 2061, said an analysis at this level presents a new host of challenges. “There are certain conventions about what students study in the elementary grades,” said Roseman. “Certain things have become tradition. Everyone has a segment on butterflies and on seed germination, but those things don’t typically focus on the national standards or benchmarks. They’re not going to show a content alignment.”

“We are having a terrible dilemma in choosing an elementary science textbook,” said Bowden. “The product that teachers seem to like comes from the commercial publishers and is colorful, but short on inquiry-based tools. We are also considering an NSF-developed product, but it is not as well liked by teachers. So, do we go with a product that we can help supplement to align with Project 2061 benchmarks, or one that is more well liked by teachers?” Bowden asked. “I wish there were so many excellent products available that we didn’t have to make these kinds of Sophie’s choices.”

Sidebar: Moving from Old School Traditions to New School Innovations

Publishers contend they won’t create textbooks that teachers won’t buy. Despite the challenges generated by state and district adoption standards, winning teachers over may be the biggest hurdle in generating effective science textbooks. Using science teaching methods that engage students to become real learners rather than accomplished reciters takes time and money. But most of all, it requires a commitment to change.

James Fey, one of the developers of the successful text Connected Mathematics, stressed that most science and mathematics reform efforts call for teachers to implement hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum materials where children learn to relate concepts to real-world situations. “Until we can develop a fairly substantial number of teachers who want to operate that way and who believe they can operate that way, it’s going to be pretty hard to sell even the best curriculum materials,” said Fey.

Lou-Ellen Finn, professional development coordinator for Northwestern University’s Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools, believes teachers are the biggest barriers to getting quality science education into the hands and minds of students. Finn, who taught middle-school science in the Chicago public schools for 32 years, said teachers, like most of us, are afraid of change.

“Change is so hard,” said Finn, “and inquiry-based science is very threatening to some people because it’s asking the teacher to totally change their own role in the classroom.” This type of teaching requires the teacher to “give over a lot of the control of what’s happening in the classroom to the students,” said Finn. “It can be quite threatening if you’ve never experienced it before.”

Fey said many teachers follow a traditional style of teaching in American classrooms that is rooted in a typical “show and tell” routine. “Teachers tell the kids what’s what and kids dutifully, and supposedly, ingest it,” said Fey. “Then they are able to repeat it on fairly routine tasks.” But Fey said creating opportunities for investigative thinking and resolving problematic ideas is necessary to promote successful learning. Teachers, said Fey, must be willing to embrace reform efforts, and then carry them out in the classroom.

“Teachers will say ‘You can tell me all you want about what I’m supposed to teach and how I’m supposed to teach it, but when I’m in the classroom and I close the door, I do what I want to do,’” said Fey. He doesn’t fault this attitude. “I don’t think it’s a lack of power on the part of teachers, or even hostility. It’s just that what they’ve experienced and what they’ve found works in the constraints of a typical American school is quite different than what most scientists and mathematicians would like to see.”

Teacher preparation at the university level may also affect the delivery of quality science education. Phil Sadler, director of science education at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said it is difficult to change the system that produces teachers. He pointed to the 1983 report, A Nation At Risk, which called for teachers to have more expertise in science as a subject rather than learning what makes a good teacher. To become a teacher now, said Sadler, “you have to get a science degree and a minor in education. I think that’s a problem because people are taking more advanced courses, which they don’t really need to become a good teacher,” said Sadler. “They should be taking courses maybe in psychology or pedagogy.”

Limited resources can also constrain a teacher, but supportive administrators can help with the hurdles. In some school districts, such as Chicago, school-based management policies allow the principal to implement inquiry-based science curriculum materials in his or her school. A supportive principal will make professional development opportunities available to teachers to complement their lesson plans.

“When a principal decides ‘I want my middle-school science teachers to teach science in this way, and I’m going to support them in that, and I’m going to see they get the right kind of professional development’—that will work,” said Finn.

In many localities, teachers may be restricted in professional development opportunities, and in some districts, there is a multitude to choose from but no coordinated program for teachers that aligns with the standards. As a result, teachers are left to make their own decisions about these opportunities without any guidance. Thus, a one-time, two-week summer seminar is often a waste of time.

Fey agrees that the right kind of professional development is key to using curriculum materials successfully. “Professional development that seems to work and is quite popular is centered around curriculum materials,” said Fey. The old school of thought, said Fey, was to send a teacher to college in the summer to take college-level mathematics or science courses. The teacher, Fey said, returned with new content, but with no new tools for teaching.

“Professional development needs to be ongoing and it needs to be supportive in nature,” said Finn. “It can’t just be ‘go to this workshop, learn about this, and go back to your classroom and do it.’ Teachers need people coming into the classroom on a regular basis, talking with them before they teach a lesson and helping them understand how that lesson works,” said Finn.

Finn had some advice for publishers. “If publishers are going to put out this kind of material, then when they go out to sell it, they need to have more than just the product there. They need to have video of teachers who are actually doing this in their classrooms, and bring along some teachers who do it,” said Finn. Finn added that teachers listen the most to other teachers. “Teachers listen to teachers far more than they’ll listen to a sales representative from a publishing company and far more than they’ll listen to a researcher,” said Finn. “They get talked at by all kinds of different people with all kinds of expertise. The people they really listen to are other teachers.”