"I've taught at Berklee for 28 years and like most teachers at colleges and universities, I am an expert in my field and have a lot of knowledge to engender in students, but I have never been taught how to teach. In fact, the one faculty member in my major, Songwriting, who has been taught how to teach (due to the fact that he has a degree in education and was led through the drill in order to teach in public high schools), is one of our best teachers. The service that Pratt provides is a great one, a reminder that what we are doing is imparting knowledge, not showing the students how knowledgeable we are. I loved his presentation which he gave to the Songwriting faculty three months ago. He exposed some basic facts about how the brain functions, how we retain pictures in our head much better than we do lists of verbal information, how important the visual aspects of our teaching presentations are and most importantly, how to organize our teaching so that we focus on imparting knowledge—and that means teaching fewer subjects, but teaching them in greater depth. I've put into practice a number of items that Pratt exposed in his lecture and have found them both effective and empowering to myself and especially, to my students."
Jack Perricone, former Chair of Songwriting, Berklee College of Music
"The scientific evidence presented in Pratt's program that most students retain very little of what we teach has helped me to develop a completely different approach to reviewing material that is much more positive and less judgemental about the process. Using the tools Pratt shared with us, I help my French 2 students notice how much they have come to know and remark on it; stemming from that practice, I notice they have a more positive and engaged approach to new material, which in turn will be repeated many times throughout my classes. Because I cover less material more deeply, they retain more of what I teach, so it's a big improvement."
"In my Japanese 2 class, my students were forgetting the old vocabulary and grammar and there was a gap between the quick learners and the slow learners in the class. The tool I used to reach the goal was Pratt's 4Rs: Re-Cycle, Re-Present, Re-Conceive, Reduce. I was hoping that the students would learn more by having them work in a group on creating dialogues using new words and old grammar to reinforce their learning. I am very happy with the results. Students now have more time to process new information while repeating the materials with their friends, writing, and presenting the dialogue at the end of the class. Having a break-period to talk with friends also makes the students happier and more relaxed. Now, my focus is on my own teaching and creating different kinds of activities to keep the class active."
Sumalee Passaretti, Japanese, Berklee College of Music
"One of the most useful aspects of Pratt's training has been the cognitive and learning advantages I have observed when I ask students 'why' questions. In one of my Art History classes, I was going over the first three books of Genesis with a group of students and asking them to think about implied attitudes toward the body, among other things. In the past, I now see, I have actually gravitated toward the 'what' questions, as in 'what is the attitude toward the body?' and so on, with a little bit of 'why.' But here, by asking 'why' repeatedly, I brought the group to a very formidable critique of dominant social institutions (in the past and now), and how the desire to assert power and control over the reader is an overwhelming aspect and function of this and other classic texts. The program has helped me to show my students how they can be more proactive about the questions they bring to a text, or to any object of study."
Anthony Scibilia, Art History, Berklee College of Music
"I wanted my international ESL I students to more easily retain the verb tenses they were struggling with, to feel more comfortable with them in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Using Pratt's approaches to creatively recycling course content has made the learning more fun and effective, and has helped my students understand the grammar better. Most of them are now able to retain more of what they learned over the past few weeks, even though we have moved on to other forms."
Ellen Francese, Berklee College of Music
"Since taking Pratt's training, I find myself returning to the compelling evidence that re-using, representing in a fresh context, and reorienting new concepts to old are highly effective techniques. The training has provided me with very effective strategies to help my U.S. History students achieve their optimal academic performance."
Derek Vaillant, University of Michigan
"Pratt's initial training on the three R’s especially was a great, brief, and clear review of key ways to improve information retention in students through changes in the overall structure of the lecture / lesson. I was struck by how many components of my lectures are ultimately unnecessary and might be eliminated to improve retention. I also really liked the concept of reinforcing learned concepts by asking students to apply them in some sort of direct and personal way, as opposed to simply repeating them back to me verbatim in a test or essay. The power of this sort of assessment is repeatedly born out in my Art History classes whenever I ask students to evaluate a work of art that has not been treated explicitly in lectures or any class texts. In general, these are objects that while technically unknown to the students, are very much like things we have studied at length, so they are able to discuss them knowledgeably, but must do so with a measure of independence and creativity. They tend at first to be apprehensive in these situations, but ultimately to enjoy them quite a bit and do quite well (i.e., much better than they thought they could have). I have no doubt that the sense of achievement that comes with this ends up reinforcing core concepts in a way that is much more memorable and lasting than rote repetition of could ever be. Pratt's training and coaching have been invaluable in helping me teach more effectively and in helping my students master concepts more competently.
Keith Doherty, Boston University
“When I needed advice, Training Transformational Teachers was there to guide me through every step of the decision-making process. With their help, we managed to get back on track in no time.”
Esther Zirbel, Director of the Center for Transformation, Plymouth State University
“As a six time graduate of TTT, I can say that I'm thrilled with the results I've gotten from ideas the program spurred me to generate.
I now run review sessions that double the amount of material I can cover, halve the time it takes to do it, and increase the amount of personal attention each students get.
I used tools and principles from TTT in building a capstone course for my department's online degree program.
I have learned teaching techniques from educators in fields as diverse as marketing, screenwriting, and architecture -- and I've incorporated all of them into my music courses.
My students are more engaged, build a stronger peer network, and are more confident about their creative and professional opportunities.
I highly recommend TTT to educators in all fields.”
Ben Camp, Prof. of Songwriting, Berklee College of Music
“I’m so happy I chose to work with Training Transformational Teachers. From the initial consultation all the way through the project’s conclusion, the service I received was impeccable and the end result really brought my vision to life.”
Roberto Mighty, Prof. of Cinematography, Emerson College
"Pratt offers a great mix of broad approaches to teaching and learning; he provides links to substantive research on learning and cognition; and brings astounding energy to his classes. He works with his teacher/students very well and offers a mix of instruction and workshops to keep the class engaged.
Personally, I've taught at my institution (the Boston Architectural College) for over 35 years, with guest stints at several other area colleges. I can report that his program was very worthwhile at - how shall I euphemize? - my point in my teaching career. I certainly saw my younger colleagues benefit as well. I continue to employ what I learned from my several semesters working with him, and am certain I will continue to do so."
Russ Feldman, Member of the Education Committee of the Boston Architectural College, President Elect of the AIA Massachusetts
"As an administrator and faculty developer at Berklee College of Music, I am always looking for innovative ways to engage our faculty members in new scholarship and pedagogy with the hope that it will potentially alter all the courses a faculty member might teach and make lasting curricular change that affects student learning. Pratt Bennet's brain-based teaching program was exactly what we needed to move us to the next level. Pratt blends the latest research from the fields of neuroscience and cognitive science to show faculty effective techniques for helping all their students to understand more content and concepts deeply enough to apply them on their own. He is a dynamic presenter and will work closely and collaboratively with you to create a unique program that is both relevant and caters to the needs of your department, division, or institution. The workshops, along with Pratt's "laser coaching," have been extremely successful at Berklee. We currently have offered the program to 250 faculty members who have attended at least one training. The program has provided a wonderful opportunity for faculty to come together, learn something new, and share their disciplinary perspectives and strategies.
Roya Hu, Director of Faculty Development, Berklee College of Music
"I absolutely loved Pratt’s fascinating Training Transformational Teachers (TTT) program, which he developed based on interdisciplinary research findings. The training has already been applied to over 40 disciplines and it’s like no other program you have ever taken. It’s enlightening and fun. It helped me made my courses more challenging and taught me techniques that would lead to increased retention and the further development of the students’ analytical and critical thinking skills. Above all, it enabled me to bring my undergrad courses up to the level of MA ones, which is great because I really do not want to get bored when I teach. :-) While taking Pratt’s semester-long training we were able to experiment with certain teaching techniques in the classroom. It was a lot of fun. Pratt is always available to provide guidance and support even years after you have taken the workshop. He is an outstanding professor and colleague. I consider him the Freddie Mercury of pedagogy and I thank him for everything he taught me.
Roxana Maiorescu, Asst. Prof. of Marketing, Emerson College
“The information provided by Pratt through the Training Transformational Teachers (TTT) at Berklee has shifted my view for educating our music therapy students systematically. Our training program requires students to evolve through a series of music and clinical competencies guided through five fieldwork experiences. Based on the concept of “4 R’s of Spiral Teaching”, students were able to reflect on previous experiences and connect their learning to prior practice. Our faculty also supported these concepts and began to meet as a group to discuss the importance of repetition and reiteration of similar practical and theoretical models.
Our department continued to utilize Pratt’s expertise to present workshops for our music therapy supervisors to offer consistent, connected experiences from the classroom to the clinic. Our students were the beneficiaries of thoughtful, comprehensive education with informed instruction. I still use the notion that straight lines are less effective than spiraling … love Pratt’s ability to navigate through different target audiences and customize the teaching to address specific needs in a big way.”
Karen Wacks, Professor of Music Therapy, Berklee College of Music
"Pratt Bennet practices what he teaches. Trainings are lively, visual, collaborative, and very effective. I came out of every session with my head "buzzing" and my notebook full. After one course in Training Transformational Teachers (TTT), I am inspired to create a classroom dynamic that gets my students thinking AND moving! Whenever I find myself falling into a routine, I recall one of the TTT maxims, and my enthusiasm is reignited."
Joanne Ciccarello, Photojournalism, Emerson College
“The Training Transformation Teachers (TTT) Program is an eye opener to human interaction while transferring knowledge. The biggest lesson learned is that the little things count – the short mentoring of students and checking in if they are late on an assignment has the potential of lifelong results through their career. I realized that this was occurring after the class with feedback from some of my past students, which I shared with Pratt, and I am encouraged to be more proactive now after TTT.
Through the TTT we learn methods of how to better deliver the content of the courses taught, and how to make the learning fun and make it stick in the minds of the student. Pratt is excellent at this, being energetic, having examples to show and full of thoughtful ideas for those in the class. Pratt adapts TTT to suit the class, which is a key takeaway point - it is important to deliver quality education, not just quantity. Being part of TTT opened my mind on how to ensure the students are learning, and not just moving too fast with content.
I will be back to TTT again for a tune-up.”
Wesley Stanhope, CEM, EBCP, Boston Architectural College
“After teaching at The Berklee College of Music for twelve years, I sat in on a class with Pratt Bennett, and it changed the way I thought about teaching forever. I took Pratt’s TTT course and implemented his innovative ideas and techniques into my classroom and into my own learning and am seeing amazing results. Now, my students learn more, learn better and learn deeper and for keeps. It’s a wonderful thing to know that everything I am working so hard to teach is actually being assimilated and retained by my students. Now, I learn better and so do they and it’s made my job so much more rewarding and fun.”
Scarlet Keys, Prof. of Songwriting, Berklee College of Music
“It's always good to be reminded of good teaching practice, esp. when it's supported by current brain research. Pratt's Three R's reminded me of the presentation-practice-use paradigm I studied in grad school. Some stats regarding student retention of aural input were particularly eye-catching. I'm finding this training very useful not only in improving how I teach core skills, but also in improving how quickly my students can learn and use them.”
Thomas Griffin, ELL Program Head, Thornton Academy
What TTTeachers Are Saying about the Program
The foundation of TTT's success is the full-semester program. This gives teachers the time, tools, and support they need to take their teaching to new heights. Each teacher focuses on one course they most want to improve outcomes in, and designs a series of related experiments to find out what helps their students understand, learn, and apply most.
GROUP & INDIVIDUAL COACHING
Each teacher gets monthly coaching to help them implement the tools they choose into an existing course. The coaching sessions help them articulate inspiring goals, design a series of experiments to reach them, and overcome any obstacles along the way. These coaching sessions are the key to bridging the gap between training inspiration and classroom implementation.
Workshops can serve as either a great introduction to increase faculty buy-in to the program or as stand-alone offerings to help groups of faculty focus on one key teaching challenge. All workshops include follow-up group coaching to increase implementation and improve outcomes.