ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA - DECEMBER 2009: Robert Price teaches teachers how to teach students... or phrasing it to be consistent with the current paradigm, Robert Price helps teachers learn how to help students learn. He is passionate and ready to lend his insights not just within the cozy confines of the U.S. education system, but abroad as well. He recently traveled to Ethiopia to add some pedagogic polish to the country's growing scholastic infrastructure and mindset. At the last moment, however, a microphone went missing, threatening to reduce the long-term effectiveness of his trip.
Sennheiser stepped in with due haste to get him a replacement ME 2 lavalier mic in time for his flight so that the training and developed materials could be recorded with comprehensible audio for subsequent review and trainings.
Children's Home Society & Family Services (CHSFS) is an Ethiopian-run adoption organization that uses the proceeds from adoption to build schools and health services. CHSFS invited Price to the capital city of Addis Ababa to train the teachers in its schools and another one hundred invited teachers from across the city and across the countryside. The training lasted a week.
To deliver an effective training, Price draws on an analogy from sports:
"Athletes and their coaches use video all the time. They record their performances and then dissect their techniques. What's working? What's not working? They look at tapes from players who are doing exceptionally well in an effort to improve their own performances. We need to do the same thing in education. We need to be self-reflective, and there is no more honest and efficient way to do that than to video tape and then view our performances."
Not only did the teachers interact with Price and each other, but the Minnesotan also arranged for children to be present for three of the five days.
In contrast to the sports analogy, sound becomes a critical factor in video taping materials for teachers. "My video editor taught me how important sound is," said Price. "If you can't hear what's going on, or if you're struggling to make out the words, a crystal clear image is irrelevant."
That's why Price travels with a Sennheiser SK 100 G2 bodypack transmitter and a Sennheiser EK 100 G2 camera-mountable receiver. But of course, all that RF technology is useless without a microphone!
"I just lost my Sennheiser ME 2 lavalier microphone," laughed Price. "It's not such an unusual thing for me, really. I searched around for some place that might be able to get me a replacement fast, and I ended up leaving my number with a distributor in Indiana. A few hours later, Robb [Blumenreder, Sennheiser industry team leader] called me back. He was tremendously kind, thoughtful and helpful. He had a new ME 2 in my hands before my flight took off!"
Price is unabashed about the success of his first training in Addis Ababa.
All the educators were enthusiastic and receptive, and he hopes to be heading back in the not so distant future. "Next time around, we'll make more materials on the fly," he said. "That will go a long way toward helping this group of bright and motivated teachers help themselves and their peers."
Sennheiser is a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is now a global brand represented in 60 countries around the world with U.S. headquarters in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Sennheiser's pioneering excellence in technology has rewarded the company with numerous awards and accolades including an Emmy, a Grammy, and the Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.