What constitutes learning? When does learning happen?
Journalist Heather Won Tesoriero ’96 spent a year inside science teacher Andy Bramante’s classroom at Greenwich High School in Connecticut, examining these overarching questions — and the dynamic, individual lives of teenagers.
Bramante is acclaimed for his innovative approach to science education: project-based, no textbooks, no tests. In his class, self-motivation is the key to student learning, and his students are exceptional. They’ve won the nation’s most prestigious science fairs and made discoveries that full-fledged scientists have not.
To embed in Bramante’s class, Tesoriero quit her job as a producer at CBS News, where she’d won an Emmy. “I saw that these kids are different, this teacher is different, what goes on in this classroom is completely unlike standard public education. I went into it very open-minded. I wanted to understand what goes on here and how it all happens,” she explains.
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In 2018, Ballantine Books published Tesoriero’s The Class: A Life-Changing Teacher, His World-Changing Kids, and the Most Inventive Classroom in America. Writing the book was the apex of her career, which has included working as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal and Time. Tesoriero is now an executive editor at Audible, part of a team that produces, develops, and acquires original audio content. Meanwhile, her story about Bramante and his class may take on a new life.
“The Class was optioned by Disney+ and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman is attached to write and direct the pilot, so there is a chance that the class is coming to the small screen,” Tesoriero says.