Educators Attend Summer Teacher Institute

Few people want to spend their summer in a classroom. But students at Cleveland's Summer Teacher Institute can't wait to get to class every day.

The Early Show takes a trip to Cleveland to explore this unique five-day summer institute geared solely for music teachers.

Every summer, educators from around the country come to Cleveland to learn how to use contemporary music in their classroom, regardless of the age of their students.

Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland said, "We really don't teach music per se. We don't teach you how to play the guitar (or) the drums. But really what we do is take the music and use it to engage kids in things like language arts, social study, geography. All the classical sort of courses that sometimes kids sort of — their eyeballs roll up in their head."

Jason Hanley, another Summer Teacher Institute teacher, stressed the importance of utilizing the time he could spend with his "students."

"We really work hard on trying to find a way of giving teachers an experience where they're learning about the important aspects of rock and roll history. The sound of the music. The context of the times it comes from. So they have history lectures that we teach," Hanley said.

Everett Whiteside, a DJ-turned-high school English teacher, enjoys taking time to be a student. "It's kind of fun to go and, you know, be a student for a week. And learn about things that you're genuinely interested in," he said. Whiteside uses the Summer Teacher Institute to add to his curriculum, which already uses music that his students enjoy.

Another goal of the program is to brainstorm ideas about how to get school administrators to embrace an alternative way of teaching music. The Summer Teacher Institute believes educators should be able to use popular music to teach, rather than relying solely on classical music.

Hanley said, "What we try to do is help teachers see ways they can use (popular music) with effective teaching methods."

The students involved with the program also take the time for a tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as watching and playing live music for each other.