Leveraging video as a complementary tool
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One of the positives of the school year 2020-21 was the increased comfort teachers and school leaders have in teaching and learning via online means. One such digital aid has been the use of video for classroom feedback by coaches and school leaders.
TeachBoost's video tool allows educators to upload videos of their classroom for valuable feedback on their skills, techniques and areas for growth. With the new mobile video uploader within TeachBoost, it's super easy to add this powerful tool into your coaching and evaluation workflows. And it's not just about enabling remote observations: video can be leveraged in so many ways to improve teaching practice, student outcomes, and the quality of feedback itself.
Increase the quality of feedback
While in-person observation requires quick low inference note-taking and a powerful memory, supervisors would surely also benefit from an extra pair of eyes to observe both teaching practice and student engagement simultaneously. As such, the ability to pause, rewind, and speed up video of the classroom cannot be overrated! This flexibility gives observers much-needed time to consider their feedback on both the instructional techniques and the broader behavior of students in the classroom.
The use of video also gives leadership teams an additional tool to help norm the feedback given to teachers which, in turn, increases trust in the fairness and objectivity of evaluation processes.
Avoid timetable conflicts
In a busy school day, it's so difficult to find the time to schedule in-person classroom observations, especially when the observer wants to time their visit to coincide with a teacher's use of specific techniques during a lesson. Where video is used, administrators can capitalize on quieter times during the school day to record observation feedback. If the observation's focus is targeted on a particular instructional strategy or portion of a lesson, then recording video in the classroom enables this without the headache of avoiding timetable conflicts.
Timetable conflicts are also one of the biggest hurdles schools face in implementing successful peer observation programs. Such programs are effective tools for empowering educators to share best practice, demonstrate leadership through support of their peers, and celebrate each others' successes.
Make observations less intrusive for teachers and students
At times, teaching can be stressful and in-person observations can, without doubt, add another layer of stress for some educators—especially those new to teaching. Recording the classroom instead means that there is no additional pressure or apprehension for teachers in the moment, nor is there concern for how their students will react differently to an external observer in the lesson.
Provide opportunities for self reflection
When videos can be watched by both observer and teacher, specific moments can be pinpointed for feedback and conversations about instruction can be grounded on playback rather than memory. This helps both parties trust in the fairness of the feedback process and allows educators the opportunity to reflect on how they might improve their practice. Further, there is room to use video as a purely self-reflective process for teachers, rather than as a formalized part of an evaluation program; video provides teachers with increased visibility of their own classroom during the lesson, and affords a completely new perspective on both their own instructional habits alongside student engagement.
Curate a resource library of best practice
After a lesson has been recorded for observations, it's easy to preserve these same video snippets as a guide for other educators (with permission, of course!). A resource library of videos provides a robust way to share best practice at scale and at distance across your organization. Digital records of effective teaching strategies and techniques are a real treasure trove of professional development opportunities for all staff—from newly qualified teachers to experienced school leadership.
Using video for transformational PD
Don't just take our word for it! A landmark study, "The Best Foot Forward Project", by the Centre for Education Policy Research in Harvard (2016) found that incorporating video observations resulted in a number of positive outcomes, including:
- Teachers being more self-critical of their practice and observing previous un-noticed student behaviors
- Teachers perceiving their supervisor feedback as fairer and more supportive, enriching conversations on practice between teaching and supervisory staff
- Administrators reporting that they spent less time on paperwork, and more time on observation feedback