Hurray! This week, we are welcoming the 300,000th registered member to our Tch community, a milestone that gives us reason to celebrate. We see this as strong evidence that you like the idea of classroom doors opening across America so educators everywhere can see great video of inspiring teachers. Thank you. But, what about opening your own classroom doors? Do you see video as a great reflection tool or just plain scary?
Teachers Using Video in the Classroom
Our June Tchers’ Voice survey aimed to find out if you are recording yourself in your classroom. All of us at Teaching Channel believe that this practice is one of the best ways to become a better educator — even if it’s solely for your own use.
The survey responses are very encouraging: we learned that 52% of you do record your practice (or have at least once); 45% of you haven’t recorded your practice yet, but would be open to trying it; and only 3% of you are not interested in filming your practice.
Why Video Works
Here is what a few of you told us about the value of video and why you think it’s important to share your teaching practice:
- “It’s very valuable to share video of myself with other teachers in my field to get their positive and constructive feedback. It helps me reflect on my teaching practices and see things I otherwise would overlook.”
- “I strongly feel that peer observations are a great and necessary thing; however finding time in schedules to do so is tough. Video could assist with this.”
- “I’ve done it and it is empowering, but also extremely helpful to my growth as a teacher.”
- “Colleagues and administrators have a more positive response to my teaching than I do. I am my own worst critic.”
There’s no question that educators who record their practice find benefits. Here are your top four reasons for using video:
- Identifying areas for improvement in instruction
- Observing a lesson for engagement and/or pacing
- Seeing learning moments among students
- Sharing the video with a mentor, coach or peer
It’s fantastic to see you are finding these benefits!
What Stops Teachers from Using Video?
We understand that getting in front of a camera isn’t easy for everyone and that sharing video of yourself with others can be intimidating. Here are some of the concerns our members shared in our survey:
- “I haven’t shared video of myself with others. If the lesson goes well, do they think that I’m just showing off? If it doesn’t go well, will it be confirmation that I’m not so great at what I do?”
- “To share for purposes of collaboration would be perfect; to share for criticism/critique is frightening.”
- “I’ve never done this and would be nervous. I don’t know that I’d want others to see me, especially if I thought I could do better… I’m super critical of myself.”
All of these concerns are valid, but I am convinced that we can use video as a means to grow a HUGE repertoire of approaches for working with kids. When I was teaching, I worked alone in my own classroom and it was really hard to learn about new approaches. It also drove me nuts that I didn’t get enough feedback on my teaching; twice a year evaluations from the principal just didn’t cut it. Whenever I tried something new, I felt like a novice and what I wanted was access to other teachers who had already mastered the technique and could give me pointers. Now, it is so easy to record ourselves and get feedback that is growth-oriented and non-evaluative — precisely what we need when we want to improve our practice.
We understand that for many of you this isn’t easy and we hope Teaching Channel can help you get more familiar and comfortable with the practice. You told us the most difficult aspect of filming your classroom is capturing quality audio and video. At Teaching Channel, we have a crew of professionals who visit classrooms –- we usually send two cameras and a sound-person — while we know most of you are working with an iPad or a Flipcam. With that in mind, watch these two videos:
- In Video 101, get useful ideas for how to record your classroom. These tips will help you capture the best audio and video as possible with whatever device you have.
- Tch‘s Sarah Brown Wessling shares how she records her classroom and uses the video for her own reflection.
These two videos are the perfect jumping off point for anyone interested in filming themselves to improve their practice. Start by using it privately for self-reflection; as nerve-wracking as this may be, we can learn so much by watching ourselves in action. Let us know how it’s going by sharing your thoughts about filming yourself in the comments below, and tell us what methods you’re using to do so.
And remember, if you’re feeling hesitant or self-conscious as you begin, or need inspiration, just think about the wonderful teachers here at Tch who bravely opened their classroom doors to educators around the world.
P.S. If you’re reading this blog and you’re not a Tch registered member, register now! The more, the merrier – and the wiser. Help us reach 400,000 members by the end of the year.