March 25, 2016

5 ways to use video to support teacher growth

Last month, I attended EdSurge’s LA Summit, where I had an opportunity to meet and hear from inspiring education leaders and teachers. One thing that got me excited—both groups were looking for ways to improve collaboration and professional growth and were hoping edtech tools could help solve the problem. 

As I shared in a thought leadership presentation at the summit, teachers spend the vast majority of their instructional time as the only adult in a classroom full of students, so evaluating their performance is an ongoing challenge. One thing is clear, though: The best teachers crave feedback.

In fact, according to TNTP’s “The Irreplaceables,” high-achieving teachers leave the profession because they are not getting critical, regular and specific feedback. And in a reader poll conducted through SmartBrief’s “Accomplished Teacher” e-newsletter, less than a third of working teachers said that they receive meaningful feedback.

Administrators are acknowledging the problem. In a similar poll administered in SmartBrief’s “ASCD K12 Leadership” e-newsletter, only 38% of school leaders said that their evaluation systems support teacher growth. 

For a solution, I look to the world of professional sports, where every play is captured on video. Instant replay allows referees to review every marginal call, while full-game footage helps coaches and players observe, analyze and strategize for the next game. It’s all about improvement and growth.

But do educators want to be under such scrutiny? According to the two polls mentioned above, when asked if using video would help support teacher growth, 84% of school leaders said “yes”—and so did 91% of teachers. Additionally, the teachers I spoke with at EdSurge’s LA Summit were already experimenting with recording themselves.

Here are five ways educators can use video to support teacher growth.

  1. Individual self-reflection: Recording, reviewing and reflecting upon their own video-based lessons is one of the most powerful forms of professional development for teachers.
  2. Professional learning communities: Recent research indicates that teachers’ instructional practices also benefit from uploading, sharing and discussing their video-based lessons with colleagues.
  3. Coaching: Teachers who record, share and discuss their video-based lessons connect with their instructional coaches on a deep level, using video as a common piece of evidence.
  4. Teacher observation: For informal observations, it’s “instant replay,” so both teacher and observer can see exactly what happened in the classroom and can review it as many times as they like.
  5. Teacher evaluation: For formal observations of teachers, video provides an objective record, increasing the fairness and accuracy of scoring evaluations.

So rather than watching your best teachers walk out the door year after year, why not try one or all of these approaches and give them the feedback they need and want?

Check out what Harvard’s Best Foot Forward Project concluded about how video technology impacts educator effectiveness.


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