In a time when it is imperative that we find ways to continue to focus on improving outcomes for students, it’s critical that we begin to look at ways to further refine the supports we provide in schools. Specifically, it’s time to really rethink how we’re supporting educators in schools, as they are the most direct and important link to student achievement.
And as someone who has spent his entire career either in a classroom or outside of a classroom supporting teachers, I was thrilled to receive an invitation to be a part of Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) Visibly Better working group.
After several years of leveraging video for research and practice, CEPR has taken the bold step of investing in the launch of Visibly Better “to share the transformative power of video in the classroom.”
Visibly Better is about transforming how we think about teacher support. It’s no secret that we can all benefit from ongoing reflection of our practice. But this is hard to pull off in schools, so we tend to rely on infrequent observations and “traditional” PD as the primary levers for improving practice. Video, however, holds the power to change the entire model of teacher support.
There is significant value in not only receiving feedback on our practice, but also observing the practice of colleagues and engaging in dialogue about how to best teach. When thought about “traditionally,” this typically means we need substitutes, time to visit other classrooms and structures within schools for collaboration to happen. And once we’re faced with these obstacles, they’re challenging to overcome.
Video removes the barriers and breaks down the walls of the classroom. And given the rapid improvements in edtech, we can now leverage technology to streamline this process – allowing educators to focus on reflective conversations about growth without the burden of navigating challenging logistics.
The Visibly Better site is full of practical tools for educators and educational leaders. While the research is there, the focus is on implementation and support. The project is about deepening reflections, improving feedback and changing the culture to ensure effective supports for the educators in our systems. Educators can (and should) use video as a tool to continuously improve instructional and observational feedback in K-12 classroom.
So check it out! Gain insights from educators across the country who are successfully using video to reflect upon and improve their practice.