A TEACHER FACED WITH A CHALLENGING YEAR 11 CLASS USED ONVU LEARNING’S 360-DEGREE VIDEO SOLUTION TO INFORM REFLECTION, RESULTING IN A MORE POSITIVE CLASSROOM CLIMATE, BETTER ACADEMIC RESULTS AND IMPROVED TEACHER WELL-BEING
Author: Zara Sahota, Head of Maths – Aston University Engineering Academy
A teacher faced with a challenging Year 11 (Y11) class used ONVU Learning’s 360-degree lesson capture solution to inform reflection. Aspects of practice which might benefit from review and analysis were subsequently identified. The teacher then worked with a remote coach over 4 months to develop and embed ideas. The outcomes were a more positive classroom climate, better academic results measured against a Control Group – as well as improved teacher well-being. Elements of the acquired professional learning have the potential to be applied to other groups and promise to be beneficial to colleagues within the school.
Aston University Engineering Academy (AUEA) is a University Technical College (UTC) in the heart of Birmingham, UK. It has been highly successful but faces challenges around recruiting children at the age of 14 and re-engaging some of these students in learning.
Mrs Zara Sahota, Head of Maths, worked remotely with her coach, using ONVU Learning’s 360-degree lesson capture solution. Zara evaluated the impact of this approach on a Y11 group (the ‘Focus Group’) from November 2018 to February 2019 and compared them with a ‘Control Group’ who were not subject to video analysis, remote coaching or advocated strategies.
“I had two middle set Y11 groups who were really frustrating me as I believed in them, but I just wasn’t getting anywhere. The prospect of teaching them several times a week brought a sense of dread. Both groups have got their personalities – students who are capable of being a bit rowdy. I wanted to use the project to address the underlying dynamics.” Mrs Zara Sahota, Head of Maths.
SELF REFLECTION & GUIDED COACHING
Mrs Sahota’s initial review of a videoed lesson led to critical self-reflection. In particular, she realised that familiar, though dormant whole class feedback mechanisms, might address identified classroom needs. Subsequently, Zara sought to reintroduce them through this project.
Zara had given permission for her coach to review her lesson. A 15-minute segment was chosen and a random student selected to illuminate the nuances which often elude the teacher in a lesson. The colleagues then shared screens to explore if any new insights emerged from the exploration.
Although the student selected produced neat and presentable work, Zara was able to notice that he was “passionate with everything… but he wasn’t really learning very much as he had become quite skilful at avoiding things”. In response, she was able to adjust her approach, taking more time to check and monitor his, and the Group’s application.
THE CONDUCTOR OF THE ORCHESTRA
As Mrs Sahota reintroduced mini whiteboards and traffic light flash cards back into her practice, evidence of the effect was captured by ONVU Learning. The adoption of the strategy from one student had an unexpected, and disproportionate, impact on the whole group:
“Jude* can be quite detached and is kind of cool. Some of his peers are a bit wary of him. Yet, he turned from green to orange in the middle of my explanation. All the class notice when ‘the cool one’ is turning over his card – it’s like, ‘Ok – he’s doing it…’. They can’t believe he’s turned into an utter maths geek.”
* Not the student’s real name
The conversation around evidence of impact revolved around three aspects:
- The comparative performance between the Focus Group and the Control Group
- The comparative academic outcomes between the Focus Group and the Control Group
- The well-being of the teacher
Reflecting on the performance of the class, Zara was clear, “the Focus Group’s attitude to being stuck is it’s solvable and they are cooperative; they are more open to talking about being stuck and helping each other. The Control Group’s attitude toward being stuck is very negative. They seem to be in a rut and are competitive – they still bite at each other if someone gets something wrong – it’s not as comfortable. They are not open to helping each other.”
Again, the evidence is clear. “Having just added scores from their most recent mocks, it is apparent that the Focus Group have made clear progress towards their aspirational targets. This includes the ‘cool’ lad, who has made a massive jump from ‘U’ to a ‘3’. And he is not the only one. Many have maintained their grade despite recently taking on a more difficult paper. Unfortunately, too many of the Control Group haven’t made progress. In fact, lots of them have gone backwards, even getting ‘U’s!”
Reflecting on her feelings in the classroom, Zara is also highly positive, “at the end of our collaborative project, I can say that I am 100% different when in front of the two groups. With the initial Focus Group – it feels calmer; I feel calmer.”
Video-based remote coaching has made a clear difference in this class and achieved the set objectives. It has illuminated strategies which have wide-spread application across the Department and School. Zara concludes: