Have you ever observed your own teaching?
Not everyone welcomes the thought of watching themselves doing their daily job on screen. However; video lesson observations are an incredibly powerful teacher development tool. Over the years, observations have evolved from the initial negatively viewed high stakes graded lessons. Performance management is no longer a means for collecting evidence to remove poor-performing teachers. It is to a positive tool for self-reflection and improvement. Using technology represents an opportunity to maximise your potential to self-reflect, as a teacher, and to personally develop your skills.
Recordings are for self-reflection and are most effective when they complement peer observations. They are an ideal tool to focus individuals on how to improve their teaching and are a useful way to create a positive culture towards observations and self-improvement.
The normal structure of lesson observations entails someone being in the room and this can feel uncomfortable for some staff. It can modify the norm with the result being lessons that are not typical also it takes time for individuals to feel comfortable being observed.Videoing is another platform to observe and overcomes the feeling of someone else in the room.
Another advantage of video recording is financial. No cover is required for the observer(s); as a result, the monetary cost is only the device used for recording. The schools that choose to utilise video observations are shown to be those who are forward-thinking, embrace change and value professional development. They have a climate for improvement, collaboration and encourage conversations around teaching and learning.
Teachers have, if they choose, the opportunity to share lesson recordings. Colleagues are able to view, annotate and discuss actual practice that resonates with their day to day teaching. Most success is enjoyed when teachers are given ample opportunity for reflection in small workshop-style groups and as a collaborative and developmental activity, collaborative discussions generate a range of ideas that promote professional growth.
Video observations are very powerful for coaching and mentoring. Firstly, they provide a dynamic way of focusing on the development of specific skills and showing progress over time. Seeing evidence of professional development on-screen means there is a greater sense of purpose in coaching and mentoring conversations. Secondly, this can be furthered by organising teachers into triads where ideas and research evidence can be discussed based on actual video evidence. Overall, using video helps to nurture professionals in their development journey.
The Sutton Trust’s 2015 study endorsed the use of video in lesson observations an effective means of developing teachers.