One of the most untapped resources in teaching is using video for teachers to analyse the impact of their classroom strategies. This is now very easy to capture, either with an expensive tilt and zoom camera that the school may already have, or via a tablet or smartphone sat in the corner of the room.
Here are some reasons why getting teachers to film some of their lessons and review their footage might be beneficial for your staff development:
Getting past the initial cringe
Once you get past the initial cringe of hearing your own voice and watching yourself on camera, you begin to see the incredible power of self-analysing your own performance. Nothing is more powerful than watching yourself back and beginning to pick up on your own strengths and areas for development. This is one of the best ways to become a truly reflective practitioner and I would advise every teacher to try this if they haven’t done it before.
You see what you miss
When you are in full flow at the front of the classroom or when you are providing individual support with your students, you never really see the whole picture in your classroom. Watching your lesson back, without the pressure of having to deliver it, suddenly enables you to see far more than you ever do inside the classroom. You start to become much more aware of behaviour and body language that paints an interesting picture of engagement and progress.
Pick up on habits
We all have our own habits, some of which we probably aren’t aware of until they are pointed out to us. Watching yourself teach can help you identify certain words or phrases that you constantly use. You may also pick up on certain places in the classroom that you always stand in or teach from and students who you regularly target for questioning.
As your staff become more familiar with filming some of their lessons for professional development purposes, they may begin to request the camera at various points throughout the year to focus on one area of their practice. Watching a lesson back for the first time can be quite daunting for a lot of inexperienced teachers due to the number of things going on in the lesson. However, if you have a clear focus of what you are looking for (questioning, for example) then it enables you to zoom in on this one area without being distracted by everything else going on.
Share with colleague and discuss
A great way of using the lesson footage effectively is for you to watch it with a trusted colleague. Sitting together to watch each other’s lessons can be a very powerful way of not only receiving accurate constructive criticism, but also a way of picking up examples of good practice from each other.
Cloud-based storage, watch at home in own time
Most digital solutions on the market have a cloud-based storage system with their products, meaning that staff don’t have to watch their lessons back in school time and in offices where other staff may be. You can watch the film at home in your own time and in private if you wish, removing any concerns you may have on keeping the lesson film private.
Use as exemplar professional development material
As a school, if you identify lesson segments that you feel are examples of outstanding practice, you may want to ask the member of staff if you can use their clip to share in future professional development sessions. We can all access example lesson videos from various national sources, but having clips from your own staff, teaching your own students can be so much more powerful and authentic.