By Shaun Fagan
Virtual instructional coaching encompasses the same elements as face-to-face coaching, with the added benefit that it can happen anywhere, at any time. During these professional development (PD) sessions, teachers and coaches can discuss a variety of topics, such as student work, behavior management, or student engagement.
A recent EdWeek article noted that virtual coaching provided a teacher with the tools to support dramatic growth in her students’ cognitive engagement as well as her practices as an educator. No two methods are exactly the same, but most virtual coaching starts with a teacher sharing recorded classroom lessons with a coach for observation and evaluation. Here are some advantages of using video for virtual coaching.
- Video gives a snapshot of the classroom. With the new Activate System, educators can pull out their cell phones and take a video of themselves during critical moments of their lessons—or even record them in their entirety. Coaches can then sit down with the teacher to provide feedback based on an objective record of what really happened in the classroom.
- Video saves time. Only about 1/3 of teacher time is spent teaching. Another 1/3 is spent on planning and grading, while the rest is paperwork and management. Fortunately, recorded video can provide coaches and teachers with the chance to spend more time observing work being done in the classroom and less time on paperwork or traveling from school to school or room to room.
- Video is ready whenever coaches are. According to a recent survey, using recorded video allows 84% of administrators to do their observations at a time that’s most convenient for them. And with more time to discuss a lesson, coaches and teachers can talk in-depth about ways to improve and how to build on what they already know.
In short, video-based virtual coaching removes the least productive parts of coaching—the travel, the paperwork, the disagreement over what happened during an observation—and allows educators to focus on improving teaching and learning.