By Carolyn Hollowell
In today’s results-driven society, administrators are focusing more than ever on summative evaluations. But, as a recent Education Week article points out, if the goal is improving students’ performance and developing good teachers into great contributors, evaluation should sometimes take a back seat to coaching.
Just as administrators are guiding teachers to understand the students’ learning process and provide formative assessments along their journey, they too should take this strategy with teachers. To truly improve teaching and learning, administrators need to coach teachers instead of just evaluating them. Coaching should take the form of a discussion with teachers not only about what they want them to do in the classroom but also why they want them to do it and how to implement those best practices. Effective coaching is a conversation, and one way to get that conversation started is to share videos to create a positive, collaborative learning environment.
Here are four ways experienced coaches use video to make coaching a productive professional development experience for both teachers and administrators:
- Capturing the introductions to lessons: Video provides an objective record of moments that might otherwise be missed. With Lightspeed’s newly launched Activate System, teachers use their own mobile devices to record themselves during crucial parts of lessons, such as introductions, and can then self-reflect at the end of the day.
- Sharing with a coach for feedback at their convenience: Having video evidence at their fingertips help coaches pinpoint what a teacher is doing well and where he or she might need some coaching. Video also gives coaches the flexibility to do their observations in their own time. This also give coaches with limited time the bandwidth to help more teachers. According to Harvard’s Best Foot Forward study, 84% of administrators reported that sharing video allowed them to do their observations during quieter times of the day.
- Recording interactions with students: Whether teachers are working with the whole class or engaging in small-group discussions, the video gives them a detailed view of those interactions in their classroom and becomes a catalyst for advice and feedback on the targeted questions they could be used to advance the learning.
- Giving coaches a “live look” into the classroom: Live video empowers coaches to provide in-the-moment feedback on key teachable moments—and frees them to spend more time observing and less time on paperwork.
In recent years, educators have developed a range of creative strategies for using video to teach their students, but with input from an insightful coach, video can also be a powerful tool for teaching teachers.
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