A common concern with organizations new to using video as a tool for classroom observation is how to get their organizations — the coaches and the teachers — comfortable with a video-powered process.
We know from experience getting everyone over the initial barrier of having not previously tried video reflection is important to their long term confidence in their ability to participate in video coaching.
Much like how an English teacher might scaffold the process of essay writing by starting with a topic selection session, we suggest groups start with a low-risk classroom observation experience where there is a high chance of success.
And there’s one strategy in particular that’s easy to execute successfully while also adding value to the overall video observation process.
Ask teachers to record a classroom tour.
The logistics are as simple as you might imagine: Teachers are asked to capture and upload a short video which shows the organization of their classroom and to then explain any systems which might be in place. Then they share it with their peers and coach for feedback.
Not only does this experience gently introduce and familiarize teachers with the process of classroom observation using video, it also helps share the context of the classroom with the coach who may not be able to visit in person.
The video below is by Kaleigh O’Donnell, a fifth-grade teacher at Westlawn Elementary in Fairfax County, Virginia. Kaleigh recorded this tour so that we could share an example of how accessible this experience can be for all teachers.
Bonus tip: We’ve seen a few of our partners expand upon this idea of a classroom tour video by using Explorations. In addition to an easy video, they might ask teachers to submit a short reflection, or analyze an example classroom tour video. This creates a more comprehensive experience for teachers, serving to immerse them more fully in the experiences they’ll have in Edthena throughout the year.