Catalyzing Teacher Growth and PD Ownership with Video Observation

Teach For America is using video coaching to put teachers in the driver’s seat of their professional development.

The teachers in the Bay Area region, called corps members, have used video this year to hone their skill at deeply noticing their own actions, as well as to leverage different perspectives, like their coaches, to enhance their understanding.

Eric Scroggins, past Executive Director of the region and current Chief Strategy Officer of the national organization, says Edthena has catalyzed growth this year among corps members by giving them “powerful opportunities for self-reflection, differentiated learning experiences, and effective peer group support.”

What are you telling others about your use of video in the Bay Area and how it’s impacting teachers?

Eric Scroggins Teach For AmericaEdthena is really allowing us to think more expansively about the ways we can set up teachers to own their progress and for coaches to provide high impact, differentiated, and efficient learning experiences.

We are energized when we see the impact that Edthena is having for our teachers. As we work to support our corps members and alumni educators to pioneer new models of learning for their students and schools, we have to consider how we are looking at new approaches and pedagogies in their own practice.

Why do you think video is an important tool for teachers and their development?

Teachers must develop and own their vision for what success will look like in their classroom.  Video is a powerful tool in helping teachers to take this ownership over their growth process.

Edthena has been helping our teachers see and address their specific areas for growth, and it also plays a valuable role in their development as self-driven leaders, with the ability to truly understand what is happening in their classrooms and how those actions are moving the needle on their goals for their students.

This is the second year using Edthena with Bay Area teachers. What are you hearing? 

We kicked off the year leveraging Edthena in our first-ever local Bay Area teacher training institute. This means it’s been integrated into our ongoing support model right from the beginning.  

What I’m hearing from our corps members and from the coaches is that Edthena has played a meaningful role in catalyzing growth this year by giving our teachers powerful opportunities for self-reflection, differentiated learning experiences and effective peer group support.

To facilitate an environment of rigorous learning and growth, it is incredibly powerful to have our teachers ready and willing to make their practice public. Edthena is opening up ways for our coaches to more efficiently provide quality feedback in different ways.

How does Edthena help your staff and coaches to provide personalized, purposeful support to CMs?

Teach For AmericaOur teachers draw on experts from a variety of disciplines to customize their own support framework.

Without video, we’d need to have three different experts like a literacy coach, a classroom management coach, and an expert on the specific community where the teacher is working all go to a classroom together to see the same teaching. Of course, this was very hard to coordinate and inefficient from a travel standpoint for the coaches.

Using video for classroom observation enables us to leverage our expertise in service of the change we want to see at the teacher and student level. We can minimize disruption in the classroom and maximize coaching time.

What is the vision for the experience of Bay Area CMs, and how does video coaching help you move toward that goal?

TFA-Bay Area’s support model emphasizes personalization. Teachers are provided with support to drive their growth plans, targeted to what they need most. It also emphasizes expertise, in that teachers leverage experts in a variety of disciplines, rather than relying on a single coach, as well as relationships. We create regular and consistent opportunities for groups of teachers to help each other drive growth.

Edthena has been a critical accelerator for this experience. It enables our teachers to access experts from a variety of backgrounds to provide feedback and real-time coaching in their classrooms. It’s a tool we use regularly to facilitate our peer-driven development groups.

What implications do you think innovations in the Bay Area pertaining to use of video in teacher training may have on the TFA training model more broadly?

I think the learnings that we’re pulling in the Bay and the needs that Edthena are helping to address are present across our network.

I believe there’s real potential for our broader teacher community to continue leveraging video reflections as a driver of learning and for platforms like Edthena to provide connections to meaningful feedback and expertise that might not otherwise be readily available.