How Video Reflection Produces Rich Goals, Deep Reflection, and Concrete Vision at Western Colorado University

It can be tough to watch yourself on video. Anyone who has done so knows this to be true. The process of recording the video and the awkwardness of watching yourself can be a difficult endeavor. Whether it be for a sport or game you are playing, the Instagram or Snapchat story you have posted, or even a video of you in your professional setting.

Cori Woytek, a clinical coach and lecturer for Western Colorado University, knows this all too well. Having started to use video observation in her program only recently, she has seen the challenges that can come with using video in the classroom.

“Prior to last year, we actually tried to use video to supervise our students in their residency experiences in different ways. And none of them worked very well. It was really difficult for our students to save videos correctly or even record themselves correctly,” she said.

Now in their second year using Edthena as their video observation platform, Cori is starting to see the positive effects that can come with video reflection.

“We have found that actually having the students watch themselves teach was really beneficial to them. Their reflection was much deeper and actually produced much richer goals,” she said.

Below is a Q&A adapted from our video interview (above).

Can you share more about how your program uses Edthena?

My main role is to support a cohort of 20 residents throughout their student teaching experience as we have our students complete a year-long residency program. And so when Edthena came along last year we decided we’d pilot it in our student teaching classes.

After the success that we witnessed during the usage with our student teachers, we decided to go ahead and use it as a tool for our clinical coaches. We found that the clinical coaches were better able to have a pulse on their residents because the video observation was used five times throughout the year.

What are some of the benefits that you’ve seen with residents using video reflection?

Their reflection was much deeper and actually produced much richer goals. They had a more concrete vision of their goals and were able to work towards these goals because they were seeing them themselves.

Instead of us having to point out their strengths and where they needed to improve, by watching themselves teach they were able to to find their strengths and weaknesses on their own. The students got to take control of their own progress and growth.

As a result, their goal setting became more effective, and they were able to see more tangible results.  We made this a focus for this year. Now our clinical coaches have become more of a coach as opposed to an instructor or a supervisor.

Do your teacher residents watch and comment on their peer’s video reflections?

We have two assignments per semester in which the residents watch one another teach. Then they have a discussion back and forth. The residents video themselves and call attention to a certain part of their practice by highlighting their video into a short 10-minute section of their teaching. Usually, the teacher will start the conversation with a comment reflecting on what they may be struggling with. Then they will ask their peers to look for certain things and provide feedback.

What do you suggest for someone implementing teacher video reflection for the first time?

My advice would be to think of one strand of classes or one set of instructors or professors. Then they can determine their focus and purpose for using the video. I think it most important to have an idea of what it is you want to get out of video. If you have that sort of objective in your mind, I think it makes it less daunting, and it actually becomes pretty fun to explore new things in the Edthena platform.

What we found is that by having a focus in mind, video reflection grew pretty quickly into something a lot more fruitful for our students. Do not be afraid of jumping in and trying video one way. You’ll find that you’ll get a million different ideas as you start to use video more frequently.

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