It’s hard to believe it’s almost March and Team SmarterCookie wants to offer some helpful tips to ensure you’ve established accountable instructional coaching routines to finish the 2014-2015 school year strong.
Who will record and upload videos?
Determining who will be recording and uploading videos is the first and arguably most integral part of establishing an accountable structure. Allocating appropriate roles and responsibilities for everyone involved in the coaching cycle ensures each person has a clear understanding of what’s expected, and a visible timeline will guarantee teachers are aware of when observations are scheduled and/or when a video upload is due. This transparency is essential as it truly cultivates a productive and accountable workflow.
In a recent post, I highlighted two schools where coaches tend to do the majority of the recording and uploading. While this is a great way to structure observation rounds, it simply may not be feasible for some coaches and administrators to do on a consistent basis. Thankfully, SmarterCookie makes it easy for teachers to record and upload their own teaching videos. We’ve seen plenty of structures where teachers are truly empowered to drive their own development and frequently upload videos to solicit feedback from coaches as well as peers. Stay tuned... I'll be highlighting a few of these schools in future posts.
A little goes a long way…
Regardless of who is recording, I highly recommend focusing on one distinct portion of the lesson (around ten minutes) to really maximize the impact of a teacher’s self-reflection and feedback provided on the video. The shorter and more specific the video, the easier it will be to find time to provide individualized feedback tailored to a teacher’s growth goals.
Uploading the video immediately after you’ve recorded ensures you don’t forget and guarantees the lesson is still fresh in the teacher’s mind. If you have an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) use the SmarterCookie Uploader app to record and upload your videos to the online platform immediately. They’ll be ready to view in no time.
The power of self-reflection
Once the video has been uploaded by and/or shared with the teacher, it’s often helpful for the teacher to complete a self-reflection shortly thereafter to ensure the lesson is still relevant. This is an essential practice for teachers as it allows them to dig deep and engage in a reflective self-evaluation. When teachers are able to take a step back and view their own pedagogy from a learning standpoint, truly transformational growth can occur. Furthermore, as an administrator on the account, you will be able to evaluate how the teacher is thinking about her/his development and tailor your in-person or virtual feedback.
A check-in or debrief can happen asynchronously (via 1-1 Feedback or Group Discussion tab) or in person. This check-in is incredibly impactful if it happens within a day of receiving notification of the teacher’s self-reflection. Again, the quick turnaround ensures relevancy and rapid progress towards pre-established goals.
If this meeting doesn’t happen in person, don’t fret! Find the time to give some feedback on SmarterCookie during your lunch break or a transition between meetings. The feedback process doesn’t have to take longer than watching a short five to ten minute video and a few time-stamped, actionable comments will definitely go a long way.
As always, if you want to talk through some ideas for establishing routines at your school or need some more inspiration to kickstart effective protocols, please don’t hesitate to reach out!